Black Star

I was going to write this blog post last week about record cover design, it is something that as a studio we have been involved with. Mr.Seventy-three does a sideline in publishing vinyl too, we are a little obsessed.

Obviously, the World has changed now, the beautiful David Bowie is no longer with us. But as this is design related I have decided to carry on with the post.

I am a huge fan of vinyl, and with the quality of vinyl the main focus these days (nice heavy 180g – not the recycled wobbly rubbish of the 1980s) it is not a cheap way to buy your music. So, generally a lot of attention is paid to the packaging and graphic design.

I had pre-ordered David Bowie’s Black Star sometime last year. At £23 it is not the cheapest thing, but it is hardly a risk as it is a Bowie piece. The packaging really lets you know you have a quality product in your hands. It is great piece of graphic design.

When I get my new vinyl, I save splitting open the protective shrink wrap until I can truly savour it. A quick, gentle slice down the side and I am in. It’s all very exciting. And yes, I do always sniff the record, it’s part of the ritual.

The plain soft sheen black sleeve with the spot UV and die cut is so simple it is stunning. Through the star cut out on the front you get a glimpse of the product inside. It’s all very tantalising.

Inside there is minimal colour and the UV continues. The accompanying booklet has a matt laminate cover and lots of spot UV throughout.

The typography is lovely too, lyrics are laid out like constellations.

What a lovely portfolio piece for the designer. It was always going to be great, I mean, a Bowie cover! But now it is his last cover. Everything he did was so considered, part of the art, he obviously loved this cover. I’m very jealous.

I’m so glad I pre-ordered it.

Update

Mmmm paper!

I love paper. No scrap that, I am OBSESSED with paper! It is a beautiful ancient art form, which is often overlooked and then the biggest insult (shhhhhh) it is put in the bin (gasp)!

It often gets ruined by having terrible design printed on it. Poor paper, it doesn’t often get treated well. And we won’t start on the trees!

GF Smith are a paper mill who I really admire. They do the lovely Colorplan range, which comes in lots of colours, textures and weights. Amazing for letterpress jobs!

They have made a video. Watch it, it shows all the care that goes into delivering their products.

A good reason to design

When I decided to become a graphic designer it wasn’t the lure of the sexy office with huge household brands to work on that I found attractive, oh no it was the smell of the ink on paper. With the digital age in full swing it can be easy to forget print, but I think it has more impact now than it ever did.

In the same way that vinyl records have made a huge come back, print gives you something tangible. And ultimately we love new stuff to hold, and imagine if it was on a textured stock with an emboss or varnish.

Gives you chills doesn’t it? Or maybe that is just me…