2014 Top Ten Albums

Always epic and often controversial, The 2014 IC Top Ten Album Lists are here! Check out our Rdio playlist containing every album except (sadly) T. Swift.

Don Clark / 2014 Top Ten Albums

01. The Jezabels - The Brink
Best Track: “Time To Dance”
02. Future Islands - Singles
Best Track: “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
03. Taylor Swift - 1989
Best Track: “Style”
04. Sia  - 1000 Forms Of fear
Best Track: “Chandelier”
05. Tycho - Awake
Best Track: “Awake”
06. Lights - Little Machines
Best Track: “Up We Go”
07. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2
Best Track: “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”
08. Betty Who - Take Me When You Go
Best Track: “Somebody Loves You”
09. Bleachers - Strange Desire
Best Track: “Rollercoaster”
10. Young Widows - Easy Pain
Best Track: “Godman”

Ryan Clark / 2014 Top Ten Albums

01. The Jezebels - The Brink
Best Track: “No Country”
02. Sia - 1000 Forms Of Fear
Best Track: “Elastic Heart”
03. Chromeo - White Women
Best Track: “Old 45′s”
04. Royksopp - The Inevitable End
Best Track: “Monument”
05. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2
Best Track: “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”
06. Future Islands - Singles
Best Track: “Fall From Grace”
07. Sohn - Tremors
Best Track: “Artifice”
08. Delta Spirit - Into The Wide
Best Track: “Live On”
09. Elbow - The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
Best Track: “Charge”
10. Young Widows - Easy Pain
Best Track: “Kerosine Girl”

Ryan Clark / 2014 Top Ten Metal Albums

01. Slipknot - The Gray Chapter
Best Track: “AOV”
02. Machine Head - Bloodstone & Diamonds
Best Track: “Ghost Will Haunt My Bones”
03. In Flames - Siren Charms
Best Track: “Everything’s Gone”
04. At The Gates - At War With Reality
Best Track: “At War With Reality”
05. Decapitated - Blood Mantra
Best Track: “Moth Defect (Bonus Track)”
06. Throwdown - Intolerance
Best Track:  “Intolerance”
07. Insense - De:Evolution
Best Track: “Meandering”
08. Mastodon - Once More ‘Round The Sun
Best Track: “The Motherload”
09. Killer Be Killed Killer Be Killed
Best Track: “Wings Of Feather And Wax”
10. Insomnia - Shadows Of The Dying Sun
Best Track: “While We Sleep”

Zac Schwiet / 2014 Top Ten Albums

01. Betty Who - Take Me When You Go
Best Track: “Alone Again”
02. Broods - Evergreen
Best Track: “Bridges”
03. Chromeo - White Women
Best Track: “Come Alive”
04. Ariana Grande - My Everything
Best Track: “One Last Try”
05. Young The Giant - Mind Over Matter
Best Track: “Mind Over Matter”
06. Chet Faker - Built On Glass
Best Track: “Gold”
07. iamamiwhoami - Blue
Best Track: “Fountain”
08. Number One Gun - This Is All We Know
Best Track: “Make A Movie”
09. Taylor Swift - 1989
Best Track: “Style”
10. Barcelona - The Melodrama
Best Track: “Diamond and Silver”

Josh Cross / 2014 Top Ten Albums

01. Thumpers - Galore
Best Track: “Unkinder (A Tougher Love)”
02. The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream
Best Track: “Red Eyes”
03. Taylor Swift - 1989
Best Track: “Style”
04. Bleachers - Strange Desire
Best Track: “Rollercoaster”
05. Broods- Evergreen
Best Track: “Bridges”
06. Brooke Fraser - Brutal Romantic
Best Track: “Psychoscocial”
07. Ages and Ages - Diversionary
Best Track: “Light Goes Out”
08. Hooray For Earth - Racy
Best Track: “Keys”
09. Walk The Moon - Talking Is Hard
Best Track: “Different Colors”
10. First Aid Kit - Stay Gold
Best Track: “Stay Gold”


Cover Story

It’s been busy here at IC, to say the least, and we haven’t been updating the blog as often as we’d like. To make up for lost time, here are a handful of new albums we’ve been working on over the past 6 months. Enjoy.


