Barnbrook designs David Bowie
album and single covers


Barnbrook designs for David Bowie

News: graphic design studio Barnbrook has defaced a classic David Bowie album and upturned a 1970s photograph of the musician to create the covers of his new album and single.

Jonathan Barnbrook, head of the London-based studio, explained in a blogpost why the cover for The Next Day, due out in March, recycles the artwork for Bowie's 1977 album "Heroes" by placing a blank square over the pop star's face.

"The "Heroes" cover obscured by the white square is about the spirit of great pop or rock music which is ‘of the moment’, forgetting or obliterating the past," he said. "If you are going to subvert an album by David Bowie there are many to choose from, but this is one of his most revered."

Barnbrook designs for David Bowie

"We know it is only an album cover with a white square on it, but often in design it can be a long journey to get at something quite simple which works," he added. "Often the most simple ideas can be the most radical."

The studio also took a picture of the musician from the late 1970s and turned it upside down to create the cover for new single Where are We Now?, Bowie's first release in a decade.

A new typeface called Doctrine was also created for the covers, and will be released soon by Barnbrook's font-producing wing VirusFonts.

Barnbrook previously designed the covers for Bowie’s 2002 album Heathen and 2003's Reality, and has also been working on the upcoming David Bowie is exhibition at the V&A.

We previously featured a selection of work by Barnbrook shown at the Design Museum in London in 2007.

  • In a word, disappointing.

  • Nasi

    I like it, simple but jarring at the same time – really grabs your attention. It’s funny that he’s so iconic that he can play with his own image

  • Mark

    It may have taken ages to come to this visual conclusion – but it's awful and does nothing for Bowie's legacy or his future. It's lazy design. This represents the epitome of post-modern designers craving for negative attention.

  • blah

    Chuckleworthy postmoderism-lite or dull self-reflexive pastiche? You decide!

  • gareth

    Lazy dressed up as clever. Not even the prince of vacuous concepts Damien Hirst would have done something so trite and forgettable. FAIL!

    • Tárlach

      It is brilliant. Grabs attention straight away. No other poster looks like it when seen in the street with all the other posters for bands and performers.
      It makes you look at it and this is success. Very good solution. Full marks.

  • I think it’s pretty funny. Shows that the dude can be irreverent towards himself. Awesome.