Futuralbum is small collaborative design project creating new artwork for existing albums using only Futura and images found on the Flickr Internet Book Archive.

Collections like this live in a murky haze of acceptance. Unsolicited redesigns of logos, icons, and app UIs are the low-hanging fruit of internet design culture. Intrepid designers spend their lunch breaks laboring over reimaginations of that morning's corporate redesign announcements, hoping to catch the zeitgeist of likes, retweets, and favs that accompany the buzz of change. Or, if we're older and wiser, we fire off witty barbs about the onslaught of images being prepared. Those wiser still blissfully complete their daily routines ignoring the world wide web. Bless you.

We, as 'a design community,' are fairly united in decrying those kinds of unsolicited redesigns. But we're more often willing to participate in projects like this one, which is an unsolicited redesign of sorts. And I'm not entirely sure what separates one from the other.

I thought a redesign of an album would be fun. And I chose Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music because of the strong positive feelings I have, both for the music and for the album artwork. The record cover was painted by Fahamu Pecou, an accomplished fine artist, and I would argue that the album artwork is actually a work of art, a perfect visual expression of the music within. I had no pretense of my piece being better than the original. It's not. I like it, it was fun to create, but it's not better.

The unsolicited redesigns of logos and apps were also probably fun to execute. Again, I'm not sure what separates these kinds of projects. The only difference that I can see is the attitude towards the original pieces.

Projects like this are normally not positioned as better than the original, but as a homage to something that elicits positive memories or feelings. Unsolicited product or branding redesigns are generally positioned as being a superior solution to a visual or business problem. They implicitly state that the designer's concept of what looks good is better than whatever experience, research, and client-input was invested in the original piece.

The pieces contributed to the Futuralbum project are also free from client-input, but knowingly so. These cover redesigns aren't positioned as superior solutions, but as liberating, healthy exercises in respect and appreciation. I hope they are perceived and can be interpreted in that way.


© 2015