First, let's get the obvious out of the way - I will clearly never release anything, because I never record, any talk of alleged "progress" on my alledged "album" is merely idle speculation to pass time and will never actually come to fruition, and in short this whole thing is probably some elaborate hoax. Now that that's out of the way, however, and because it's a slow day at work...
Guys who have released stuff before - how have you handled this? Do you do it yourselves, do you hire someone else to do it? In the later case, do you come to them with a concept and have them put it together, or do you just turn it over to them, give them some general thoughts and a copy of the album, and see what they come back with? And in the former, any tips or pieces of advice to keep in mind?
I don't even have a set-in-stone album title yet, so this is probably premature, but thought I might as well get the ball rolling.
If it helps, I kind of want to do a paperboard folding digipack sort of thing (like Seanbabs' new disc, or Tom Waits' Mule Variations) rather than a typical hard case, and as far as artwork I've really dug in the past I'd say Waits' Mule Variations, Townsend's Terria, and Gordian Knot's Emergent are on the list. And of course almost anything by Porcupine Tree.
Most bands I've known to do it either do it themselves or give vague hints to a graphic designer and expect them to fill in the blanks.
This usually leads to lots of revisions and alterations. Usually to a product thats higher quality than anything they could have made themselves, but doesnt quite match the thing they didnt quite telepathically communicate.
Were I to do it, as I'm not utterly incompetent with a pencil, I'd draw something as a general idea and say 'like that but better'. Hopefully eliminate some of the back and forth.
My graphic for MDV Productions was done in the room with the designer at the time and its a simple idea, so it made it very, very efficient. I'd try to do that again if it were straightforward enough.