Wednesday, August 20, 2008


by Ben Ratliff // Picador

Cover photograph by © Rolf Ambor /

Other Concepts:

The idea here was to depict John Coltrane as a sound wave. I thought these images were well-known enough to weather the abstraction. But for the final, we went with a stunning portrait that put the focus on his hand on the saxophone keys.

On the back cover, I printed Coltrane's Selmer Mark VI saxophone bell pattern as a subtle black on black background pattern:

Here's a collection of Blue Note: Over 1000 great jazz album covers.

Here's an awesome video of Miles Davis and John Coltrane performing
"So What" Live-New York, April 2, 1959:

I love observing the other musicians. When they're not busy performing, they're busy smoking.


nate s. said...

Lookin good, Henry. I like the clarendon best. That subtle hint of transparency is nice as well. Was there budget for anything cool on the production side?

sixfive said...

You definitely made the right choice (or whoever decided on the final). It looks a lot stronger than the other 2. I'd buy this for the cover, aside from the fact I am a Coltrane fanatic.

H3NR7 said...

@ Nick: Just a Gritty Matte lamination. I don't usually design with a lot of additional printing effects.
@ sixfive: You can never get enough of Coltrane or Miles.

The Book Designer said...

Nice final image choice. The coloring of the type and font choice is reflective of that Motown/jazz era style of typography, so that works.

Interesting that the "O" s a different shade. Kind of an off note. Like jazz... nice.

Jeffrey said...

I love the image on the final version, it seminds me a lot of those classic jazz records sleeves. Only thing I'm not too crazy about is the colors of the letters. I think one color might have worked better. Anyway: good job!

James Perales said...

Love it! It has that classic Jazz/Blue Note feel that the Jazz aficionado loves, and looks great.
Now...hopefully they'll make a companion cd and you'll get to design it. Wouldn't that be grand!

MacGuffin said...

One of the greatest pieces of music EVER.

I really like how the cover title and subtitle draws the eye to Coltrane's beautiful hand and the high relief of his instrument. And as others have said, very Blue Note-ish without being too terribly slavish to the idea.

Er-H said...

Trane's photo needed to be large like that, I think. His tone always sounds like he's right next to you. The one red O is the sharped note in a phrase.