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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 firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Bloomington, IN. More…

blogs we publish

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.

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products we sell

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Prints / A variety of posters, the majority from our AIforGA series.

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events we organize

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