Charlotte Rivers
Street: 11.02.03


Charlotte Rivers had an unusual number of challenges when she chose to write a book about CD design: The writing had to be solid and interesting. The layout of the book had to be foxy, but could not overstep its role as a subtle cradle for the CD art showcased in its 160 pages. She had to establish a network of contacts. Most daunting of all, she had to define cool. Somehow the job was done. The book is richly laden with detailed photography of CD packaging which ranges from the traditional jewel case to wood and metal enclosures to acrylic plates that screw together. There are several interviews with designers and record company executives, covering everything from strategies for creating powerful design to the politics of artistic integrity vs. marketability. My favorite quote comes from Stephen Byram, who works for Sony USA, but also designs for NY label Screwgum and German label Winter & Winter: “I wish that the music business would stop seeing the fast-food industry as a role model.” HALLE-fucking-LUJAH. The thing I admire most about this book is that the author breaks down the components and dimensions of alternative packaging into concepts that anyone can utilize. The number of sudden explosive ideas you may get from this volume are limited only to your imagination. –Spendleton