5th February 2014

How do you design album artwork for John Mayer?

Rachael Sutherland

For John Mayer's album ‘Born and Raised’, English designer Dave Smith was commissioned to create an original artwork.

Smith describes himself as a 'traditional sign writer, glass gilder, and graphics artist'.

The artwork

Why did Mayer choose Smith?

John Mayer had been searching for a designer who could recreate a style he had fallen in love with. After receiving a lot of 'cold digital' pieces, he finally heard about Dave Smith in England. It was Dave’s design for a tattoo parlour that attracted John to his work. 

The artist/designer process

John and Dave communicated by Skype thoughout the briefing and design process. Initially, Dave sketched his ideas on paper in incredible detail - what skill and patience!

Turning drawings into digital

Once the hand drawn artwork was complete it was scanned and redrawn as vectors.

Colour was added in layers.

Craftmanship and making

Dave wanted to make a set of bespoke gilded glass signs with John's initials and a part of the album artwork. This series of images shows the process of making the signs. 

Watch the full process

You can watch the full process here:

The Making of John Mayer's 'Born & Raised' Artwork from Danny Cooke on Vimeo.

Kings of Leon have recently also commissioned Dave to make a cover piece. 

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