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The real problem that may occur with Bowie’s album is that the design might shake more things than the music.
It is so weird when the design of the sleeve is way more interesting than the music.
By the way, which Massive Attack cover was re-hashed?


I'm not a Massive Attack fan but I think one of their albums used the previous album's artwork with other stuff added on top. I think.


Great post Richard, I had enjoyed the brave approach of both of these objects but hadn't really thought about the visual or symbolic relationship. I'd read these type of thought-pieces all day long... ramble on!

Gareth Hammond

Great post Richard. I, too, like the new Bowie album cover. Isn't it funny, though, that he's one of only a few artists that could do this and have it mean something? I mean, who would give a shit if Coldplay's next album cover had a white box covering the Parachutes cover, with the new album title written in it?

He's a lucky (brilliant?) man to have something so iconic and to be able to play with its iconic status in such a way as to get everyone talking about it.

Oh, and the new 1984 cover and is sublime.


Thanks Gareth. That's a good point. Thinking about it, I can't even think of many artists that have endured as long that could pull that off. You're right, who care even if, say, The Stones did it? I think it wouldn't mean anything. The whole thing fits his MO.

As you know I'm not a big Bowie fan but I have a respect for him and to me, this makes me feel he hasn't lost that creative edge. And that's pretty amazing.


Interesting ramblings. It works because of what the book is. By which I mean what it has come to represent, as well as what it's about.
Similarly have you seen Night Walk by Chris Yates? It's hard to tell online, but the subtitle is embossed not printed and so similarly a little bit concealed. Have a look in a bookshop.

Neil Boorman

1984 and Heroes have occupied spaces in culture for decades. Both of these designs draw a line under the time we've spent living with this content, and invite us to consider them in the context of the here and now - a kind of anti-nostalgia. And best of all, they do this with two simple black boxes. Its a rousing, triumphant reminder of the power of simple, intelligent design.

Not particularly interested in Bowie's new music. And won't read 1984 again. But i'll buy them all the same. Design works.


Really interesting, and I to had seen this connection. I've blogged about it in a wider context and mentioned your post here:


Hi Nigel,

Great blog post, I hadn't thought about a wider context but you're spot on. Not least with the suspicion that Barnbrook may have been influenced by Stezaker. It certainly validates what Barnbrook did - whether that's needed or not.

Talking of people influenced by Stezaker - if you use Instagram at all, you might be interested in Susana Blasco's images. You can see them online here: http://instagram.com/descalza/


Hi Richard, thanks for the tip, now following Susana.

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