April 2006

An interview with Steve Knee:
on an island


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One of our all-time favorite musicians – the voice and guitar of Pink Floyd, David Gilmour – kicks off the North American leg of his World Tour this month, and his new album, On An Island, is selling bundles.

This month's Spotlight focuses on the album's packaging (which resembles a book, complete with hard covers, cloth spine, and foil-blocked spine lettering), and gets the lowdown from its designer, Steve Knee.

  On An Island Cover
David Gilmour will always be associated with Pink Floyd and rightly so, but 'On An Island' is a solo album and so, with regards to the artwork, I didn't want to make any reference to Floyd, if at all possible. The album imagery throughout the CD package reflects not only the music, but also the soul behind it. The music is light of touch, soulful and reflective, and this is what I tried to convey throughout the artwork.
The brief was to create a visual landscape that would accompany the music – not to design something separate, but integrate the packaging with the music, for a complete experience. I used uncoated paper throughout, cloth spine and a hardback book format for a more tactile feel, as opposed to a standard 'plastic' jewel case CD.
A number of covers were submitted for David's consideration, but ultimately the final cover was probably the simplest, from a visual standpoint – the lone silhouetted figure of David on an island...on a sea of blue, with the moon behind him. I wanted to convey a feeling of isolation and reflection with maybe a hint of hope, and so a blue and black color palate was used with the off white of the paper coming through as the moon. With the birds, I wanted to play with our perceptions; depending on your point of view, the birds are either flying toward the island (bringing hope) or away from it (adding to the isolation). I guess it depends on your own psyche – is the glass half empty or half full – as to what you see in the cover.
When you hear David's music, the space between the notes is just as important as the notes themselves, and so I wanted to strip down the graphics as much as possible. This is a personal album and I have tried to reflect that in the artwork, with many of the images coming from David's own photo albums. By combining photography with hand-drawn elements on textured backgrounds with a hint of color, I wanted everything to look rough and sketchy, but with a sense of space.
To see more of Steve Knee's work, please visit:

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