About the Design

Jody Alexander :: Web & Print Design

It's always a bit overwhelming at first, when someone asks you to put together the graphic design for a project.  Where do you begin?  After all, there are a million ways your final product could turn out... how do you find the one that works?

During my first meeting with Joan, I was treated to a live performance of some of her favourite songs, to give me a sense of the work.  Joan and I then discussed keywords for the project.  She wanted a look that was timeless and slightly "antique", and she gave me a photograph of an arched church window as a guideline.

I taped that image to my monitor, and looked at it for a week or so.  But I just wasn't inspired over a dark, rough church wall... it wasn't inviting, and it said nothing of the music.

Then, all of the sudden one day, inspiration hit.  I thought that maybe it wasn't the church wall that we should use... maybe we should look at a detail of a church wall.  And that's when the idea of doing a stained glass detail came into play.  But where to find a stained glass photo... and what should it depict?

In the end, I chose to use a photo of a stained glass window depicting Mary, taken by Mark Strozier of Macon, Georgia -- a mere 2,510 miles south east of Calgary!

The stained glass photo is from a window in Macon's St. Joseph Catholic Church.  The window was created by ATG Studio in Georgia (it stands for "A Touch of Glass"), who designed and fabricated eight large new windows to replace older ones in the church cupola during a 2004 restoration project.  The windows were also all painted, fired and designed to match color scheme in the sanctuary glass.

There were a number of photographs of stained glass windows for me to choose from, but the one of Mary was the obvious choice to me.  It demonstrates the religious tone of the music, while also suggesting timelessness and tradition.  I also love the idea of the solitary female figure on the cover, mirroring the single female voice within.  I was able to close-crop her face, and still keep the softness and the wonderful lines of her halo and hair.  And that open spot in the background was a perfect location to put the title of the disc, without having it be obscured by colour or lines in the background.

I used Papyrus for the font, primarily because of the way the curls in the font, like on the "y" and the "g", complement the curls in Mary's hair.  With a little glow added to the text, the entire cover comes across as a single window, lit from behind.

For the tray card of the CD, I used an image of four slate tiles.  They were subtle enough that you could still read the text, while still giving a bit of visual interest to the back of the disc.  Plus, there's something magical about the idea that this CD is its own "church": the window on the front, the floor on the back, and the music inside.

Good job, Joan!