I’ve been friends with these guys ever since we toured together in 2010, but never had the chance to work with them on a design level. I couldn’t be more pleased with how smoothly everything went. We knew we wanted a cover image that centered around an icon, and the WW mark is something that came to mind instantly after our first conversation. As always, I loved working in simple black and white. Each image is comprised of abstract painted shapes to convey a ink-blot/rorschach vibe. Pre-order the physical package here.


Tedashii Below Paradise
Taking a page from the late, great Storm Thorgerson book of “doing it for real,” we ventured out into the high desert of Southern California in early 2014 to create this album cover. Caleb Kuhl did a killer job on the photos, Neil Visel was particularly handy with the forklift, and I put too much lighter fluid on the car and we had to call the fire department. Apparently they saw the smoke from a neighboring county. Oops. Grab the physical album here.

Propaganda Crimson Cord
Our pal Prop gave us free reign on his (amazing) new album – we wanted the packaging concept to feel as organic and layered as his music. What may look like paint drips and splatters are (mostly) images of his iconic dreadlocks. Our goal was to blend his soul into the art as much as possible – which was inspired by the album title and album concept. Grab the physical album here.


Memphis May Fire Unconditional
The guys in MMF came to me with this concept, which I thought was great – that of the bond between father and child. Since my dad happened to be coming to town around this time, I thought it would be a great opportunity to photograph his arm for this cover… and I was able to talk one of my brother’s children into giving us a “hand” as well. Grab the physical album here.


The Atlas Moth The Old Believer
I’ve always enjoyed creating imagery that is “more than meets the eye.” I also love concepts that allow for some real hands-on interaction. Ideas like this have kept music packaging exciting for me through the years. When The Atlas Moth came to me with a concept that would change the cover image when wet, I thought there was no way we’d get the necessary approval to make it happen. Thanks to the folks at Profound Lore, who, in rare fashion, believe in going the extra mile in the name of artistic endeavor, this amazing idea is something you can now hold (and drench) for yourself. Above are both “before” and “after” versions of the cover. Grab the physical album here.

Lecrae Anomaly
One of our favorite clients, Lecrae (and his label – Reach Records), asked us to work on the follow-up to his last album Gravity, which we had the pleasure of working on in 2012. We enlisted the help of our friends at Shinbone Creative to create Crae’s likeness in 3D wireframe (spot gloss varnish!) form for the cover. The physical packaging will def. be worth checking out. Pre-order that here.


Killer Be Killed
Working with an entire band of metal visionaries isn’t something I get to do every day. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. The aesthetic that we really bonded over, and seemed fitting for this project, was that of crusty, gritty, photocopied punk. The real fringe – Discharge, Man Is The Bastard, Doom, Crass, etc. It was a blast getting to work in a style that I love, for awesome guys that totally get it. Grab the physical album here.


Grieves Winter & The Wolves
Another album cover that’s more than meets the eye. We worked with Grieves to create something really special for 2011′s Together/Apart, and we knew we wanted to do something amazing for this record as well. The actual cover (top image here) features a die cut hole right in the center, where a standing Grieves shows through. When the cover is opened, we see that he’s surrounded by wolves. Careful out there, buddy. Grab the physical album here.


Insense De:Evolution
I had the pleasure of touring with these guys in Europe during the spring of 2012. We spoke a bit on the road about working together for the artwork on their new record, and I’m stoked that we were able to make it happen. Not to worry – no babies were harmed in the making of this cover. Grab the physical album here.

