David Bowie has launched a new website, designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, to coincide with the announcement of a new single and album, The Next Day.
The new davidbowie.com adopts a relatively minimal, streamlined approach, with the site divided into straightforward, easily accessible sections, organised by a header bar. There’s a lengthy David Bowie biography to be read through, as well as selected videos from the Bowie archive to peruse. Bowie’s previous website was ten years old – ancient in internet years – so Barnbrook’s work has been a complete overhaul of what was previously there.
Barnbrook explains, “We wanted to give it a completely different tone from before. This comes from Bowie being somewhat quieter. People have had the chance to be a bit more thoughtful and reflective understanding his positioning in the history of music, and it would be disingenuous to pretend he is the new rocker in town, so the site reflects that. When you are someone like David Bowie, you don’t need to shout. We wanted it to be a more definitive place to get Bowie’s creative output.”
Whilst working on the site Barnbrook had to maintain absolute secrecy, even taking phone conversations on the street so the people he worked with didn’t suspect anything.
Barnbrook also worked on the cover design for Bowie’s new album, The Next Day, which reinvents the classic Heroes album artwork.
Barnbrook explains that the reappropriation of the Heroes artwork was an attempt to create something entirely new, he says, “Normally using an image from the past means, ‘recycle’ or ‘greatest hits’ but here we are referring to the title The Next Day. 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.”
“If you are going to subvert an album by David Bowie there are many to choose from but this is one of his most revered, it had to be an image that would really jar if it were subverted in some way and we thought “Heroes” worked best on all counts.” he says. The album is also the first use of new font Doctrine, which will be released in the next few weeks at VirusFonts. Barnbrook has written more about the work on and decisions behind the The Next Day artwork over in this blogpost.
If a new website and album aren’t enough, the Bowie extravaganza will continue in March with a new Bowie exhibition at the V&A, entitled David Bowie is. The exhibition dives into the Bowie archive to select more than 300 objects for public viewing, including photography, set designs, costumes and hand-written lyrics. The V&A also promise access to never-before-seen storyboards, set lists and lyrics, alongside sketches and diary entries from the man himself. The exhibition will be at the V&A from March 23 – July 28. Check back into the CR blog nearer the time for more details.
CR in Print
The January issue of Creative Review is all about the Money – well, almost. What do you earn? Is everyone else getting more? Do you charge enough for your work? How much would it cost to set up on your own? Is there a better way of getting paid? These and many more questions are addressed in January’s CR.
But if money’s not your thing, there’s plenty more in the issue: interviews with photographer Alexander James, designer Mirko Borsche and Professor Neville Brody. Plus, Rick Poynor on Anarchy magazine, the influence of the atomic age on comic books, Paul Belford’s art direction column, Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s This Designer’s Life column and Gordon Comstock on the collected memos, letters and assorted writings of legendary adman David Ogilvy.
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