stellar kin

CD Graphic Design for Stellar Kin "We Need to Know" - Kentucky rock bandStellar Kin

Bowling Green, KY

I made this CD graphic design for Kentucky indie rock band Stellar Kin. I founded the hardcore emo trio in 2000 while studying at Murray State University.  By 2002, the lineup was solidified and we began recording and touring. “We Need to Know” was our 2004 full length sophomore release on Bad Apple Records. It features conceptual design and photography by myself, as well as posed photography by the famed Neil Visel. My friend Holly posed for the front and back covers.

CD Graphic Design for Kentucky indie rock band

The album lyrics cover serious spiritual themes. Therefore, the art consists of black and red colors and stone faced expressions. I set the main titles in the tall serif Big Noodle Titling font. The letter spacing varies to fit phrases into each outside panel, which spell out “What we don’t know is hurting us. Now more than ever, we need to know”. I set the CD graphic design’s track listing, along with other information, in the classic Gill Sans font.

The front and inside of the booklet tell the story of a young woman who has been tied up by an assailant. On the front cover, she grasps hold of a kitchen knife while cutting herself free from the ropes that bind her. Finally, she stalks her kidnapper with the knife on the booklet inside. The empty chair sits alone on the back cover. I reversed the words We Need to Know out, using the wood paneling from the photograph.

Lastly, the CD cover features a simplified, one color image of the rope. I simplified the individual band member headshots to grey, which gives them a ghostly feel against the black background. This is same grey hue also fills the words Stellar Kin on the front cover.

Contact me for your CD Graphic Design

If you are a band or a solo artist, then you need professional artwork for your next record. Contact me today to get started.

One Inch Button Designs for bands and small businessesOne-Inch Buttons

Various Clients

When I started playing in the independent music scene, every band I knew had one-inch button designs. They are cheap to make for a band who may not have the money saved up to record an album yet.

Fans of independent music love to wear these little collectible pins as fashion accessories. I have collected so many over the years that I couldn’t realistically wear them all. When I came home one day, I found that my wife had pinned them all up on my curtains in my office. It looked really rad!

Some of the designs above were made for bands, such as Stellar Kin. I also have designed pins for labels like Bad Apple Records. Other button designs were just for fun to commemorate an inside joke (“The Crazy Locksmith”). I made a few as inexpensive, personalized birthday gift idea for my friends (“April L Rocks!”).

I love that this format has both freedoms and limitations. Basically, I can design anything in Photoshop without having to worry about high printing costs due to the size or number of colors used, such as with screen printing. It is also challenging in the sense that I have a small canvas to work with, and if I make the text too small, for instance, it will be hard to read.

Button designs for everyone!

Whenever I take part in a new music venture, I always design buttons to get started with merchandise. As I mentioned, they are easy to afford for both buyers and sellers. My friend Matt has manufactured buttons with his company Think Twice Buttons with 2001. He does great work and has a ton of sizes and options to choose from.

Hire me for your button designs

Why not hire me to create some button designs for your band or business? Then get Matt to make them! You can’t go wrong with these tiny accessories when it comes to bang for your buck.

Band merch design - Stellar Kin "heart" shirtStellar Kin

Bowling Green, KY

I toured with the band Stellar Kin for six years. In addition to writing and performing, I created all of our band merch design. It is a special feeling to know that there are hundreds of these floating around out there with my former band’s name emblazoned on them.

Band merch design story

This shirt design is one of my favorites. I sought out to use an alternative placement from the beginning. Why not wrap the art around the side? The story of how the artwork came together for this jade green shirt is a unique one.

When I lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky, I came home from work one day to find that a neighbor’s home had burned down. Some of the debris had blown into my yard. I picked up a burnt piece of the Bible. It instantly inspired me to create a unique band merch design. Not only did it contain scriptures about how we are called by God to love one another, it was distinctly shaped like one half of a heart. I scanned both sides of the page and simplified it to a simple high contrast solid black.

After I mirrored the two sides of the page to form the focal heart image, the phrase “Love never fails, even when we do.” came to mind. It sums up the main idea of the scriptures, as well as a personal mantra for myself. I set this text in a distressed typewriter font across a grungy faux papyrus scroll. I distressed the band name “Stellar Kin” is as well, featuring it in a pirate style script. Finally, I colored in the background of the art with some hot pink paint swaths to add extra chaos, while still tying the art together.

Contact me for your own band merch design

I love working with independent musicians when they need merchandise designs. Bonus points for an unusual concept or a random twist on a conventional idea. Contact me today to get started!