Since this will be shortly released to the world we thought we would give you a first look at the CD cover of new David Bowie album The Next Day. We explained the concept for the front cover here. The reaction to it has been phenomenal. Rarely do people talk about the cover design other than ‘its nice’ and we have seen many opinions (both positive and negative) about what people think about it. We are simply very happy that people understand the importance of graphic design, the important role of the album cover and care enough to comment on it. (We do, by the way, still absolutely stand by doing it). We are also really happy that the white square has become a simple meme to symbolise the album.
David Bowie Portrait by Jimmy King
The packaging is an extension of that idea. The back features the reverse of “Heroes” with a simple undesigned track listing. The inside is even more minimal. The concept was to create difference by the absence of graphics and text. Why? In a world were we are assaulted by signs and messages urgently competing for our attention, the only way to be different is to take all that away and have a minimal calm space. In 2013, this is not easy, record companies want logos, shops want product identifiers, publishers want copyright info, but we did it (almost) – no typography except for one black on black copyright notice. The white square repeats, obscuring David Bowie’s face which is balanced by a black on black square opposite. The portrait of Bowie is finally revealed underneath when you get to the CD.
In contrast with the monochrome feeling of the packaging, included is a brightly-coloured almost psychedelic fold-out poster inside. The cover is repeated and the lyrics are treated in a completely mechanical way, with no differentiation between title, verse or even song. Instead they ares are shown as one, plodding, very long list, reflecting the notion that we all endlessly move onto The Next Day, we have no choice, that is what ‘existence’ is.