There were many fun things about producing the FSM catalog—chiefly, getting to access great film music and release it to the fans!
But along the way, watching our art director, Joe Sikoryak, create new cover art was always one of the most fun parts of the process.
While I never liked vinyl, I do appreciate that they had better covers, owing to the size. CDs were limited by the smaller dimensions.
Because of that, a CD cover is kind of a “snapshot” expressing the film, rather than something large that is the ultimate statement of it. Does that make sense?
Over time, Joe and I got so used to each other that I don’t remember seeing a lot of alternate cover ideas. I would just trust that whatever he did would be best.
But there were projects, especially in the early years, where Joe would run a bunch of choices by me and the others involved in the project.
Above is the final French Connection/French Connection II cover, but along the way there were these temporary and suggested versions:
They’re pretty similar, but you can see the variations as Joe was trying to find the best framing, font and approach—and how different vs. same to make them, as part of a series.
One of the things you learn as you go through the creative process—any creative process—is that experienced professionals know their craft well enough to make dozens of creative choices instinctually.
But if you work with an amateur—in anything—you’ll find all these basic things suddenly need a ton of attention.
Like, what’s wrong with the car we designed? Oh, it has square wheels. Why’d we do that? Well, we didn’t know any better.
This is why pros are worth the money. There’s just so much that goes into every craft and every form of art that we, as the consumer/customer, take for granted.
But oh boy, you sure notice when they’re wrong.
This has led to “Use your open eye, Frank” being one of my favorite sayings:
Thanks to Joe for many years of wonderful work—and, in recent years, curating our archives so that you can find...all FOR FREE:
1) A complete archive of the FSM print magazine as downloadable pdfs.
3) A partial archive of the FSM CD covers (we don’t have them for the early titles) at 1500x1500.
P.S. Our French Connection CD is long sold out, but this 2CD reissue is still available from La-La Land Records—highly recommended!