Do you have a design or have you seen something that should be on Hard Format? If so, please email me at hardformat.org@gmail.com. Also, please don’t hesitate to suggest something that’s missing, propose a themed collection or suggest some way that Hard Format can be improved. You can leave a comment here, on one of the posts, email me or reply to a tweet.  You can also follow me on Twitter or friend me on Last.fm.

The best way to keep up to date with Hard Format is to:

All the best, Colin.


  1. Hello!

    Great blog. I love the focus on “the package” in music!

    Seen this one from Rune: http://www.runegrammofon.com/artists/various/rcd-2072—various_-money-will-ruin-everything-2?

    Or this one from Robert Waytt (Domino): http://www.dominorecordco.com/uk/reissues/29-09-08/eps–x5-cds-clam-shell-box-set/?

    Best Wishes

    Comment by Svenn Sivertssen — January 4, 2009 @ 11:40 am
  2. Hello Svenn, I’ve definitely got my eye on MWRE2, just saving up the pennies! Hadn’t seen the Wyatt box before, can’t tell how lovely the packaging is from that link, but will investigate further. Wyatt is one of those artists I’ve never quite got into, to my shame, but maybe now’s the time. Many thanks for the suggestions.

    Comment by colin — January 5, 2009 @ 11:05 pm
  3. Hello again

    I bought it the last time around. Here are the covers at least, (might not be your style at all of course): http://www.flickr.com/photos/makarellos/1106259791/in/set-72157600297034101/


    Comment by Svenn Sivertssen — January 6, 2009 @ 8:11 pm
  4. Thanks for that Svenn, they do look lovely – one to add to the list!

    Comment by colin — January 7, 2009 @ 12:56 pm
  5. dear hard format, great site, have been enjoying it very much, i saw here:
    that you might be interested in our colin andrew sheffield signatures: http://theartofmemory.blogspot.com/2008/12/broken-light-early-appearance-heard-in.html
    let me know if you want some images.

    Comment by invisible birds — January 13, 2009 @ 10:26 pm
  6. Thanks for that and glad you like the site, Simon is going to do a post about your release soon.

    Comment by colin — January 14, 2009 @ 10:19 am
  7. One of my all time favorites because of the simplicity of it.

    Boards of Canada – Trans Canada Highway EP


    Another good one, the wrapper was even scratch and sniff

    MF Doom – Mmm…Food

    Comment by Tofuik — January 16, 2009 @ 10:39 am
  8. On a few occasions in the past I’ve really enjoyed looking through the archives here: you’ve posted some wonderful designs: it’s great what you’re doing with this site.

    And, in case you don’t already know, HARD FORMAT is the subject of a Metafilter post, which will bring some additional visitors to your site, I’m sure.


    Comment by Samm Bennett — January 16, 2009 @ 11:28 pm
  9. Hello Samm, really glad you like the site and thanks for letting us know about the Metafilter mention which I didn’t know about.

    Comment by colin — January 17, 2009 @ 11:07 am
  10. Good site & inspiring work!

    Interesting article I read yesterday about Jeff Jank at Stones Throw who has been doing a series of album covers for Madlib over the years which are literally decomposing:

    Comment by Caps — January 23, 2009 @ 6:32 pm
  11. Wow – they’re incredibly beautiful! Thanks very much for posting that link. I’m going to feature it on the news section, if you want me to update your name from Caps, let me know. Cheers.

    Comment by colin — January 23, 2009 @ 8:56 pm
  12. Caps is it! (Sort of.) And you’re welcome!

    Comment by Caps — January 24, 2009 @ 8:40 am
  13. The Numero Group have fantastic covers and packaging for their CDs .A joy to collect.


    Comment by Tim Jackson — January 30, 2009 @ 7:24 pm
  14. Thanks I’ll check them out.

    Comment by colin — January 31, 2009 @ 7:56 pm
  15. The only reason why I would ever buy a CD/DVD/etc. would point to just one thing: the artwork; and the works shown here just reaffirms that I am rather normal. Hah! :)

    Comment by Victoria — March 22, 2009 @ 12:34 pm
  16. Ah, and my bad; there’s no www in my url. :\ God knows why I put them in!

