Major transitions in Music packaging design: singles (7″ sleeve) to LPs (12″ sleeve), then condensing the design down to a MC (cassette), then migrating to CD booklets… and now? Some kind of virtual package! Something you download together with the music. A PDF perhaps, a PowerPoint presentation, a Quicktime file, a web-based Flash presentation? Could be partly animated. Should contain all of the information traditionally included: credits, thank-yous, tech data etc. Information on the performers could be hyper-linked to their email addresses or photos. Name of the studio could link to a photo-set on Flickr. Very interesting possibilities. I spoke to a designer last week who mentioned that the very students who are in design school and want to learn how to design a CD booklet own no CDs themselves and prefer to keep their music on iPods and computer. Why learn a dead trade?
PS: I myself am looking forward to designing for this new medium. There is only so much space for information and pictures in a small CD booklet! When a booklet has many pages it becomes difficult to remove it from the jewel case without tearing. And does it really matter whether you look at a cover printed by some professional printer that came with a CD you bought, or whether you print your own – or take it to somebody like Kinko for example? Buying a CD is no more personal than buying a file, IMO. The integrity of an artist’s vision is completely intact with the downloaded music and artwork. You can listen to “my” track sequence or create your own. You can look at the artwork on your computer or you can print it out. The difference between that and the traditional CD is no larger than the difference between the CD and the LP… IMO.
PPS: I don’t think I expressed the irony of the situation in my original post. See, the designer was teaching and this particular course covered how to design a CD booklet. The teacher asked the students to bring examples of cover art they liked from their CD collection – NONE of them had CDs! That’s funny, right?