“Happy Birthday” a la RUSH

A big “Happy Birthday” to my brother Norman, RUSH style.

Continue reading to see how I created this Tribute-to-Norm replica of RUSH’s first album cover.

RUSH is a Canadian progressive rock band (anyone who likes their music is automatically “cool” in my book).

My brother is a big fan of their music and gave me my first RUSH CD about 14 years ago. Last year Norm took me the opening show of their Time Machine tour, front row!

It’s been great fun sharing this interest with my brother, so I’ve created this ‘album cover’ as a birthday gift to him.

Here’s the real album cover that inspired this:

Luckily there are a lot of hardcore fans out there and they’ve created a font based on this album artwork (“Sweet!” said I). You can find them here. I wanted “NORM” to resemble “RUSH” as much it could which required a lot of tweaking.

The default “O” wasn’t doing it for me, and a regular “O” was too boring for such a unique typeface. So to create a visual connection to “RUSH” I took the swirly tail from the “S” and attached it to the “O”.

Next was the “M”. Very unique on it’s own but looked like “NORTH” with the other letters. So I got creative.

Ultimately I chose the third “M” with a little more tweakage. I started with a regular “N” and stole the third ‘leg’ from the letter “H”.

The first “NORM” below is straight from the cursor without any changes. The second is the result of all my changes. Oh yes, I also lowered a corner of the serif on “N” (another visual connection).

After adding the 3D blackness (I’m so technical . . . )

Now switching over from Illustrator to Photoshop to create the background. Having in mind to use the Radial Blur filter I drew a bunch of specs, using the circle and guides to organize the specs around a common area.

Here is what the filter gave me:

“What?? You can hardly see it!” I got smart and upped the threshold level:

Yay, Threshold!! (This was only after saving it as a jpeg, however.)

The black splotches were then added with a simple round opaque brush with pen pressure.

I brought the two pieces together in InDesign and VOILA!

Happy Birthday, Norman!


7 thoughts on ““Happy Birthday” a la RUSH

  1. My son’s name is Russ and I wanted to do something similar to hang in his bedroom. As far as I can tell you’re the only person out there to attempt this. Great job! Love it.

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