    Comment by Victoria — March 22, 2009 @ 12:35 pm
  17. Some of my favorite album artwork

    Comment by Sean Reardon — March 22, 2009 @ 5:37 pm
  18. Hi,

    Love the idea, and the stuff on here is great – Just wanted to suggest Tool, 10,000 Days as an incredible piece of music design – it includes a pair of glasses so that you can see the interior of the booklet as 3D images – but not the red/blue tints, as a full colour image. The idea that they’ve gone to that extent with a CD package (and that they managed to convince the record company that it was a good idea) is incredible. Check it out!

    Comment by Ed — March 25, 2009 @ 11:23 am
  19. I’m aware of the release, hadn’t got round to checking it out physically. Most of the designs on here relate to music we like and neither of us listen to Tool. But we will check it out eventually, thanks for the tip

    Comment by colin — March 31, 2009 @ 5:09 pm
  20. have you checked out the lovely parcel series at dynamophone..?

    Comment by [antonymes] — April 25, 2009 @ 8:50 am
  21. I’ve not seen their work, but sincere thanks for the heads up – I’ve just emailed them.

    Comment by Colin — April 25, 2009 @ 9:58 am
  22. Great site, I always felt that design for music was at the cutting edge of what we do. It’s great to see so much of it in one spot. I now teach design and use album/cd artwork to introduce the history of graphic design to my students. I haven’t looked through your whole site but do you have 8VO’s work for The Durutti Column?

    I teach with a guy, Christopher Murphy who runs his own label and has had his cover designs published in a number of books, might be worth checking out his work: http://www.fallt.com

    Comment by Paul McCormack — April 27, 2009 @ 5:25 pm
  23. Hey, Just stubled on your site and I think It’s awsome. I always love having hard copies of CD’s with the artwork and all.

    An Album that I know of (And couldn’t find on your site) is “Friend and Foe” By Menomena. The CD case has a bunch of cut outs in it and the CD itself is a secret Decoder ring. By rotating the CD, you accually change The image of the front cover. The Artwork is done by Craig Thompson.

    Hope I’ve helped you out, and i’m interested to see if you add it to your Archive.

    Comment by Rick — May 17, 2009 @ 9:18 pm
  24. Hello Rick, thanks for the recommendation – I just Google’d it and it does look like an excellent design. However the same Google search revealed that it’s already been covered in depth on Sleevage so we won’t post about it again here. Thanks anyway!

    Comment by Colin — May 17, 2009 @ 10:06 pm
  25. hi-
    Don’t know WHERE to begin- as an artist who de3signs covers, books etc-and with a collection of thousands of 12″- a cover junkie for sure.
    I’d like much to submit to you my new cd, out on PARVOART in Germany (www.parvoart.org) for your, err, ‘curiosity’…speaking of curious, my museum, the MUSEE VACHE’ is on my MySpace page.AND, on the stephenspera.com are some cd designs and photos of everyone from the Fall to Sun Ra…(also a few in my Facebook…sigh)
    Thanks so much for your work! I wish I knew cheaper, more dependable webhosts for you. I use cheap ones, but….
    All very best from the Universe of Manhattan
    S t e p h

    Comment by stephen spera — May 21, 2009 @ 9:21 pm
  26. Just to say what a fantastic job you’re doing, this site is truly a valuable resource and a joy to browse. Keep up the great work!


    Comment by Huw — May 22, 2009 @ 10:00 am
  27. Steph – many thanks, email us at hardformat.org@gmail.com

    Huw – it seems to be in the nature of the site that we don’t get many comments on posts (or maybe we’re doing something wrong!) Each post is a lot of work what with the sourcing, research, photography, post-processing and writing up, so your thanks really are appreciated and encouraging.

    Comment by Colin — May 23, 2009 @ 8:14 am
  28. Hi,

    I’ve been reading your blog regurlarly and wanted to say i find it a fantastic source of inspiration.

