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.”


Bowie at 66

Bowie at 66

In the Studio (with a banjo?)

In the Studio (with a banjo?)


The cast of video "The Stars are Out Tonight". Tilda Swinton 2nd left

The cast of video “The Stars are Out Tonight”. Tilda Swinton 2nd left

David and Tilda - separated at birth

David and Tilda – separated at birth

Promo with photo of William S. Burroughs & Bowie

Promo with photo of William S. Burroughs & Bowie

Heroes - 1977

Heroes – 1977

With wife, Iman

With wife, Iman





Posted on March 14, 2013, in Graphic Design, Music and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Marc Died in a car driven by his girlfriend and mother of his Son “Gloria Jones” although the car hit a tree it’s thought that a Concrete Pillar killed Marc – Futuristic Dragon was not the last T.REX Album before Marc Died, either that was “Dandy In The Underworld” the Album cover was one of many drawn by George Underwood, he did covers for other T.REX Albums for Elton John, and David Bowie and many others

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