Music Label Design

Back in the 90s I had a good friend in a neighboring town. Sometimes we would jam in his parent’s garage; a drum kit, a loud guitar, some shitty riffs, and some screaming at a microphone. Other times we made our noise in the old barn on my family’s property, loosing the ancient dust from the timbers. But then in ’96 he bought a Roland MC-303, a magic little beat maker. It was also around this time we had discovered Aphex Twin. It was all very new and very cool. And then summer was over and we parted ways again.

Flash forward 22 years and I get a message asking if I’d be interested in doing some design work. Turns out my friend has been making electronic music all these years and has launched a niche music label, Aerozine 50. With a handful of electronic artists on the roster, AZ50 releases digital albums and physical cassettes via Bandcamp. And they were looking for some design work.

I first designed a j-card for a release by Pittsburgh artist, Validine Chronus. I pulled in some imagery of an old ham radio, some vacuum tubes, and an application for a radio license from the 30s.


The next project that came through was for a release by Verzerren, of Michigan. His album, Dialectic Struggle was split into two distinct parts—one half entitled Gears, the other, Networks. I played off this dichotomy, designing a more analog brandmark for Gears, and a more tech brandmark for Networks. We then combined these two marks into one badass icon that has now become the logo for Verzerren as an artist.


For the physical release, I chose a clear cassette with a bright yellow leader and printed half the logo on side A (Gears) and the other half on side B (Networks), so when viewed straight on—through the cassette body—they merge into the complete logo. This might be my favorite part of the entire project.


Currently, I’ve got another ambitious project in the works with Verzerren that I can’t wait to share. It all starts with a gallery exhibit next month. I’ll post more about that once it launches.


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