    I also thought you may be interested in the design work from the Australian Label Preservation http://www.preservation.com.au. I have a couple of there albums and i believe they are more than worthy of a post on here. The typographic sleeves are particularly interesting as well as the unique folding poster CD packages (An A1 poster folded to the size of a cd)


    thanks alot

    Comment by Jack Alexander — June 6, 2009 @ 9:28 pm
  29. On the Warp-records label website I found a link to this flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/littlepixel/sets/72157594269138651/) where a guy turned some classic CD covers into worn down pocket book covers. Reminded me of your Kruder & Dorfmeister post.

    Keep up the sublime

    Comment by Joep — June 10, 2009 @ 10:12 am
  30. Thanks Joep, yes we’ve seen this, it’s a nice little project. I commented on the Flickr page that he should get really recursive and do a Ghost Box Pelican cover!

    Comment by Colin — June 12, 2009 @ 12:01 pm
  31. Hello Jack, thanks for the recommendation, I’ll have a look. It’s good to know that the packages are folded like that – the image on the website makes it less interesting if you assume it’s just a flat design.

    Comment by Colin — June 12, 2009 @ 12:02 pm
  32. Hallo Hardformat, an addition to your new ECM-Designer-Page. There will be a new ECM-(Cover)-Book in September 2009 : http://www.springer.com/birkhauser/architecture+&+design/book/978-3-03778-157-9

    Comment by Thomas — June 29, 2009 @ 9:51 am
  33. Thanks for the heads up Thomas, just to note that book is from 1990-something onwards and doesn’t cover the earlier designs.

    Comment by Colin — July 1, 2009 @ 8:01 pm
  34. check out the fushitsusha’s double album on PSF (PSF3-4). vinyl’s long out of print, but the cd is a black gatefold sleeve.

    it’s my favorite cd in terms of packaging, even among my raster-noton and dust-to-digital records.

    Comment by ballyhoo — August 7, 2009 @ 7:07 pm
  35. Hello Ballyhoo, thanks for the recommendation – do you fancy doing a guest post about it?

    Comment by me — August 7, 2009 @ 9:27 pm
  36. thanks for the offer. unfortunately, my copy is a bit worn. i highly recommend the record though! if you’re ever in tokyo check out modern music/psf; it’s a shoebox filled with great japanese psych/noise and sundry rare LPs.

    Comment by ballyhoo — August 11, 2009 @ 12:31 am
  37. Worn is no problem to Hard Format – in fact it may even be a bonus – see our first ever post

    Comment by me — August 11, 2009 @ 9:22 am
  38. amazing site!!!

    Comment by SER — September 6, 2009 @ 1:46 pm
  39. Will you do my album packaging?

    Comment by tony kevin — September 10, 2009 @ 12:21 am
  40. I wanted to recommend Stunned Record’s work. They put out tapes and while not all of them are quite there, I am particular fond of the collage-series that they go through with some of their releases. http://stunnedrecords.blogspot.com

    And, also, the cassettes themselves are imprinted with glorious illustrations. You really have to hold one of them in your hands to appreciate it.

    Comment by steve — October 3, 2009 @ 3:57 am
  41. Thanks a lot Steve, we’ll check them out.

    Comment by Colin — October 4, 2009 @ 11:03 am
  42. Guys,

    YOU NEED to post this!
    Unboxing of the Pixies’ MInotaur box set. Mine is yet to arrive but I found this flying around the net:

    Credit goes to the Frank Black forum user Minotaur.

    One word: Awesome.

    Mr Oliver deliver again.

    Comment by Jose — November 13, 2009 @ 8:34 pm
  43. Hi!

    Just found this photo of Muslimgauze “Nadir of Purdah” package made by Rico Tijsen: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ricotijsen/2558319052/ Looks great, Isn’t it? )))) I did this design for my old label. It was handmade digipack strictly limited to 200 copies….. Curious what do you think on this topic?

