Design: PIL’s Metal Box

Metal Box is the second album by Public Image Ltd (John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, Jah Wobble & Kieth Levine)released in 1979 on Virgin Records. The packaging is a perfect blend of wonderful design and complete disregard to the accesability of the music. Designer Dennis Morris created the box w/ a simple embossed band logo on a brushed metal cannister. Innitially the design as John Lydon saw it was to be a blank sleeve w/ a sandpaper interior meant to instantly destroy the music when trying to remove the discs. The next stage was another sandpaper sleeve, this time on the outside which would destroy the cover of any LP filed next to it. Both ideas were obviousely rejected, but what they did come up with was a single hour long record split into 3 – 12″ singles that played approximately 10 minutes per side, forcing the listener to get up and switch the records 6 times to hear the intire LP. Next, the lyrics were printed in a magazine and not included w/ the record. The final ‘poke in the eye’ was getting the discs out of the cannister – it was near impossible as the tin was the tiniest bit too small. They were packed in tight. All-in-all a brilliant Punk display, a real ‘fuck-you’ to the consumer. The second pressings of the LP were in a more traditional gatefold sleeve – called Second Edition. Metal Box was re-released on vinyl and CD in 2006 in a new metal box. The British copies of the CD were tightly taped closed and very difficult to open – still twisting the knife 30 years on.

Metal Box opened



Posted on August 5, 2011, in Graphic Design, LPs, Music, The Art of Packaging and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: