Hi guys! Well as I'm sure is true for all of you, I love music and I also love music packaging, so I'm going to take a look at a few of my favorite examples of creative packaging in music. I think we have a packaging project coming up... which is actually for a soft drink... but hey it kinda fits, right?
Firstly, here's a collector's package for Spiritualized's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. The regular edition of the album is themed after prescription drugs (notes in the booklet say things like "The active ingredients of of Spiritualized include..." before going on to list the band members, for example), and while not particularly attractive to see on the store shelf, is a lot of fun to flip through. The collector's edition takes things to a whole new level. Every aspect of the packaging emulates drug packaging. Each of the album's 12 tracks is on its own disc, and they are all enclosed in blister packs: the same packaging you would find over medication. Slips of paper in the package say things like "12 tablets 70 minutes" and "Please consult doctor regarding recommended dosage".
Of course, the entire package is entirely impractical. You can't listen to the album without destroying the packaging, and if you did you would have to change discs for all 12 songs. This is not meant to actually be listened to. Not to mention the fact that it's expensive to produce. While it's very unlikely that any of us will ever need to design something with complete disregard for actual use, this package is a great example of how far you can go to follow a theme and create something that feels very authentic and creative, not to mention exciting and memorable.
For something slightly more practical, let's look at Richard Skelton's albums. His music is very grassy and natural sounding, so he takes that theme and runs with it in his package design by including actual natural elements such as pressed leaves. Now, while this is an album package that people can actually use without feeling terrible about opening, it's still very impractical from a production standpoint. A very small number can be produced... after all, only a small number of people are going to end up buying it. Again, it's unlikely that any of us will end up getting hired to design something like this. However, it's a great example of how far you can go to give a project intended for limited production a personal touch... for example, your senior portfolio! Hey hey! (as I gulp nervously and think of mine being due soon...)
Lastly something that anyone can use and is reasonably practical to produce. Menomena's Friend and Foe is an album with holes in the front and back cover so that when you spin the disc in its tray or flip it over, you actually change the illustration on the cover. It's not necessary (the cover would have been really nice on its own), but it's an example of how by going a step further you can really capture people's attention and give them something that they'll remember.