    Thank you!

    Comment by Oleg — November 16, 2009 @ 11:24 pm
  44. Lovely design Oleg!

    Comment by Colin — November 21, 2009 @ 4:59 pm
  45. I just found your site and am very glad you did. If musicians want to get into the limited edition marketplace with what they sell to fans, creating great art is going to need to be part of the process.

    Comment by Suzanne Lainson — December 5, 2009 @ 10:17 pm
  46. I’ve been looking for exactly what Hard Format provides!

    Comment by David — January 14, 2010 @ 8:00 pm
  47. detail hi-res photo od packaging of Manafon can be found here:


    Comment by Alexander Pieri — January 23, 2010 @ 12:02 pm
  48. I love the website – do you think you will cover the Kraftwerk laptop design?

    Comment by Amy — April 13, 2010 @ 12:37 pm
  49. Hi.
    Ive just discovered your site and have spent a happy couple of hours viewing the amazing images and write-ups (and being suprised at how many of these release i own!).

    I was equally suprised that you haven’t covered the wonderful ‘Life without bombardment’ vinyl box set by Eluvium, someone has photos of it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/justinandelise/sets/72157614431252783/

    It is truely beautiful and takes pride of place in my large collection!! I would be happy to write something about it, or send photos if you wanted to feature it.


    Comment by Philip — May 10, 2010 @ 3:09 pm
  50. hi- Don’t know WHERE to begin- as an artist who de3signs covers, books etc-and with a collection of thousands of 12″- a cover junkie for sure. I’d like much to submit to you my new cd, out on PARVOART in Germany (www.parvoart.org) for your, err, ‘curiosity’…speaking of curious, my museum, the MUSEE VACHE’ is on my MySpace page.AND, on the stephenspera.com are some cd designs and photos of everyone from the Fall to Sun Ra…(also a few in my Facebook…sigh) Thanks so much for your work! I wish I knew cheaper, more dependable webhosts for you. I use cheap ones, but…. All very best from the Universe of Manhattan S t e p h

    Comment by Techer — May 17, 2010 @ 8:27 pm
  51. hi- Don’t know WHERE to begin- as an artist who de3signs covers, books etc-and with a collection of thousands of 12″- a cover junkie for sure. I’d like much to submit to you my new cd, out on PARVOART in Germany (www.parvoart.org) for your, err, ‘curiosity’…speaking of curious, my museum, the MUSEE VACHE’ is on my MySpace page.AND, on the stephenspera.com are some cd designs and photos of everyone from the Fall to Sun Ra…(also a few in my Facebook…sigh) Thanks so much for your work! I wish I knew cheaper, more dependable webhosts for you. I use cheap ones, but…. All very best from the Universe of Manhattan S t e p h+1

    Comment by Colin Frazier — May 29, 2010 @ 2:00 am
  52. Hello Colin, glad you like the site!

    Comment by Colin — July 25, 2010 @ 11:41 pm
  53. Hi fellas

    Thought to mention that the Blockheads logo you show is, according to world famous Barnologists, Rebecca and Mike, a later adaption by other hands. The original, as can be seen somewhere deep in my blog, has no rule border, is white on a solid black square.

    David Wills

    Comment by david Wills — August 5, 2010 @ 4:41 pm
  54. Thanks for the correction David.

    Comment by Colin — August 5, 2010 @ 5:59 pm
  55. Hi,

    I emailed you a while ago seeing if you would be interested in featuring a release i was working on. I never got a reply. Can i assume that you aren’t interested?


    Comment by Stuart — August 13, 2010 @ 9:28 pm
  56. Hello Stuart, thanks for getting in touch. If memory serves, you emailed so say that you were producing a cassette, but you didn’t send any details or images. Please send at least one image and we’ll respond if we’re interested.

    Comment by Colin — August 14, 2010 @ 9:05 am
  57. hello! visuals in music are sooo important… May I suggest some of the designs of the french records label rotorelief (on rotorelief.com), I think there’s a general nice design. What do you think? I like Maurizio Bianchi one, Brume, Le Syndicat, Roxy Epoxy, well all of them! a kinf of simple minimalism but efficiency.

