Critique on album cover

Hello beautiful design people!
I have designed this album cover for a French rapper. He wanted to use a family photo, have traditional Berber patterns and elements, and have this blue colour. His album is called Azul which is hello in north africa and blue in spanish. His music talks a lot about political issues.
This is my first try at doing something on 99designs since I’m still learning as a designer, but I made it past the preliminary round so I was pleasantly surprised! Thanks to everyone who takes the time to look at my work and comment. Your feedback is truly making me a better designer :slight_smile: 29%20PM

Honestly, I think there is a bit of a disconnect between type and image. Both look plonked in to the space to fill it up, rather than having a balanced relationship to each other. This is something you will learn over time with the right experience and mentors.

My big issue is with these sort of 99designs kind of websites. People who should still be learning are offering their services as professionals. It means the customer is not getting the best job. Then again, they aren’t paying top dollar. It just becomes a race to the bottom.

Not having a go at you personally. We all have to start somewhere. I just think this is not the best way to start a career. You will always end up bottom-feeding on lower end jobs, instead of learning from the best and doing quality work.

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Hey, I agree with what you said I had if so they were slightly overlapping with different proportions but the artist asked me to do it like this so I changed.
I understand what you’re saying about those websites but unfortunately I can’t afford tuition at a university and the college I go to uses exerts from 99designs to teach and sends us to places like this forum for feedback so I’m not getting great mentor-ship from my school. :frowning: But I do really want to learn and get better and gain experience so I thought I would try pitching my design on the website to get some.
I really appreciate the advice about not becoming a bottom feeder, because I don’t want to be, I want to achieve marketable skills that people will hire me for. Any other advice will be taken on board :smiley:

I understand that going to university often seems prohibitively expensive, but these days if you are starting out on your career, it is pretty much a given that you need a degree.

Unless someone was a natural genius, I would be very unlikely to employ someone without one. The reason being, from an employer standpoint, it gives them some sort of assurance that you have a basic grounding in the various aspects – as long as it is a reputable state educational establishment, and not one of those cheap, for-profit colleges, with dubious motivation.

Is it not possible to get a job and work your way through university. It will give you the very best chance at getting the kind of work I imagine you want to be doing.

If you wanted to be a lawyer, a doctor, an architect, any other professional, the ‘I can’t afford university’ argument simply wouldn’t fly. If you wanted it badly enough, you’d find a way, as there is no choice. You have to be qualified. The same should be true for design, to my mind. That way, the professional designers out there, should all be of a certain standard and it means clients can trust there is a level of competence in the service they are paying for. Also weeds out the people who simply won’t make the grade or don’t have the aptitude, despite it being ‘cool’.

In reality, you only start learning about the industry once you start working in it (or have had work experience in it), but you need the educational foundation as well. There will always be people who have been successful without, but they are the lucky ones, or the natural geniuses. It is not elitist to say that you need a degree, any more than it is to say, if you want to be an osteopath, you need to be qualified is elitist. You should be – and you have to be, or you don’t get to practice.

There are no standards in this industry and there really should be. It not about art and being good at making images. If that is what you want, become a fine artist. It is about communication – an understanding of basic psychology, sociology, the human condition, etc, etc. It is about being able to communicate a message clearly to a target audience.

I have banged on about this so much, both here and other places, that I am almost bored of saying it.

If you are good, get an education and it will open up a long term career path. You will be guided by people who know what they are doing, towards your strengths and away from what you are not so good at – or maybe learn to improve those areas. You will have three of the best years of your life. Probably make life-long friends and come out on the first rung of the ladder of a career that could take you places you’d never imagine. I have worked on projects I could never have begun to get a sniff at without taking the path I did.

I know that sounds harsh but nothing worth having ever comes easy. It it did, it would have no worth. You have to want it and you have to work ridiculously hard to achieve it.

Hope this helps, rather than discourages.

I agree with what you’re saying, and I am in school right now at TAFE (american equivalent of community college). I was in Uni for a year but had to leave for a semester to get enough money to pay tuition since I’m a recent immigrant and don’t qualify for hecs debt (type of school load here) nor could I get a bank loan since I don’t have credit ect. They ended the design, photography, and music courses during that semester I was working and moved them to a campus 6 hours away sadly because they got a huge grant for their marine biology programs so they took the programs. Lots of student protests by everyone in those programs, but nothing came of it. While I was at Uni I had high distinctions in all my classes but one, and learned 10x as much as what I have this year at TAFE. I couldn’t move to attend Uni because my partner needed to keep his job and we needed to stay near his family because we can’t afford full time daycare. My plan has been to graduate from TAFE with a diploma of graphic design and get an unpaid internship someplace I’d like to work as an alternative to a degree program. I know the point you are making, but I also want to make the point that I am doing the best alternative that I could come up with. It’s unfortunate that the Uni didn’t value their design program enough and that I couldn’t move to attend, but I’m not trying to take the easy way or skip out on an education. I really have fought to try and get one and am using all the resources available to me to gain the knowledge I need to enter the industry.

It definitely helps to hear from someone in the industry how important education is because I feel like what I’m doing is validated, and that I should continue to do everything I can to achieve an education.

Wow! Best I pull my head back in then! I owe you a huge apology. I think I may have done you the disservice of assuming you were one of the legion of alacritous flakes who want it all now without putting the effort in. I could not have been more wrong, it seems.

You are exactly what I meant when I said, ‘if you want it badly enough…’. Without meaning to sound patronising, well done and huge respect to you. It is exactly that resourcefulness and determination that will make you eminently employable. With that attitude you will definitely get where you want to be.

It is massively refreshing to hear from someone who understands the value of education and is pushing really hard to get there. Day after day, I see young people who just want the ‘cool’ job and don’t begin to see – nor seem to be prepared to put in – the hard yards required. You, on the other hand are ‘exactly’ the sort of person I would give the break to if I still worked in an agencies and you walked through the door.

A career in design can and does have the ‘cool’ bits, but they are paid for with tight deadlines, Sisyphean briefs and impossible clients. All worth it though. For all the crap that comes with it, I wouldn’t change what i have done for the last 20-odd years for anything – well, perhaps rock star may have swayed me a bit!

What your university did is unbelievably shitty. Once again, profit comes ahead of social conscience. I understand that they have to be funded, but not at the cost of buggering people’s lives up. That’s very depressing to hear. A different campus a few miles away is inconvenient, but six hours away is just plain inconsiderate.

I’d love to see more of your work. Do you have a portfolio?

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