The Thin White Duke's New Clothes... Literally

  • The Thin White Duke's New Clothes... Literally
    POSTED May 07 2013

    Around the time of the (rather ordinary) Bowie album fervour I remember reading a piece about the artwork which was a bit controversial.

    Some people seemed happy to accept that the sleeve was some kind of statement (if it’s Bowie it must be cleverer than we think…) but I just couldn’t see it.

    Although the designer (Jonathan Bambrook) had a justification that belonged well on pseuds corner I felt:

    “We know it is only an album cover with a white square on it but often in design it can be a long journey to get at something quite simple which works and that simplicity can work on many levels – often the most simple ideas can be the most radical.”

    He went on to say they had tried a lot of different ways of covering the sleeve up! I’m sure he billed accordingly.

    I must say in retrospect I can’t see anything radical about it at all. It’s just a white square on top of the iconic “Heroes” sleeve isn’t it? And as such fails totally in the same way other such clever comments on “marketing” like Hard Fi’s “Once Upon A Time” did.

    And as such it is a disappointment from one of the all time kings of image manipulation.

    But then so’s the album. Isn’t it?

    So maybe its cleverer than you think.
     

     

    BTW – if you think I’m wrong you can buy the very expensive special t-shirt pictured above on which David Bowie & Paul Smith (2 great designers) collaborate to promote a not very good design. Still looks a bit shite to me though… Like someone just went and put a white square across your favourite Heroes T shirt.

     

    -Tony H

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Submitted by Site Factory admin on Wed, 08/05/2013 - 00:57

Around the time of the (rather ordinary) Bowie album fervour I remember reading a piece about the artwork which was a bit controversial.

Some people seemed happy to accept that the sleeve was some kind of statement (if it’s Bowie it must be cleverer than we think…) but I just couldn’t see it.

Although the designer (Jonathan Bambrook) had a justification that belonged well on pseuds corner I felt:

“We know it is only an album cover with a white square on it but often in design it can be a long journey to get at something quite simple which works and that simplicity can work on many levels – often the most simple ideas can be the most radical.”

He went on to say they had tried a lot of different ways of covering the sleeve up! I’m sure he billed accordingly.

I must say in retrospect I can’t see anything radical about it at all. It’s just a white square on top of the iconic “Heroes” sleeve isn’t it? And as such fails totally in the same way other such clever comments on “marketing” like Hard Fi’s “Once Upon A Time” did.

And as such it is a disappointment from one of the all time kings of image manipulation.

But then so’s the album. Isn’t it?

So maybe its cleverer than you think.
 

 

BTW – if you think I’m wrong you can buy the very expensive special t-shirt pictured above on which David Bowie & Paul Smith (2 great designers) collaborate to promote a not very good design. Still looks a bit shite to me though… Like someone just went and put a white square across your favourite Heroes T shirt.

 

-Tony H

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