    Comment by iSa — November 20, 2010 @ 8:09 pm
  58. Hello iSa, thanks for the recommendation, I’ll check them out.

    Comment by Colin — November 22, 2010 @ 12:20 pm
  59. kind of homemade-handmade design

    Comment by art — November 23, 2010 @ 11:36 pm
  60. Very nice!

    Comment by Colin — November 24, 2010 @ 12:39 am
  61. Beautiful, thank you for inspiration.
    All the best

    Comment by Adam — March 21, 2011 @ 4:37 pm
  62. Hello,

    Congratulations for the beautiful and original website!

    I’d like to suggest a couple of works of a female thereminist called Dorit Chrysler, they’re both very interesting and particular, packaging was made in Austria by D + Wien
    music too it’s really interesting and fascinating as the charming player.
    Bye Claudy-o

    here’s a couple of links about the items, i can send you better scans and pics of them if you’re interested

    Comment by Claudy-o — March 25, 2011 @ 9:51 am
  63. Interesting, I’ve not seen such a combination before, thanks for the recommendation.

    Comment by Colin — April 2, 2011 @ 11:18 am
  64. Hi,
    this is Comunicom, a creative studio from Barcelona.

    Comunicom sums up a long experience on music design. We reinterpret, recreate, propose and innovate, being interested always for new forms and new languages, with the safety we have achieved along these years of experience.

    Comunicom works with designers, illustrators, photographers and editors and, as if it were a jam session, we find altogether the best way to keep our work in tune, create a good piece of art, make the audience enjoy and, of course, have a real good time while we are working.

    Comunicom is not only a creative studio. It’s a way of making and understanding communication, and also, a group of professionals, artists and specialists that have joined their energies and passion for music on a mutual project.

    We have a wide portfolio of works, mostly dedicated to jazz, which is our greatest passion:

    Jazz Covers by Comunicom
    On these pieces Comunicom has reinterpreted, using modern rules, the classic style of old jazz covers, where shadowy chromatic and typographic elegance established the standard for a generation and became a vital influence, not only to the jazz world, but to the entire graphic design community. Today, these classic covers still amaze us in their modernity and timelessness. Our work is not designed to simply replicate this tradition, or even to create a revolutionary proposal, but rather to evolve these original concepts with a respect to innovation.

    Hope you really enjoy our work.
    We could send every picture you need in case you’d like some of our works to be published on you site.

    All the best.

    Comment by Oriol — April 19, 2011 @ 4:53 pm
  65. Hello,

    Great site!

    May I suggest doing a post on the Galaxie 500 box set (designed by the band’s bassist Naomi Yang)? It’s rather beautiful. Also, maybe some more Julian House stuff (his work for Broadcast/Stereolab/Primal Scream, etc).

    Keep up the good work…


    Comment by Greg — May 10, 2011 @ 2:29 pm
  66. Hey, you’re probably familiar with them, but just in case you’re not, hometapes does some amazing work. hometapes.com
    Meanwhile I’ve sneakily made you aware of my existence…in any case, nice website. Found you through loveliescrushing.
    HYave a nice day! Phil

    Comment by Phil the Tremolo King — May 30, 2011 @ 12:04 am
  67. correction…it’s….


    Comment by Phil the Tremolo King — May 30, 2011 @ 12:06 am
  68. Thanks Phil, will check the site out.

    Comment by Colin — June 3, 2011 @ 9:34 pm
  69. hey,sir ron how about a thumbnail flick of pappo lucca,as a fantasy oracle for modern jazz,
    tight fitting tyedye colors and a funky sombero!
    Well entitle it “REACH”

    Comment by David Pineiro — February 21, 2012 @ 6:26 pm
  70. Hi there mates, its impressive paragraph concerning cultureand completely defined, keep it up all the time.

    Comment by kolagen graphite — September 27, 2015 @ 9:54 am


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