mat martin | Album Art

  • I'm an experienced freelancer with excellent time management and communication skills. Currently I'm working in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, WordPress and the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator) to meet the needs of my clients.

    You can filter or search selected examples of my work using the links below. If you'd like to see more examples of work, discuss a project or check out a reference for me, drop me a line.

    Qualifications: PhD (Music, Fine Art), Dartington College of Arts, 2010 ; BA (Hons) (Music Technology), Rose Bruford College, 2001

  • Client: Nadine Khouri / One Flash Records

    Brief: Album artwork for 'The Salted Air'

    Formats: 12" Gatefold (Coloured Vinyl) | 12" | CD Gatefold | DL

    Photography by Steve Gullick

    Nadine Khouri - The Salted Air

    The artwork for Nadine Khouri’s new album, ‘The Salted Air’, builds on the ongoing collaboration between Nadine and photographer Steve Gullick, whose textured and smoky portraits match the depth and subtlety of her music beautifully.

    In previous projects with Nadine we began a process offsetting these rich images with delicate geometric shapes and lines. This approach was further developed here, dropping layered typography into the rich textures of the images and using the gatefold format to reveal further, more coloured portraits. The depth and richness of colour in Steve’s photographs allowed us to indulge in a reverent nod to some of the vintage Vaughn Oliver Studio work for 4AD, too.

    Special mention to the imaging wizardry of Joe at LookHappy Design, who helped us with texture extraction on this project.

    The album is beautifully produced by John Parish, and even features my old school friend and guitar tech Steve on backing vocals.

    Client: Hobopop Recordings // Kirsty McGee

    Brief: Digital Art for "Diamond Days E.P."

    Formats: DL

    Diamond Days - Kirsty McGee

    Diamond Days – the most recent release from one of my most long-standing collaborators, Kirsty McGee, is born of an artist residency at York St John’s Music Production department and her recent work in California. The brief to create something which was clean, graphic, simple and yet captures something of the vastness and depth of colour of the skies in Joshua Tree, CA, where much of the EP was written, led to the concept of presenting a cyanometer, or device for measuring the blueness of the sky.

    This illustration was simplified a little from the model (De Saussure‘s cyanometer had 53 sections, ranging from white to varying shades of blue (dyed with Prussian blue) and then to black), and created to contain certain imperfections, in a nod to the technology of the late 1700s (essentially squares of paper ). The clean layout and slight texturing provide a contrast to one another which calls to the modern technology of a digital release and the timeless style of McGee’s songwriting, so rooted in Jazz and Blues.

    Client: Lou Rhodes / Nude Records

    Brief: Album artwork for 'theyesandeye'

    Formats: 12" | CD | DL

    Photography by Laura Williams

    Lou Rhodes - theyesandeye

    Lou Rhodes‘ album “theyesandeye” is released on July 22nd, 2016 on Nude records. Laura Williams’ sumptuous photography and the organic flow of Lou’s handwritten titling guided the concept and realisation of the sleeves. The stillness and depth of the photographs and the delicate balance of the handwriting suggested the simple counterpoint of a single classic gothic typeface and a limited colour palette drawn from the earthen tones of the imagery.

    We created a special edition CD slipcase for fans who supported the project via Pledge Music, designed in a minimal style to simply match the placement and feel of the titling, and which allows for personalised messages to be added for backers. All editions are designed to be printed on unbleached matte stock, in keeping with the organic feel of the assets and layout.

    Working on the artwork for my new solo album “theyesandeye” has seen my positive experience of working with Mat carried through to beautiful effect. He not only has an impeccable aesthetic sense but also possesses the organisational skills and experience to carry a job like this from start to finish, amidst often countless proof-reads and last minute tweaks, with efficiency, good-humour and a razor-sharp eye for detail.

    – Lou Rhodes

    Client: Kreg Viesselman

    Brief: Artwork for album on 12", CD, DL

    Formats: 12" Sleeve | CD digipak (2 editions) | DL

    Painitng by Kreg Viesselman

    Kreg Viesselman - To The Mountain

    Kreg Viesselman’s ‘To The Mountain’ album makes use of the most economical of the artists’ own paintings for its few graphic assets. The rest of the sleeve was conceived in keeping with this economy of expression: limited colour, single sans-serif typeface and plain white grounds throughout.

    Client: Clara Sanabras/Smudged Discs

    Brief: 32pp hardcover book with CD + digital artwork

    Formats: CD in 32pp hardcover book | DL

    Photography by Simon Webb

    Clara Sanabras - A Hum About Mine Ears

    Clara Sanabras’ response to Shakespeare’s ‘Tempest’ nods visually to Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Seventh Seal’ and the brief for the project reflected this strongly. Simon Webb’s photographs used filmic black and white, surreal lighting and the Lewis chess men to great effect in this area.

    The typographic and layout choices stayed closely aligned with these ideas, and were married to inner page grounds reminiscent of celluloid frames with silent movie caption borders. As with Clara’s previous record we had the luxury of a 32pp booklet and a bespoke sleeve template to work with, leaving plenty of room for the content to breathe and the video stills on the inner pages to complement the black and white imagery.

    Mat Martin designed the artwork for two of my albums. The results are beautiful, detailed, imaginative, original, a reflection of his varied skills in design, music and more.

    – Clara Sanabras

    Client: Lamb/Strata Music

    Brief: Re-create/adapt artwork for reissue on 12", CD, DL

    Formats: 12" Gatefold | CD digipak | DL

    Original layout by Lou Rhodes & Nick Tomlinson

    Lamb - 5

    Shortly after Backspace Unwind Lamb re-released their previous record, ‘5’. The brief here was to refine and re-create the original packaging with a few important changes. We adopted Lou’s drawing which had originally only appeared on the vinyl sleeve and used it for all editions, moving the cover photo to the booklet. Type was re-set and re-laid, and the booklet re-paginated.

    Client: Lamb / Strata Music

    Brief: CD Wallet - “We Fall In Love” single

    Formats: CD in card wallet (promo only | Digital artwork for download

    Lamb photo by ThisIsHoax

    Lamb - We Fall In Love

    The first single from ‘Backspace Unwind’ uses the photography by ThisIsHoax first used in the inner sleeves of the album artwork, combined with the typographic style developed for the album sleeve. A limited run of card wallets were created for promo, although this was a digital only release for retail.

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    Client: Lamb

    Brief: Album artwork - “Backspace Unwind” (Special Edition, Single & Double CD, 12" Gatefold, Digital)

    Formats: 12" vinyl gatefold | Special edition pop-up double CD in Slipcase with poster | Special edition double CD in gatefold lancing pack | Single disc edition in Digipak | US & Aus Editions of Digipak CD editions in reversed colours | DL with digital lyric book | Live show backdrop | Tour shirts | Tote bags

    Harmonograph image by David Cool

    Backspace Unwind 2

    “Backspace Unwind” was Lamb’s first album since 2011’s 5 (re-released in 2015), and I was approached while recording was still in progress to work on the sleeve, to produced in a variety of versions according to format, edition and territory. We worked with photo assets in early drafts before it became clear that some graphic element which connected the stellar themes of the album to the nature of sound was needed to match audio and visual elements up.

    I discovered the work of David Cool during the research process for this project. His work on the visualisation of sound using programming provided the final piece for the project and we worked with him to extract frames from the final piece seen on the cover of the album: a harmonograph created in Processing and notating the development of sonic elements in relation to one another.

    The further into the sleeves one ventures, the earlier the point as which the harmonograph’s development is seen.

    We created a special edition double CD for album supporters using the folding 3D card packaging offered by Manchester’s ACDSleeve, and provided reverse colour versions for USA and Australian territories.

    Working with Mat has always been a pleasure for me. From our first meeting before the release of “Backspace Unwind” it was evident that he had a very intuitive understanding of both music and design. So often I’ve had the experience of attempting to convey creative ideas in words and then finding that the other person has completely mis-interpreted those ideas and produced something very different to what I had in mind. With Mat that never seems to happen; I feel my creative thought processes landing in the mind of someone I can trust to see those ideas through to a visual manifestation that often not only meets but exceeds my expectations.

    – Lou Rhodes

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    Client: Lamb/Strata Music

    Brief: Digital art for bonus EP

    Formats: DL

    Lamb - Transfatty Acid E.P.

    Created as a bonus download for listeners supporting the making of ‘Backspace Unwind‘, the ‘Trasfatty Acid’ E.P. revisits some older Lamb material, so the task of adding text to the existing image involved a nod to the typography of their eariler ‘Fear of Fours’ record, along with a re-extraction of their previous logo.

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    Client: Clara Sanabras/Smudged Discs

    Brief: CD Gatefold w/32pp Booklet + Digital artwork

    Formats: CD | DL

    Clara Sanabras - El Vol Dispers

    Clara’s album ‘El Vol Dispers’, or ‘Songs of Spanish Exile’ is a large-scale bilingual project, and as with her ‘A Hum About Mine Ears‘ record, involved a great deal of collaboration with many musicians. This, along with the lyrics in two languages, made for a lot of text and allowed for a 32pp booklet in which we were able to reproduce and showcase the beautiful photography.

    The results of Mat’s work are of the finest calibre. He was also proactive in dealing with of technical specs, making sure everything was in place for me before the printing deadlines. Working with him has been a pleasure and I look forward to working with him again soon.

    – Clara Sanabras

    Client: Mary Epworth/Hand of Glory

    Brief: Artwork for 7" and digital single release, “September”

    Formats: 7" Sleeve | DL

    Mary Epworth - September

    Mary Epworth’s first vinyl release since Dream Life was design briefed to reference 60s psychadelia in a colourful way. The three images of the artist were extracted, treated/coloured and assembled into the composite overlay seen on the front of the sleeve, taking advantage of the possibilities for repeated forms, symmetry and dynamic movement the poses offered. Laying the whole over a ground of concentric circles helped to centre the overall shape of the image as well as providing a further psychadelic feel overall. The digital rendering of this project for download format was particularly effective.

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    Client: Kirsty McGee/Hobopop Recordings

    Brief: Digital artwork, card wallet & on-body print for single release

    Formats: CD | DL

    Kirsty McGee - Sandman

    Client: Brownfield/Byrne Quintet

    Brief: Jewel case inserts for CD album, with 4-panel insert

    Formats: CD

    Brownfield/Byrne Quintet - Sleeve

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    Client: Mary Epworth/Hand of Glory Records

    Brief: 12" and CD gatefold sleeves w/ poster insert / lyric book

    Formats: 12" | CD

    Photography by Matthew Robert-Hughes

    Mary Epworth - Dream Life

    The glorious and subtle clouds of powdered colour created in-camera by Matthew Robert-Hughes meant that there was little more to do with this layout brief than find a sensitive and subtle way to display the work whilst maintining typographic harmony and clarity. The use of a geometric sans face created minimal visual noise, and alternating colour to separate text elements (words from one another, A- and B-side track listings, titles from lyrics) allowed for a clearer navigation through a smaller quantity of information. This also created opportunities for detail, such as the exchange of colour order between artist and title, or the internal balance of the outer sticker used to replace titling on the front panels.

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    Client: Kirsty McGee/Hobopop Recordings

    Brief: 6-panel lancing pack and digital artwork for album - ‘Contraband’

    Formats: CD | DL

    Kirsty McGee - Contraband

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