Watch the "2020 Making Vinyl Packaging Awards" Ceremony

"Making Vinyl" today announced its "2020 Packaging Awards" at a crisply executed "virtual ceremony" that you can (and should) watch. The entrants were dazzling as you will see. The larger "canvas" provided by vinyl records has attracted a crop of extremely creating artists (though there were also awards for CD and cassette packaging).

The eye catching image at the top is The Dank D-Funk Blend by Jazz Dispensary in the "Best Jazz, Classical or Spoken Word Vinyl (Non-Deluxe) LP Package" category. It didn't win. The winner was Gil Scott-Heron's We're New Again-A Reimagining by G S-H/Makaya McCraven.

mraudioguru's picture

There were some pretty cool LPs. A lot I've never heard of.

ivansbacon's picture

Album art was, and still is, responsible for a lot of vinyl records (LP's) being sold, sometimes without really knowing whether or not the music was good or not.

Many recording artists understand that the visual appeal is very important and some insisted/insist that the album art be a vital and supporting part of the whole Artistic statement of the music within the jacket.

Or that the image should be a supporting statement or metaphor for the music.

Wish you were here !

mrl1957's picture

...A&M LP 110 / SP 4110. Dolores Erickson deserves a lot of credit for that LP topping the charts in its day.

DODGE's picture

Great piece! LP covers can be so cool! I'm a sucker for an interesting cover. One of the most important advantages of a 12 inch format. (Also as I've reached retirement age, liner notes you can actually read). Just purchased The Heshoo Beshoo Group 'Armitage Road' based on the 'Abbey Road' vibe. (Also I happen to love lots of African music). I've must have bought hundreds of records based on the covers alone. Prestige & Blue Notes usually have great covers. ECM may have the most consistently beautiful / interesting covers of any label. Think Terje Rypdal's 'Waves'. On pop music, how about XTC's 'Drums and Wires' or 'Go 2'.

Inversely, I like to think of some great records that have absolutely horrible covers. Think Steely Dan's 'Can't Buy A Thrill' or Paul Simon's 'Hearts and Bones.' What were they thinking?

Can anyone else suggest some of their favorites?

rich d's picture

here's one of each. I freely acknowledge that when it comes to visual appeal one man's Monet is another man's Thomas Kinkade, but I think most folks would agree on these:

> great cover: Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols
> great album / dreadful cover: Doctor Alimantado, Best Dressed Chicken in Town

Had you asked for great covers with awful music inside we could be here all day of course.

A related endeavour which merits discussion - great packaging and marketing. This can extend well beyond the album cover. PIL's Metal Box springs to mind, as does The marketing campaign for Supertramp's Breakfast in America which included life-size waitress stand-ups, menus distributed to retail outlets etc.

Your turn.

DODGE's picture

Good one Rich! You're absolutely right about the ratio of cover to contents. HA! A great cover / great music is the original pre cut flaming lighter design of The Wailer's 'Catch A Fire' LP. Or how about Traffic's "Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys'. Weird Title. Obvious one is 'Abbey Road'. But for awful cover / great music is nearly any goofy head shot of some '70s singer/songwriter. Another awful cover / great music is Talking Head's "Naked". I think that might have won (lost) a "worst album cover" contest in some music mag in the 1990's.

Tom L's picture

...that ever got me to buy the album was Yes, "Fragile".
One look at the Roger Dean cover and I had to have it, even though I was unfamiliar with the band. I did recognize the name of Jon Anderson from his guest vocalist credit on King Crimson's "Court of the Crimson King". Fragile turned out to be fantastic, of course. "Crimson King" is another fantastic cover in all its horrible beauty.

Duke86fan's picture

I am actually really happy that so many of these awards and finalists went to video game soundtracks from companies like iam8bit and materia collective. they do a very good job with their designs and have relatively solid sounding LPs for what they are pressing, I honestly feel like Michael should try out the ape out OST (the game itself basically is you creating your own free jazz album BUT by fighting as an ape out of a prison). and for the vinyl they legit got the developer of the game to play the game and they recorded the live audio of his creation.