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What do we think of the artwork for Bowies latest album?

Dave L

Well-Known Member
^Ditto: really nice idea but I think the thing that lets it down most is the typography, which I think lacks the 'undesigned' neutrality they claim to have been striving for (I would have probably stopped at the idea of having it handwritten myself). I would also read meaning into the choice of the Heroes artwork as the lyric "We could be heroes/just for one day" informing the title, The Next Day rather than the unconvincing, pseudy references to Shakespeare and Beckett.

Nice idea, okay solution, but ultimately a near-miss.

Paul Murray

Staff member
I would have probably stopped at the idea of having it handwritten myself.
I think that would have given it something. Just the original cover with white, hand-written text could have looked pretty nice. I agree that it's the typography that lets it down. It just looks so unconsidered, which it obviously isn't.


Well-Known Member
After a quick read I like the idea (although not exactly original) but the final outcome is just dreadful and I am surprised it was chosen. Anything else as a final outcome would of been better. The font just takes the piss to be frank.

Dave L

Well-Known Member
Michael Hann at The Guardian commissioned a piece on the merits of the Bowie cover and explains why (from The Guardian CiF website):

What annoys me about it is that it so completely plays into the idea of designers-as-wankers, and therefore probably does damage to the cause of good design by becoming a proxy for "the work of designers". It is hard, unless you have been a designer and can imagine the thought processes that went into it, to think anything other than: I could have done that in five minutes. And then Jonathan Barnbrook's blog reinforces the perception that this is the work of up-themselves people by making it into an act of thought that seems so far removed from the reality of "we put a white square with some text over an image you already know". I get the reasoning, but he'd have been better off saying: "This is the cover. Not my problem if you don't like it, because David does," and letting us imagine the intellectualisation.

I'm not quite with him 100 per cent (and I'm on the record as quite liking the basic [although perhaps not as original as it might appear] idea behind the cover) but there are a couple of ideas in there that express a lot of what I often feel about the so-called avant garde end of things (also cited in Paul M's opening post). I'm also convinced, having read the self-aggrandizing, pseudo-intellectual and (I have little doubt) after-the-fact exposition in the blog post that the person/team that put this together are indeed right up themselves (as is pretty much anyone who invokes terms like 'the human condition' in relation to something that's basically packaging).

One of the things I've decided I like least about all this is the fact that Barnbrook's blog has the chutzpah to suggest that one of the questions people have been asking about the design is 'What font did you use?', as opposed to the more obvious 'Why did you use that font, which I'm only interested in because I'm prepared to temporarily entertain your take on the deeper meaning of all aspects of the process by which you arrived at this design?' (Answer: 'We knocked out a slight variant on Eurostile for this highly visible gig and will be marketing it shortly').

Designers, eh? If they didn't exist, you'd have to draw up a long list of exclusions before you started the process of inventing them...
I Like the premise but the execution is terrible, however it could be bad intentionally knowing bowie and there for it would be ironically bad, but that would still not make it a good piece of work. whether Bowie likes it or not and, as I keep telling loads of my clients, its your customers who need to like it. Again it's a good idea but the design is a little shoddy. it's a good album though :)