We find ourselves square in the middle of one of the greatest periods in music packaging. Events such as Record Store Day have pushed collectible packaging back to the cultural forefront; millennials have started buying physical records; and hip clothing outlets devote massive amounts of space to record players and racks of LPs. The designers collected here are at the forefront of this movement. Some have been working in the music industry for decades, while others are fresh on the scene. They all share a desire to elevate the simple record cover and the wrapping that surrounds these products into something more, something special, something unique, something memorable. Lifelong music fans, they pour every ounce of creative energy into coming up with solutions worthy of the music inside. They also need to be inventive in how they accomplish this. Coming up with a great concept in a sketch during a meeting and actually seeing it to fruition and sitting on a shelf in a record store are two different things. As Paula Scher details in her interview, today's designers are faced with a very different task than the record sleeve designers of the past. Outside of the mega stars, budgets are more or less non-existent, yet the pressure to deliver something jaw-dropping and mind-blowing remains. Packed with innovative artworks by one-of-a-kind designers, this is the definitive guide to album cover design in the 21st century.
- John Foster