Design: The Best Cover in Years – David Bowie’s ‘The Next Day’
David Bowie turned 66 on January 8th and released his first LP in 10 years on March 13th – a cause for celebration. One of the things that make it so special is the cover – a simple rework of his 1977 LP, Heroes – or so it would seem. This type of artwork might suggest a greatest hits or a remastered version of the earlier album. Not the case at all. This is a totally new work and is fantastic. No need for a review, it’s the cover were talking about. This is so simple and so potentially misguided, it’s amazing that it works, and it does.
Artist Jonathon Barnbrook explains – “The Heroes cover obscured by the white square is about the spirit of great pop or rock music which is ‘of the moment’, forgetting or obliterating the past.”
“However, we all know that this is never quite the case, no matter how much we try, we cannot break free from the past. When you are creative, it manifests itself in every way – it seeps out in every new mark you make (particularly in the case of an artist like Bowie).”
“We worked on hundreds of designs using the concept of obscuring this cover but the strongest ones were the simplest – it had to be something that was in direct contrast to the image underneath but that wasn’t too contrived (we know all design is contrived, that is the essence of the word ‘design’).”
“It would have been clearer to many people if we had scribbled all over the cover but that didn’t have the detachment of intent necessary to express the melancholy of the songs on the album. Yes, having said all this, we know it is only an album cover with a white square on it but… often the most simple ideas can be the most radical.”