The Moment

We recently completed the artwork for Manafest’s new album, The Moment. Our idea was to encapsulate that “leap of faith” moment – in this case, literally, as we see Manafest contemplating clearing possibly the largest gap of all time. You can pre-order the album here while there’s still time! Go!

This Is All We Know

Over the years, Number One Gun has been a source of creative exploration for us. They’ve always been great at essentially giving us free-reign, which has allowed us the room to create some work that we’re really proud of (thanks, Jeff). For this, their newest digital-only release, This Is All We Know, we created a scene made to look like a page cut from a special Twilight Zone Edition of a 1960s Life Magazine. We started with a pre-printed image and added a mysterious mirrored box, nestled into the setting.

The Great Discontent Interview

It’s an absolute honor to be interviewed by The Great Discontent. Cozy up with that brand new iPad from Grandma and have a read. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

2013 Top Ten Albums

listen to our playlist over at rdio …

Ryan Clark:

01. Editors - The Weight Of Your Love
Best Track: “What Is This Thing Called Love”
02. Biffy Clyro - Opposites
Best Track: “Biblical”
03. White Lies - Big TV
Best Track: “First Time Caller”
04. CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe
Best Track:  ”The Mother We Share”
05. Empire Of The Sun - Ice On The Dune
Best Track: “DNA”
06. Everything Everything - Arc
Best Track: “Kemosabe”
07. The National - Trouble Will Find Me
Best Track: “I Need My Girl”
08. London Grammar - If You Wait
Best Track: “Wasting My Young Years”
09. Haim - Days Are Gone
Best Track: “Don’t Save Me”
10. Bastille - Bad Blood
Best Track: “Overjoyed”


Don Clark:

01. Haim - Days Are Gone
Best Track: “Forever”
02. Empire Of The Sun - Ice On The Dune
Best Track: “Alive”
03. Young Galaxy - Ultramarine
Best Track: “New Summer”
04. Beautiful Eulogy - Instruments Of Mercy
Best Track: “You Can Save Me”
05. The Night Marchers - Allez! Allez!
Best Track: “Tropical Depression”
06. Editors - The Weight Of Your Love
Best Track: “What Is This Thing Called Love”
07. JGivens - El v. Envy
Best Track: “Might (Not) Be”
08. CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe
Best Track: “Gun”
09. London Grammar - If You Wait
Best Track: “Hey Now”
10. Birds Of Tokyo - March Fires
Best Track: “Lanterns”


Zac Schwiet:

01. Brother - Call
Best Track: “Brother”
02. Andrew Belle - Black Bear
Best Track: “Pieces”
03. One Republic - Native
Best Track: “Can’t Stop”
04. The 1975 - Self-Titled
Best Track: “Heart Out”
05. The Head And The Heart - Let’s Be Still
Best Track: “Shake”
06. Aaron Sprinkle - Water & Guns
Best Track: “Alright”
07. Empire Of the Sun - Ice On The Dune
Best Track: “Surround Sound”
08. Young Galaxy - Ultramarine
Best Track: “Fever”
09. Ivan & Alyosha - All The Times We Had
Best Track: “Running For Cover”
10. The Lone Bellow - Self-Titled
Best Track: “Green Eyes And A Heart Of Gold”


Ryan’s Top Ten Metal:

01. Omnium Gatherum - Beyond
Best Track: “New Dynamic”
02. Alice In Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
Best Track: “Phantom Limb”
03. Soilwork - The Living Infinite
Best Track: “Tongue”
04. HIM - Tears On Tape
Best Track: “Love Without Tears”
05. Kvelertak - Meir
Best Track: “Bruane Brenn”
06. Extol - Extol
Best Track:  ”Open The Gates”
07. Living Sacrifice - Ghost Thief
Best Track: “The Reaping”
08. Amorphis - Circle
Best Track: “Shades Of Gray”
09. Carcass - Surgical Steel
Best Track: “A Congealed Clot Of Blood”
10. Battlecross - War Of Will
Best Track: “Flesh & Bone”


Water & Guns

Here’s a look at the album cover we created with long-time friend Aaron Sprinkle, for his newest release, Water & Guns. The Album itself is phenomenal, and Aaron, as usual, gave us his unyielding trust to create something with no boundaries but our own imagination. Water & Guns speaks of (among many other things) Aaron’s recent move across the country, and his long journey to complete this record. Our idea was to represent two polarizing landscapes using abstract shapes. In this case, all pre-printed materials from vintage magazines. Buy this record.

