The New Stuff

Featured Designer: Joshua Marc Levy

About Joshua Marc Levy: Joshua was born Jan 27- the same day as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lewis Carroll. He graduated SVA with honors in 1998 and worked in Entertainment Advertising and the Record Industry afterward. Shortly after leaving SVA, he won many awards including Young Guns, Art Director’s Club and a “First Place Student Entry” at The Type Director’s Club of New York. In 2010, he was once again accepted into the Type Director’s Club for a series of Modest Mouse 7″ and 12″ vinyl designs, which are traveling the world.

UM: What and who are your influences?

JML: I’ve always been a fan of Robert Rauschenberg, Dali, Shepard Fairey, and recently Damon Soule. My favorite album covers are the old Warner Brothers Grateful Dead albums.

The most influential visual films to me are Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Evil Dead II, Triplets Of Belleville, and City Of Lost Children. My favorite bands are AC/DC, Iggy & The Stooges and Pearl Jam. I am a huge fan of music.

UM: How do you usually work on a concept? Could you tell us the usual process?

JML: I try and tap into my ESP. “What is this meant to look like?” “What visually will make me want to listen to this record?”

UM: Please feature one artwork and tell us how you did it.

JML: One of my favorite packages is Arlan Feiles – Come Sunday Morning.

Arlan is currently based out of NJ and has become a big part of the Asbury Park music scene which has always held a place in my heart. Arlan came to me asking if I could do a collage similar to what Robert Pollard does for Guided By Voices. Turns out we are both big Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard fans. The album has an Americana folk sound and I felt this was a great match to some of my earlier Robert Rauschenberg-inspired collage paintings from SVA.

A Robert Rauschenberg artwork. See the resemblance?

My wife and business partner, Amy Kalyn Sims, shot the photography under my Art Direction on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. After the photos were retouched and approved, I began working on my cover collage. Using new and old collage paintings, while listening to the album, I created a patchwork that really compliments the music. It’s a gem and I’m extremely proud of it! I really love working with independent artists.

UM: We agree! It’s really beautiful! Now Joshua, What was the worst experience you had with designing CD covers?

JML: I’d LOVE to provide you a long list of artists with bad taste, unfriendly management and evil labels, however I respectfully decline to list them specifically in print.

UM: Hahaha. Good decision. I will ask you questions that we ask all our designers. To you, what makes a good package?

JML: It’s hard to say…In these times where budgets are really low and the music industry is dying. Sometimes it just comes down to very nice typography and solid cover graphics. The coolest deluxe package I’ve seen recently is the AC/DC Backtracks amp box set that came out last year. Shaped like an Amplifier, it Includes a large hard bound book, stickers, poster, vinyl, etc. It’s got foil, varnishes, embossing….the whole works. It’s a dream for fans. I’ve plugged my guitar into the 9-volt powered amp and jammed out in my living room!

UM: We featured that in our site. That’s one of the coolest packaging ever! Going back, what do you think makes a bad package?

JML: The standard plastic jewel case has got to go. How many times has the plastic that holds the disc in broken on you? Bad for the environment, bad for the customer.


You can check out more of Joshua Levy’s works here:


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