The current issue of CR features The Annual, showcasing the best work of the past year. Nine projects have been chosen for our Best in Book section, the ultimate accolade. We will feature each of them in a series of posts this week. First up, the Designers Republic’s steel-encased CD for Autechre
CR May issue, incorporating The Annual
The selection of this special edition of Autechre’s ninth album, Quaristice, as one of our Best in Books has taken on an added significance with the recent demise of the Designers Republic. The Sheffield-based studio, which closed earlier this year, had a long-standing and fruitful relationship with the Warp label.
Released in March 2008, this ‘deluxe two CD version’ of the Quaristice album, limited to just 1,000 copies, comes housed in a photo-etched steel slipcase. Said slipcase is die-cut so that the minimal graphics within are revealed. Inside it, a gatefold card wallet holds not just the 20-track album, but also an extra CD with 11 different versions of selected tracks from the album.
The overall effect is as much sculpture as music packaging, underlining the fact that, in this digital age, the album sleeve is still capable of enormous appeal. From the judges’ point of view, this was a deciding factor in making it one of the Best in Book projects this year – to celebrate something physical and beautifully crafted in a sector shifting irrevocably toward the digital. Although the judges were not told who was behind the project, its selection also provided a fitting finale to one of the most important and productive design studio/record label partnerships.
Entrant/Client: Warp Records.
Design/Art Direction: made in The Designers Republic™.
Production: James Burton, Warp Records.
Steel case etching: Precision Micro.
Print: St Ives Crayford