Carey Ann Hays

CD Covers Wrecked Mixes 2008

I belong to a music-related online message board, and for a period of time (until Spotify came along) we had a mixed CD exchange at Christmas time. Each participating member was paired with a secret recipient.

After the recipient received his or her mix, we would offer up the mix to anyone else who wanted one. Many of us, myself included, had fun with themes and custom covers. Many of us would often make more than one mix each year. The time and postage invested was more than worth the piles of new music we would receive in return.

I invested more time in the 2008 mixed CD than most years, but I had the most fun with it. My 2008-Middletown_Collagehometown of Muncie, Indiana was known as Middletown, the focus of an ongoing series of studies since the 1920’s that showed Muncie as the economic and social barometer for the rest of the country. Read more about the Middletown studies here.

I spent many hours collecting archival photos to use in the collage for the front cover. The photos I used were purposely chosen, and many have special meaning to me… the windows in the top center of the collage, for example, are from the historic Murray Building in downtown Muncie, where my office was located at the time. The factory toward the bottom center is the one being demolished in the main photo sequence.

The falling smokestack sequence was from our local newspaper’s coverage of the demolition of the last standing auto factory in our town. For the back cover I used my own photo, taken of the long-since closed neighborhood bar across the street from where the factory once stood.

This mix is called “The Rise and Fall of Middletown,” though the music is really more about the fall, featuring rock and country songs about hard times and unemployment.


I didn’t put nearly as much time into the “Wanderlust Vol. 3” mix cover; for this one, I used stock photos. The back cover is a composite of two stock images.


Process: Adobe Photoshop and InDesign

Output: Full color digital printing on 80# glossy paper

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