Remember when you used to walk into a music store and it was like going into an art gallery. When you were looking for a record and not listening for one? And I know this sounds crazy, but when you’d have to wait to get home to see if it sounded as good as it looked.
What was once an insignia for the performer is pretty much history. Downloads have hung elaborate cover design out to dry. Designs today are mostly simple and it’s no wonder when the sleeve art rarely links to the music download and the cover has been reduced to the size of an iPod screen.
The next track for album design might be cinematic. An experiential album concept where you can download an art and information package and watch video, hear songs and remix art and music to your heart’s delight. Björk’s current release of a moving album cover is a testament to the direction the industry might be heading. An exhibit of the composer’s work is currently on at the MoMA in New York City and offers visual and yes, audio clues for the future.
The album covers on your left were designed by: Jeff Koons, for Lady Gaga, Damien Hirst, for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Robert Rauschenberg, for Talking Heads.