Thursday, February 24, 2011

Album Cover Album: Redesigned

I recently bought a new, redesigned copy of the Album Cover Album by Storm Thorgersen and Roger Dean because my original 1977 edition was coming apart from it's glued-in spine and I found a new, hardcover copy on Amazon for $0.99.

First, The Cons:
For all it's touted redesign this book suffers slightly from it. The axiom "If it ain't broke don't fix it." applies aptly here as the original has larger images on pages with more than one cover displayed. The new editions images may seem sharper and the colors look to have been corrected (though a little too much contrast in some) but I'm at a loss as to why they were reduced in size by about 10%. The type redesign is "prettier" but less legible as the font is too light to stand out on the neutral gray background. It also baffles me that, as a book on design by designers, all the individual design credits are set so small and in an even lighter font as to render them insignificant.

And now, The Pros:
The biggest advantage this edition has over the original (which I also own, by the way) is the beautiful hardcover binding. With the old edition being a budget-minded paperbound with a glued-in spine it has long ago become separated from the cover. This new version is a sturdy sewn-in binding with matte finished board covers and a matte dust jacket with spot varnish on the images. The addition of a neutral gray background for all of the pages is an improvement as it allows the images to stand out more than the older layout with each chapter having different muted colors. There are also some additional full-bleed album images added though conspicuously absent is the original, highly controversial cover for the first Blind Faith album by Bob Seidemann of a nude teenaged girl holding an airplane model. It has been replaced with another controversial, though less so by today's standards, image from the Rolling Stones' "Sticky Fingers" LP depicting a close-up of Mick's denim clad crotch with a real zipper (closed, of course).

All said, this is worth more than the $0.99 that I paid for it on and I recommend it for anyone interested in collecting records on vinyl or for those interested in the history of 20th century graphic design.

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Blogger CHRIS R. said...

I have a cool book called Eye Of The Storm: The Album Graphics of Storm Thorgerson. I like Dean's stuff too, but in small doses, probably because I associate it with a genre of music I'll always dislike.

April 11, 2011 at 10:22 PM  

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