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Lead Image

Ethel’s “Heavy” CD Packaging


Production Method




Mark Kingsley



Paper: Aardvark Letterpress
Disc production and printing: Ross Ellis

Brooding colors, fancy line work and ornate patterns letterpressed with precision succeed in making Heavy, heavy. But there is no dark without light, evidenced by the cheeky black-on-black bar code joke on the back cover. Encore! 




Quantity Produced


Production Cost

$4.00 per piece

Production Time

3 months

Dimensions (Width × Height × Depth)

7 in × 7 in

Page Count

Paper Stock

Muscletone Speckletone Black 140 cover / DUPLEXED Classic Linen Red Pepper 80 cover

Number of Colors

1-color per item





This piece is available for purchase for $14.79 + Shipping

Ethel - Heavy
Ethel - Heavy
Ethel - Heavy
Ethel - Heavy
Ethel - Heavy
Ethel - Heavy

A less than pretty sticker with a properly contrasted barcode.


Recent Posts



Project Description

Ethel is America's premiere new music string quartet. It had been six years since their last album "Light." So the album title HAD to be "Heavy." Thus the application of the Spinal Tap initiative: a black on black cover. With calligraphic flourishes to counter.

Since new music string quartets don't really get that much press, a special package was in order. This way a casual mention in an interview, the odd size displayed in a store, and other interstitial moments encourage actually buying the physical product. Letterpress was the only printing method that could both feel special in the audience's hand and reproduce the fine linework.

Printing the UPC code black-on-black was a joke on futility and a nod to the gradual decline of record stores. But that possibility of a retail experience (no matter how slim) is why we stickered it over the shrinkwrap.

Production Lesson(s)

There is a standard workflow -- printing, binding, disc manufacture, assembly -- which creates a standardized product which can fit in standardized distribution channels. In stepping outside into letterpress, we had to recreate this workflow, which added estimation and production time.”

Post Author

Author Picture

Jessica Mullen

Writer for UnderConsideration LLC.

More: Online / On Twitter


Date Published

April 25, 2012


Filed Under

CD Packaging


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About UnderConsideration

UnderConsideration is a graphic design enterprise that runs a network of blogs, publishes books, organizes live events and judged competitions, and designs for clients.


Brand New / Displaying opinions and focusing solely on corporate and brand identity work.

Art of the Menu / Cataloguing the underrated creativity of menus from around the world.

Quipsologies / Chronicling the most curious, creative, and notable projects, stories, and events of the graphic design industry on a daily basis.

Speak Up (2002 – 2009) / Discussing, and looking for, what is relevant in, and the relevance of, graphic design. Archives Only.

Word It (2003 – 2010) / Encouraging creative diversity in the community through monthly, one-word challenges. Archives Only.

Brand New Classroom (2010 – 2011) / Providing a space for critique and opinions on student identity workArchives Only.

graphic design

Department of Design / Designing corporate and brand identities and full development of printed and digital matter for clients.


The 2010 FPO Awards / 2011, self-published.

The 2010 Brand New Awards / 2011, self-published.

Flaunt: Designing effective, compelling and memorable portfolios of creative work / 2010, self-published.

Events & Judged Competitions

Brand New Conference / A one-day event on the development of corporate and brand identity projects by some of today’s most active and influential practitioners from around the world.

Brand New Awards / Celebrating the best identity work produced around the world.

FPO Awards / Celebrating the best print work from around the world.


Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design / 2009, Rockport.

Women of Design: Influence and Inspiration from the Original Trailblazers to the New Groundbreakers / 2008, HOW Books.

The Word It Book: Speak Up Presents a Gallery of Interpreted Words / 2007, HOW Books.

The End