Designing a 12″ by 12″ box set.

EMI are finally getting together a set of Deep Purple’s BBC Session recordings, and I’ve been hard at work putting the packaging together (which has kept my blogging time down!). As well as the standard 2CD edition, they wanted a smart 12X12 hard box set as well to house a limited edition vinyl version. Being a collector, I naturally had to make sure this ticked all the right – um – boxes.
If you saw the Bowie Station To Station box set EMI did last year, you’ll have noticed that everything in it carried exactly the same graphic. Well it’s an option. But being a glutton for punishment instead I’ve tried to make sure everything in this box looks different, while retaining some linking design elements.
Deep-Purple-BBC-Sessions-2Deep-Purple-BBC-Sessions-1Rather than a gatefold double vinyl, I designed two separate single albums (the sessions split neatly across two different eras of the group). The BBC used to issue their radio session recordings in album format (they were shipped out to foreign radio stations like this for many years) so I adapted the generic design of the old album covers for the new inner bags (having sought permission from the BBC before doing so just in case!). There is also a large LP size booklet with all the notes and information in.
The box will also have the CD version in, but rather than repeat the other design, I’ve put this into two separate card covers, with different sleeves. The graphics for these covers were inspired by vintage tape boxes from the period, which I recreated in Photoshop (I much prefer it to having to get to grips with Illustrator, and just make sure the image is way over size to get round the fact that it isn’t a vector based package).
The toughest part was actually the outer box. Initially I expected EMI to want this to look the same as the regular CD front, but they decided it should be unique. I came up with an initial quite detailed design but the feeling back at EMI was it wouldn’t work so well on a card box, and they wanted something more minimal.
Deep-Purple-BBC-sessions 68-70 box

So it was back to the drawing board, and a much simpler graphic just using the band’s faces. They had a design like this on their very first single, which many fans will know, so I generated a matching version for the other line-up, and did the titles in a seventies typeface (it used to be called Eurostyle in the old Letraset days. I seem to recall Matchbox Toys used it for a time). We’ve still got to sort out how the finished design will be printed, as we might hot-foil some elements and spot varnish others.
I couldn’t resist sneaking on a vintage EMI logo too, which adds a nice retro touch, though as it took a couple of hours to scan and clean up I began to wish I hadn’t bothered! They’ll doubtless add their current version on the back but it’s nice to see a bit of old school logo design now and again.

About simon robinson

Having worked as a graphic designer in the music industry, mainly in the reissue sector, I now concentrate on the design and publication of books about popular culture - and even write some of them.
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