21 Jul

Music box

Chermayeff & Geismar Collection: Box 19, Folder 4, Gramavision CD packaging, 1989.

The longbox has gone the way of the cassette tape, but from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s the CD packaging format, at 6” x 12”, was a happy medium, from a design perspective, between the large blank canvas of the LP sleeve and the entirely inadequate cassette box insert. The shape worked well for music retailers, who found the rectangular box easy to store, but environmental and economic concerns on the part of record labels and artists eventually led to its demise. Chermayeff & Geismar used the size to its fullest advantage, with bright, austere designs that interpret the jazz and avant-garde music of Kazumi Watanabe, John Carter and the Arditti String Quartet.