IdN Magazine Feature

Is there still a role for designers in the music industry? We’re honored to be amongst 7 studios interviewed and featured in IdN’s Music Graphic issue.

Recorded music has always been packaged, from the very earliest days when wax cylinders came in cardboard tubes, and has therefore always involved designers. In the palmy days of vinyl LPs with sometimes stunning cover art and often erudite liner notes, the presentation was almost as important as the product.

But with the industry morphing so rapidly into the field of digital-download delivery, where do the graphics come in now? This is a burning question for all those working in the area of visually representing music. To see what their answers are, read this feature story, which solicits the views of seven specialist music designers.

Featuring: Telegramme Studio | Invisible Creature, Inc. | IWant Design | Daniel Reed | Matteo Meta | Leif Podhajsky | Giottographica

// Grab a copy here.

We Built This City

We’re excited to reveal our new cover for Minorville, the upcoming album from Nashville’s finest: Derek Minor. With the help of Curtis Clark (or ‘Dad’, as we like to call him), we designed this from the ground up in approx. 2 weeks. With over 100 feet of basswood and baltic birch, Dad took our design and created an entire city in 50 hours. Each structure arrived safely in Seattle, ready to be constructed in the shape of Derek’s profile. When we were initially presented with the challenge of creating this album cover, this was the first concept we pitched – Many thanks to Derek and Reach Records for sending us off and running. Stay tuned for a full comprehensive “Making Of” film coming in the next few weeks, but for now – enjoy the teaser (Processed using VSCO film emulation):

Rescue & Restore


Here’s a look at the recently completed cover for August Burns Red’s new album, Rescue & Restore. The album will be available June 25th on CD, double gatefold vinyl, and limited edition vinyl box set. Pre-orders available soon! We had an absolute blast putting this together. Thanks to JB and the guys for their trust and letting us run crazy with it.

Austin City Limits

Last February, the kind folks at Austin City Limits Music Festival commissioned us to design key art and assets for their infamous 6-day event, which is happening October 4-6 and 11-13. We graciously accepted their request and the new look is now out in the wild. We had a blast compiling all that there is to love about the iconic festival, the city of Austin … and even a little of their historic bat and flag culture. Oh, and Depeche Mode is playing?!


Holy Rebel

New posters for Holy Ghost! and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club for this year’s Sasquatch! Festival. Available for purchase at 10AM on May 20th. See them on display at Vermillion in Capitol Hill starting May 18th, 7PM. 21+.

Play Loud

What happens when two ex-Altec Lansing guys, an architect/furniture designer and a liquor industry operational expert come together? Grain Audio. Check out the great video and bio over at their Kickstarter page to learn more. Better yet, pledge some of that hard-earned cash and make this dream a reality. The products are beautiful and they sound even better. We even designed a poster to help seal the deal. Go!

Farewell Underøath

Our friends in Underøath asked us to contribute a design dedicated to one show of their upcoming farewell tour. This design (for both poster and t-shirt) specifically commemorates the Houston, TX date of the tour. If you have a chance, don’t miss seeing this band for the last time, and be sure to check out all of the final tour designs created by friends of the band here.

