Design and Color,
a graphic artist reviews the album artwork
Enya’s self-titled first album featured a rather stark black and white image of her crouched between, what appears to be two angry guard dogs. This image is confined inside a small block in the centre of the album with the word “Enya” written above in caps using an unfamiliar font. It appears the Enya logo we all know had not yet been developed at this stage. This album does not yet feature the more theatrical and elegant wardrobe of her later albums and it is clear to see that the Enya brand and image had not yet been established with her debut album. It is, however, quite a suitable design which suits the decade of its release.
Half of Watermark’s design consists of rough painted flowers over an abstract background, and the other half of it is a rather melancholy photograph of Enya. The colours are a mix of warm dark reds which are reflected in Enya’s lip colour and cool blues in Enya’s outfit as well as golden brown and black. This is the first appearance of the Enya logo in a golden hue that matches the background and the font used on the interior appeared almost handwritten which suited the rest of the design well and is still rather popular among fans.
Shepherd Moons (1991)
This album’s colour scheme consists entirely of hues of blue, except for the logo in a golden colour. The blue gives the design a much colder feel and the branches in the background had an almost wintery theme. The photo of Enya takes up most of the space on the front cover design.
The Celts (1992)
This design features earthy tones to compliment the photograph of Enya posing outside an old church. The front cover seems to represent a modern religion in the Celtic regions, while the back almost echoes back to Pagan times. On the front Enya the design has Enya framing the bottom left of the image and then the eye is led to an almost illegible inscription on the wall of the church. The robe Enya’s wearing matches the maroon colour scheme well and carries on the Celtic theme of the album.
The Memory of Trees (1995)
Here we have earthy tones again with a yellow hue and some royal blue. As many of you may know, the cover is based on "The Young King of the Black Isles" by Maxfield Parrish. All the design elements of this cover are centred, the eye then follows Enya’s robes as they drape over to the right of the image. She is much smaller on this design compared to the rest and the moon-like marble image above her is re-used for the CD itself and on the back cover. The rest of the booklet seems to have a pixilated zoomed-in image which almost resembles gold specs, perhaps to reflect the song “Once You Had Gold”. This gold effect matches the yellow hues of the front colour and is well complimented by the red of Enya’s lips and her blue eyeshadow and robes, two stark prime colours.
Paint The Sky With Stars (1997)
The theme of astronomy is a prominent one in this album and it’s no wonder, with a name like “Paint The Sky With Stars”. The elements used throughout are quite intricate and almost resemble a bit of a collage, yet the design is very clean, with plenty of white space on the front. I found it rather interesting that this is the only Enya album apart from her very first one that does not have the Enya logo. Instead, it has “The Best Of Enya” written in a handwriting font in capital letters. I 1quite like the font chosen for the album title, it is a script that works well with the theme of the night sky. The cover image appears to be a photograph from the “Shepherd Moons” era and the only image that seems to have been taken especially for this album is the one of Enya, we can only assume it is Enya, taken from the back facing a starry sky as a silhouette. The interior is a bit of a collage made up of various old photographs mingled with the new design elements of this album and the large song-titles in the same script front from the front cover. The front of the album mainly consists of brown and cream with a few dabs of light blue, while the inside focuses more on blues and reds. Instead of receiving the usual booklet with this album, the pamphlet inside folds out into five panels.
A Day Without Rain (2000)
In the photograph used for this cover, Enya appears to be in a very old building with worn wallpaper, old wooden floors and an old broken couch. The textures of this setting add a lot of character to the design and the green hue of this image is used throughout the cover. A small title has been placed neatly below the Enya logo in brown which complements the cool teal colour of the Enya logo and both colours are reflected in the photograph. Enya is placed slightly off center with her skirt flowing towards the opposite side of the cover, which once again helps lead the eye around the design. The hues of the front cover seem to represent a spring day after some light rains, appropriate for the title. I found the inside cover surprisingly bare: the pages are simply light hues of orange, blue and purple. Each page has a square image on the top left corner and lyrics written in a darker shade of the background colour. Although it isn’t unpleasant to the eye, the inside of the booklet looks very templated without any real design. The outside, however, makes up for this.
Amarantine is by far the cleanest design of any Enya album cover. There is plenty of white space with Enya clipped out of the photograph on the cover. The font for “Amarantine” appears to be purple which doesn’t really pick up anywhere else in the front image and is a rather elaborate and chunky font to be situated near the logo. The Enya logo is also a bit larger than usual in this design. This colour scheme works well – the red, white and black complement each other wonderfully. The textures and elements used inside work well and alternate between clean vectors with red, brown, white and black and more textured backgrounds with photographs. The font size is a little larger than most of the previous booklets.
And Winter Came (2008)
As with “The Memory of Trees”, the composition of this album design is centered and it works well. The colour scheme consists of delightful wintery blue and white hues that capture the season perfectly. The ice sculpture horse as well as Enya’s stance and choice of fashion add a touch of elegance to the image and the eye is led from the top left by the horses head down to the train of her dress. Whereas “Amarantine’s” colours were mainly red with some white, “And Winter Came” has gone the opposite route with touches of red placed on white. This works very well for the Enya logo and the foil effect reflects the Christmas/Winter theme of this album. The choice of font has some similarities to “Amarantine”, but this font is much cleaner and a perfect choice. The interior does not deviate from the winter theme at all and all the images are very bright with the backgrounds becoming brighter until almost white. The serif fonts used work perfectly with the design as well, overall, a great winter-themed look.
Liz, is a professional graphic artist, living and working in Namibia. She has designed logo elements that have been used on one of the earlier incarnations of the Unity Fan Forum. Thank you Liz, for taking the time to make a clear, professional, analysis of the artwork used on Enya's albums.