30 People to Watch – New Orleans Magazine

Diana Thornton - one of New Orleans' 30 "People to Watch"
Diana Thornton - one of New Orleans' 30 "People to Watch"

What happens once a musician is finished recording songs in the studio? In New Orleans, it’s usually a visit to Diana Thornton at Crescent Music Services on Crete Street.

Thornton and her graphics team work with some of the city’s best-known musicians, including Ellis Marsalis and Kermit Ruffins, helping them to design and produce their CDs for maximum consumer appeal.

“Packaging is the face of the CD,” says Thornton, a graphic artist and digital designer. “It is the visual presentation of the music and is often the very first impression someone has of your music.”

Thornton first came to New Orleans in 1989 to be with her great-uncle, jazz archivist Bill Russell. Although she didn’t plan to stay (she has a master’s degree in underwater archaeology), Thornton says she was captivated by the city’s music scene – and decided to make New Orleans her home.

“I enjoy helping make people’s dreams come true by guiding the process of CD production,” she says. “There’s a lot of competition out there on the shelves, so we try to create a certain intrigue with our designs.”

[Note: I received this magazine in the mail the day before I evacuated for Katrina. I left it on the counter and drove away with my critters. It was still there when I returned over a month later. Unfortunately, being one of New Orleans’ 30 people to watch in the post-katrina New Orleans didn’t mean much anymore. But I’m still around and still helping New Orleans musicians and am proud to have been recognized.]

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