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BROWSE


Lead Image

German Army’s Taushiro Records and Packaging

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Production Method

Hot stamp

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Design

Sightlab Media Research

Art direction and design: Thomas Dudley
Outer sleeve layout: Dianne Lynn

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Printing

Pirate Press

Tasked with creating an esoteric package using Flexi discs—common in the 1960s and ’70s as a way of distributing records in newspapers and magazines—Brooklyn designer Thomas Dudley presents a decoder ring style system that is only readable when the two discs interact in the perfect way. 

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Client

Weird Ear Records


Quantity Produced

500


Production Cost

$1,900


Production Time

6 Weeks

Dimensions (Width × Height × Depth)

7 × 7 in.


Page Count


Paper Stock

Molded transparent vinyl in red and blue


Number of Colors

Varnishes


Binding


Typography

Gotham Bold
Chalet Comprime Milan 1960 & Cologne 1960

This piece is available for purchase for $10



German Army's <em>Taushiro</em> Records and Packaging
German Army's <em>Taushiro</em> Records and Packaging
German Army's <em>Taushiro</em> Records and Packaging
German Army's <em>Taushiro</em> Records and Packaging
German Army's <em>Taushiro</em> Records and Packaging
German Army's <em>Taushiro</em> Records and Packaging
German Army's <em>Taushiro</em> Records and Packaging
German Army's <em>Taushiro</em> Records and Packaging ---

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Project Description

Oakland, CA record label Weird Ear Records came to me with an upcoming release they thought I would enjoy - a dark, hypnotic noise/sound collage album by German Army titled "Taushiro" (a near-extinct language spoken by a tiny population of people in Ecuador). The brief from Weird Ear was that they wanted to produce the record on two double-sided Flexi discs - those cheap floppy (or flexi!) lo-fi plastic records that used to occasionally come bound in magazines, and they would like it to be "esoteric". And that was it.

Label owners Raub and Dianne are some of my favorite clients: simultaneously hands off AND incredibly generous with solid, honest critique. The album is at times abrasive, sometimes soothing - to me it sounded clinical but dirty, full of tension and obscured objects. Those circular loops and cheap clinical feelings fermented into charts and taxonomies. Looking at specs and samples from the record production house, we got excited about the possibilities of the thin, transparent colored plastics.

One of the clearest images I kept returning to were the old proportional calculators used in graphic arts reproduction before photoshop and illustrator: round plastic decoders with rings of numbers and windows revealing information. Stewed with military technical marking, cheap east German industrial design, information oppression in that kind of society (people in communist states would smuggle and trade western music, rock and jazz cut into soft plastic sheets like x-rays, which the flexis nicely reference) and cryptography brought me back around to the theme of obscured, dying language.

Embracing the credit/track text, I wanted to make it necessary to disrupt the visual communication on the records: like a decoder ring, each disc only has a scattering of the letters that make up the whole. When the records are held together, the album title and track listing can only be read at certain angles - line up the bracket on disc A with the SIDE C marking on disc B, and the track names of side C resolve, while the other track and album information is disordered. Small hashmarks around the text move and shift when lit with a strobe while the record is played. The colors change depending on which disc is on "top" - place the blue disc on top, the yellow print on the red record below comes through green, against the white print of the blue disc.

It is a changeable, interactive object that (for me) just touches the intent of the real work of the recording. Which is my favorite thing about designing for record and book covers: you are making a companion piece, which needs to allure and reference without overshadowing the work. Finding and exploiting that connective thread between the visual element and the music is a treat.

Production Lesson(s)

The original idea was to arrange the information so that depending on the opposing angles (at 90-degree increments) the square records were stored at, those severe angles would revel the text. There is arithmetic involved in working this out, but for the most part at 180 degrees, things either get in the way or line up again. Argh. After puzzling over it for too long, I settled for the smaller angles. Which actually makes the records more fun to rotate, in the end.

I have so much nostalgia for flexi discs: Nothing seemed cooler when I was a kid than finding a PLAYABLE RECORD tucked into our newspaper or a magazine. I wanted to include a "tape penny here" spot. You have to weigh the very thin discs down a bit, or the needle will catch the groove and hold the lightweight record in place. Listeners with heavy tone arms will just have to decide where to tape that coin themselves, unguided. ”

Post Author

Author Picture

Kelly Cree

Writer for UnderConsideration LLC.

More: Online / On Twitter

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Date Published

July 29, 2015

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Filed Under

Hot stamp
Music Packaging

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UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Austin, TX. More…


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