Heroes For Sale

Here’s our album cover for the one, the only Andy Mineo. Heroes For Sale arrives on April 16th. To be continued…

2012 Top Tens

Don Clark:

01. The Jezabels - Prisoner
Best Track: “Rosebud”
02. Lecrae - Gravity
Best Track: “Violence”
03. Paper Route - The Peace Of Wild Things
Best Track: “Two Hearts”
04. Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again
Best Track:  ”I’m Getting Ready”
05. Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit
Best Track: “Tear It Up”
06. Propaganda - Excellent
Best Track: “Precious Puritans”
07. The Presets - Pacifica
Best Track: “Promises”
08. Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
Best Track: “Anything Can Happen”
09. Abandoned Pools - Sublime Currency
Best Track: “Hype Is The Enemy”
10. Derek Minor - PSA, V. 3
Best Track: “Love”


Ryan Clark:


01. The Presets - Pacifica
Best Track: “Fall”
02. Twin Shadow - Confess
Best Track: “Five Seconds”
03. Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit
Best Track: “Home”
04. O. Children - Apnea
Best Track: “I Know (You Love Me)”
05. The Jezabels - Prisoner
Best Track: “Endless Summer”
06. Night Flight Orchestra - Internal Affairs
Best Track: “1998″
07. Abandoned Pools - Sublime Currency
Best Track: “Sublime Currency”
08. Miike Snow - Happy To You
Best Track: “Garden”
09. Niki & The Dove - Instinct
Best Track: “Somebody”
10. Bright Light Bright Light - Make Me Believe In Hope
Best Track: “Immature”


Zac Schwiet:


01. Abandoned Pools - Sublime Currency
Best Track: “Hype Is The Enemy”
02. Derek Minor - PSA, V. 3
Best Track: “Turn It Up”
03. Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
Best Track: “Anything Could Happen”
04. School of Seven Bells - Ghostory
Best Track: “The Night”
05. Lecrae - Church Clothes
Best Track: “Co-Sign”
06. The Shins - Port Of Morrow
Best Track: “Simple Song”
07. Twin Shadow - Confess
Best Track: “Run My Heart”
08. Paper Route - The Peace Of Wild Things
Best Track: “Two Hearts”
09. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
Best Track: “Breezeblocks”
10. Shiny Toy Guns - III
Best Track: “Somewhere To Hide”


Ryan’s Top Ten Metal:


01. Deftones - Koi No Yokan
Best Track: “Poltergeist”
02. Black Breath - Sentenced To Life
Best Track: “The Flame”
03. Fear Factory - The Industrialist
Best Track: “Recharger”
04. Katatonia - Dead End Kings
Best Track: “The Racing Heart”
05. Cancer Bats - Dead Set On Living
Best Track: “D.S.O.L.”
06. Gojira - L’Enfant Sauvage
Best Track:  ”L’Enfant Sauvage”
07. Woods Of Ypres - Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light
Best Track: “Lightning & Snow”
08. Meshuggah - Koloss
Best Track: “The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance”
09. Swallow The Sun - Emerald Forest And The Blackbird
Best Track: “This Cut Is The Deepest”
10. Becoming The Archetype - I Am
Best Track: “The Eyes Of The Storm”



Here’s our cover for KidQuake!, album #4 from Seattle’s mightiest pre-K heroes : The Not-Its! See for yourself – these guys know how to start a serious circle pit.



We had the great pleasure of working once again with Starflyer 59 on their thirteenth full-length album, IAMACEO. As always, working with Jason Martin was an extremely creative and enjoyable experience… and needless to say, the album itself is stellar, so do yourself a favor and pre-order a copy (vinyl & digital download) NOW!

The Loop

We created 3 posters for Morrissey’s upcoming (and now cancelled) tour stops here in the northwest. Seattle, Bellingham and Portland. Sold as a set and individually. In the shop now.

good kid, m.A.A.d city

Congrats to Kendrick Lamar on the success of his epic new LP ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city‘, out now. We worked closely with Kendrick to bring to life his vision for the album art. In stores and on iTunes now.


Founded in 2006 by Don & Ryan Clark, Invisible Creature is a
multi-disciplinary design and illustration studio based in Seattle, WA.


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