The CD version of “Backup Aura” was released in a 6 panel digipak case with artwork by Spanish graphic designer Ritxi Ostáriz. Ritxi’s website is at ritxiostariz.com, including a documentation page for “Backup Aura”. I got in touch with him earlier this week to ask a couple of questions which, along with his replies, you can find below.
Backup Aura is also still available as a free download until the end of the week.
Tobias: First of all, what’s your relationship with music?
Ritxi: I have been a music lover since I was a teen, starting with Heavy and Speed metal bands, and then opening my mind to more complex and sophisticated music styles. But the good thing came when I started working as designer for musicians. That was amazing, combining two of my biggest passions. Working for music albums has been my main task for some years, and I am so proud of some friends I have made in all this time; friends that time ago were my idols.
Are there any album designs that have had a particular influence on your work, and why?
Not at all. I cannot remember any album in the past that has strongly influenced my work. But it is true that I am very influenced by other things, as editorial design, not albums but books or magazines. I usually design albums thinking they are not music albums but books. Also ancient art is a strong influence on my work, maybe not easily noticeable, but as inspiration.
In what ways is album artwork design different from other design projects?
The good thing designing an album is that you are working with an artist as client, with a creative background that makes him better understand what you are doing for him. It is strongly different from working for a business man sitting on a chair the whole day. Also the fact that you can listen to the music while working on an specific project, and then getting inspiration from the music itself.
In your opinion, what is the most important function of the album artwork?
Well, I have a very personal opinion on this. When I design an album, I am never thinking that album is going to sell more copies because of my design. I think ‘design does not sell’ in this case. Each musician has a group of fans that will buy the album with or without a good design, so the number of albums to be sold is the same in both cases. But the purpose of the design is to give the listener who is spending his money a good product, something complete. So, fans do pay for the music, but receive a good design as an extra gift. That way will probably feel the whole experience of the release.
How do you approach creating artwork for music in general, and how did you go about creating the artwork for Backup Aura in particular?
The process of creating Backup Aura was surely one of the strangest ever, as I was on holiday in the island of Mauritius, when the Icelandic volcano exploded so I could not fly back to my studio. I had to work on the album from the island, with the resources I was able to find there. This made the result of the design totally different that it could have been if having been made in my studio. This was a good example that the design result of a project is never absolute, and it depends on the context, and personal situation of the designer in that moment.
Are there any particular projects - music or otherwise - that you’d like to recommend to people who want to familiarize themselves with your work?
We designers, probably the same as musicians, usually consider our last works as the best ones. I am so proud of every project I have made in my life, but there are of course some favourites (at this very moment, this could change in the future!):
To celebrate the two year anniversary of its release, “Backup Aura” is available as a free download for the entire week with additional material posted daily on this blog. Download it at http://iapetus-store.com/album/backup-aura. Also see Monday’s, Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s blog entries for further information and audio interviews in English and German.