Personal Touch

When designer Martin Kann was asked to put more of himself into cover artwork for Swedish pop group bob hund, he took the request quite literally, explains Casper Heijkenskjöld.

Ed9c3d52 a2ee 4eef b377 643190ccfeff

“If he’s not the lead singer who is he?”

One of my favourite pieces of album artwork is this cover created for Swedish pop group bob hund by designer Martin Kann. Rather than its aesthetic, I am intrigued by the way it was created and just how open-minded bob hund were in terms of the commission. 

In an interview, Kann has spoken about how his initial cover suggestions had been rejected by the band, who commented that he had “to put more of [himself] and [his] personality into it”. In response, Kann sent a tongue-in-cheek proposal – featuring his own face – that ended up being used as the final artwork for the record, which was renamed Omslag: Martin Kann  – Omslag translates as cover.

The band create quite poetic and naive songs, which I think the simple, quick and dirty style of the photocopied image reflects really well. It has an immediacy to it, yet it’s also subtle. And of course the cover raises the question: “If he’s not the lead singer who is he?”  I think it’s a playful idea – especially as we see so many frontmen’s faces on covers.

Most importantly, I think the cover acts as an interesting comment that shines light on the designer’s role as an image-maker for clients. The classic hierarchy and role of the designer is turned upside down – the designer gets the band to work for him instead of the other way around. For me it is a graphic designer’s small rebellion against the norms of his own profession.