Monday 24 November 2008


Got home from work today to find the David Byrne and Brian Eno collaboration "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" laying on my doormat. I bought the download when it first came out a few months ago and forgot I'd opted for the physical copy as well. I primarily wanted the CD as well as the virtual version because Sagmeister Inc had done the artwork/packaging. The download version came with PDF artwork but these things are rarely satisfying, as Adrian Shaughnessy is fond of discussing.

Anyway, I was expecting a little more from Mr Sagmeister's studio as far as inventiveness for the download artwork. If anyone could tackle this design doldrum then Stefan should be able to realise a decent solution. Shame the print version is laid out in such a conventional way as well but this leads me to guess that it was one of Stefan's interns that worked on the piece. However, as far as the concept goes, it's dripping in irony. The so very naff 3D computer applications (3D Studio Max and the like) that generate this sort of imagery for creatively challenged architects to slap factory filters and renders on walls and other surfaces of their 'artist impressions' adds an eerie Stepford/Celebration, Florida aesthetic to all the images. This sits perfectly well with 'Home', the first track on the release. Of course, as you would expect from anything that comes out of Sagmeister Inc, the type is nice apart from the odd bit of poor kerning on the Byrne/Eno pages (which endorses my intern theory). Also, the print is a little subdued on the cover. The booklet is punchy for an uncoated stock. Either this cover is the runt of the print run or they used a different card stock to the booklet and hence the difference in ink saturation.

Anyway, less of the design diagnostic, what really struck me was the sticker on the cellophane. Great sticker. Excellent typography. Shame it's going to get ripped off and thrown away!

OK, so I appreciate it wasn't stuck directly on the cover and thus ruin the sleeve forever, but come on, I wanna keep the sticker. So a big decision followed. Do I tear the shrink wrap off to reveal the booklet and be able to listen to the superior quality of the CD over the mp3s version I downloaded, or do I leave it sealed and be content with the burnt copy I made? I fleetingly considered buying another copy but then realised that would just be too sad and decedent.

So I ripped it off. It was the only thing to do really and this is how I now know the difference in print quality between the cover and the guts.

And I'm glad I did. To touch a piece of print, to flick through a booklet, to sniff ink on uncoated stock is a much more satisfying experience than looking at a PDF on a screen.

But what to do with the sticker still sitting stuck onto the plastic wrap waiting to go into the recycling bin? Should I carefully cut out the little square of plastic it was stuck to and keep it with the CD? Or should I gingerly try peeling the sticker off, knowing that in the process I may rip it?

I took a risk.

I peeled.

It came off in one.

Now what to do with it? I didn't want to stick it onto the cover. I thought for a second or two and decided there was only one place it should go, and then thought to myself that that's where it should have been placed all along.

Oh the dilemmas of an anally retentive graphic designer and CD collector. Some one, please help me. My wife has so much to put up with!

1 comment:

Steven Ball said...

A case of "nice sticker shame about the music" I fear!