Monday, August 27, 2007

ABBA, "The Visitors" - The first CD turns 25

The compact disc celebrated its 25th birthday last week. That's an eternity in technology years. In case you were wondering, the first CD to come off the press was ABBA's "The Visitors" — off a Philips assembly line in Germany on Aug. 17, 1982, to usher in a fruitful new age of the music industry.

The disc was art directed by Rune Soderqvist. The following is a short biography for Soderqvist from the official ABBA website:

Rune Söderqvist was born in 1935. After working in the advertising business for a number of years, by the 1970s he had his own design studio. He started working with ABBA in late 1975, designing the original Swedish sleeve for their Greatest Hits album.

The following year he invented the famous ABBA logo with the backwards B. Rune’s thinking was that each B (Björn and Benny) should be turned towards each A (Agnetha and Anni-Frid) since they were two couples. Rune went on to design every subsequent album sleeve for ABBA, from Arrival in 1976 until the posthumous ABBA Live ten years later.

The title Arrival was suggested by Rune’s common-law wife at the time, Lillebil Ankarcrona. The sleeve for Super Trouper featured ABBA surrounded by dressed-up friends and acquaintances, as well as real circus performers. For The Visitors, Rune’s sleeve concept was to think of the ”visitors” as angels, which led to the group posing in front of a painting of an angel.

Rune was also the visual architect behind ABBA’s tour of Europe and Australia in 1977, and the tour of North America and Europe in 1979. After the ABBA years he has continued working as a designer, also achieving success in the field of art.

Friday, August 17, 2007

becca- Hill Design Studios

I did this design project awhile back for Nari Records...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Alexander Steinweiss - Album cover art innovator

In 1939, 23 year old Alexander Steinweiss proposed to Columbia to make a change in the presentation and packaging of the 78 RPM record albums and to use original artwork (drawings and paintings) on the covers. This new approach was quite a change if compared to the gold or silver imprint of just the nomenclature in a serif or gothic font on the black, brown or beige heavy books. The new look skyrocketed the sales of an already very popular composition. From that day on the artistic packaging became an important part of the record.

In 1948 Columbia presented the Lp format to the public. A symphony on 4 78 RPM records could now be engraved on a single disc. The new medium did not need the fat, heavy albums any longer. The standard sleeves for 78 RPM records in albums were made of light kraft paper, folded together and glued at the spine and top or bottom, reportedly with a strip folded inside the sleeve which could damage the new vinylite Lp.

Steinweiss, who had studied at Parsons School of Design (New York) and graduated in 1937, was for two years assistant to Joseph Binder, was retained as Art Director at Columbia Records in 1939, and was appointed Advertising Manager for Columbia Records in 1943. From 1943 until the end of the war he had been retained as Exhibits Engineer in the US Navy TADC (Tactical Air Direction Center). In 1945 he had settled as a free lance designer and consultant, painter and ceramist, working for a variety of companies and industries, including Columbia Records. Alexander Steinweiss was now asked to design a standard record sleeve for the new long playing record.

Steinweiss's design of the folded album cover (the fold at the spine) made of kraft (cardboard) became the standard of the industry in the USA. His basic design was soon varied upon but was in essence the same up to this day.

Text courtesy of: The Remington Site -

Friday, August 10, 2007

Asia - Roger Dean

Roger Dean is an internationally recognized artist and designer, whose evocative and visionary images with associated graphics, logos, and lettering, created a new genre of work.

Made popular through the medium of album covers and posters his work, including posters, cards, books and album covers etc., has sold in excess of sixty million copies world-wide.

He has set up and successfully run his own publishing company which published his books Views and Magnetic Storm. Views went straight to number one in the best seller lists going on to sell over a million copies.

The “Asia” album cover above that Dean did for the band, “Yes” was later voted the second most successful album cover design of all time, (after "Sergeant Pepper" ) by readers of "Rolling Stone" magazine.

You can discover more about Roger Dean on his website.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Dreamland Design

Cover illustration and design by Jilaen Sherwood of Dreamland Design

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Architecture In Helsinki - Places Like This

Architecture In Helsinki commissioned talented UK illustrator Will Sweeney to create the cover illustration for the band's newest release, "Places Like This.