Fuel designs Dinos Chapman’s debut album

On Friday, the good folk at The Vinyl Factory dropped round a copy of the screenprinted limited edition double LP version of artist Dinos Chapman’s debut album, Luftbobler. Designed by Fuel, it’s really rather nice…

On Friday, the good folk at The Vinyl Factory dropped round a copy of the limited edition, screenprinted double LP version of artist Dinos Chapman‘s debut album, Luftbobler. Designed by Fuel, it’s really rather nice…

Fuel has collaborated with the artist duo Jake and Dinos Chapman on numerous occasions, designing books and catalogues for them, and it was at the opening of the duo’s show, End of Fun, at The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg last year that the opportunity for Fuel to design a record sleeve for Dinos arose.

“Dinos asked me if we’d like to do the design for his album last year when we were in St Petersburg for the opening of End of Fun,” recalls Fuel’s Damon Murray. “We were given a tour around the mueum by a friend of mine who is a curator there, and couldn’t fail to be impressed by Malevich’s Suprematist paintings. Dinos thought it would be nice if the album design was along those lines.”

The gatefold sleeve of the limited (to 300 copies) edition format is screenprinted on to clothbound heavy board. Each edition is signed and numbered by the artist on the inside of the gatefold (as shown below) and the package includes two 180gram vinyl discs that contain the album’s 13 tracks. It also contains a bonus one-sided vinyl disc with a bonus track.

“The [album’s] music is a rich layering of sound focussed through the prism of [Dinos’] computer and the shapes in the design felt like a natural representation of this, conveying a purity and idealism,” says Murray of the design approach.

“By choosing to screenprint onto heavy card we retained a tactile quality that the original Malevich paintings have, and were also able to bring the values we apply to our book design and publishing to a vinyl record.

“Perhaps the trickiest part of the design was the front cover logo,” reveals Murray. “This was also the element we had to come up with first, for promotional reasons. We wanted to use shape elements, as opposed to a specific typeface, but still ensure it was readable and not obviously referring to a defined era of sound or art.

“It also had to work alongside the etching Dinos was producing to be tipped in on the cover. Once we’d settled on this design we used the ‘rules’ present in the logo to establish guidelines for the remaining elements.”

“Our intention was for the rest of the type (track listings and credits) to be similarly non-referential. To achieve this we chose a ubiquitous utilitarian typeface (Ariel) and reversed it out of the colour shapes so the viewer is reading the (negative) colour more than the font itself.”

“The starting point for the labels on the records themselves (A,B,C,D) was the same typeface, abstracted into a pure shape adaptations of each letter (B shown, above). Once this language had been established we were able to adapt it for use on the rest of the formats: regular vinyl, cd, iTunes, as well as advertising, invites and dressing for the launch party.”

Also included in the limited edition gatefold vinyl package (£200, available from vfeditions.com) but not shown here are four plate copper etching artworks by Chapman, hand coloured on 300gsm Somerset Velvet white paper.


CR in print
The March issue of CR magazine celebrates 150 years of the London Underground. In it we introduce a new book by Mark Ovenden, which is the first study of all aspects of the tube’s design evolution; we ask Harry Beck authority, Ken Garland, what he makes of a new tube map concept by Mark Noad; we investigate the enduring appeal of Edward Johnston’s eponymous typeface; Michael Evamy reports on the design story of world-famous roundel; we look at the London Transport Museum’s new exhibition of 150 key posters from its archive; we explore the rich history of platform art, and also the Underground’s communications and advertising, past and present. Plus, we talk to London Transport Museum’s head of trading about TfL’s approach to brand licensing and merchandising. In Crit, Rick Poynor reviews Branding Terror, a book about terrorist logos, while Paul Belford looks at how a 1980 ad managed to do away with everything bar a product demo. Finally, Daniel Benneworth-Grey reflects on the merits on working home alone. Buy your copy here.

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