Back when we were young and thought we were funny, my friends and I used to pose for album covers. Didn’t matter the shot, we’d be the ones with the serious expressions (as if our music would change the world), all but one of us looking away from the camera, or vice versa. We weren’t members of the baseball team, we were Duran Duran. We weren’t part of the graduating class of 1988, we were Tears for Fears (well, they were…I was one of the guys from Naked Eyes guesting on their album, maybe; kind of a Tears for Eyes supergroup).
Too bad we didn’t have iPhones back then, because VinylizeMe could’ve created entire album cover designs around those photos, albeit in a different era. This app for iPhone and iPod touch offers ’50s and ’60s era album cover templates you can customize with your photos and text to turn your vacations and gatherings into a soundtrack for the time.
What is it?
VinylizeMe comes with 15 record sleeves that mimic the designs of…I don’t know enough about art to get this right. Mod, maybe? It’s all bold rectangles and lines and basic type. You can take photos directly from within the app or you can import photos from your library, then run them through a series of customization options to create your cover to be saved to your camera roll and shared via e-mail, Twitter, Flickr or Facebook.
How does it work?
First, you select the album cover design by sliding through the 15 options at the bottom of the interface. You have to click Finished after each step, which I found counter-intuitive (I thought that would mean I’m done with the whole thing), but doing so here allows you tap on the designated photo areas to either take a new image or grab one from your library. You can rotate and adjust the size of the image within the design window, which can be difficult to do considering the entire cover has to fit on the iPhone screen. As such, resizing an image often resulted in rotating it. Once you’ve got the images and placement you want, you can add color tints to enhance the design.
You next update the text, changing the album title and band/musician names to more personal options. Customization is limited here, however, as you have to fit the allotted area, and you don’t get typeface options. And again, the tiny screen means it’s almost impossible to read some of the type as you edit it, and I’ve got rather good eyes. BlueSpark would be wise to blow up the type for editing in a future update. The record label name can be customized, too, and the headers can be swapped in and out of each album design.
Finally, you have nine options for weathering the cover, all of which will look familiar to anyone who’s owned a vinyl record. Scuffs, record outlines, stains…pretty much everything’s here except for the record store cutout notch and the hole the record sometimes carved into the center bottom.
When all of this is set, you can easily send it off to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, or send it to e-mail or your camera roll.
Is it contagious?
Two groups are going to get a kick out of this: fans of vinyl records and fans of vintage design/photography. The interface needs to be cleaned up for easier use on the small iPhone and iPod touch screens, but it’s otherwise fun to get creative with VinylizeMe. I’m sure that more album cover variations are coming soon, and although I’d like to see designs from other eras, I know that the ’50s and ’60s used layout in a manner more conducive to something like this. After that, it was mostly just large photos of the artist.
Still, I’m surprised there’s no ’50s Christmas album theme available right now (although you could achieve this via photo and color). “The Family von Hiner Sings Your Holiday Favorites” would make a great Christmas card for the family.