Music and design


Music and design have a strong relationship, perhaps because of the strong emotional responses that each evoke in people. Think of your favourite album and you’ll most likely think immediately of the record sleeve design – something which is unfortunately becoming more and more obsolete as MP3 downloads take over.

It is therefore most refreshing to see that some musicians, and even their publishing companies, taking design, and the importance of the package, seriously. Most notably of course is the manner in which Radiohead packaged their recent release In Rainbows. Yes, it was a self-publishing venture, but they showed yet again, how much importance they place in design. Third, the latest from Portishead has been packaged in a similar manner, with buyers of the double vinyl also getting all the songs on a specially designed USB stick, a limited (and sold out) 12 inch release of their song Machine Gun, and, a limited edition print.

On CR Blog there is an interview with Jason Pierce from the band Spiritualized and his designer, Mark Farrow. In the interview they speak of the respect they have for one another, and the importance they see in designing an appropriate and beautiful package for the music they release. Because, as Adrian Shaughnessy says on the Design Observer Blog: “an audio file with a thumbnail JPEG of the album cover will never have the resonance — not to mention the commercial value — of a well-made piece of packaging.” Here here.

Detail from Spiritualized’s latest album, Songs in A&E.

Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space (Dedicated, 1997)


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