Stuart Tolley’s new book Collector’s Edition showcases over 180 examples of “the new wave of limited edition, large format, lovingly produced graphic design and packaging created for the music, book and magazine industries” including Björk’s Biophilia box set, The Flaming Lips’ “Gummy Song Skull” and books designed by Irma Boom and Stefan Sagmeister. To this end, special copies with one-of-a-kind covers personally designed by an assortment of artists, designers and musicians are being auctioned online by Tolley to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. First published by Thames & Hudson this August, the auction for the one-off copies begins today and runs through December 12th.
Below preview special “artist cover bomb” designs by Paul McCartney, Wayne Coyne, Nick Cave, Peter Gabriel and Stanley Donwood (the artist behind all Radiohead’s album and poster art since 1994). More photos of these and other in the “cover bomb” series are here:
Tolley tells Creative Review that first envisioned Collector’s Edition six years ago but it only became enough of a trend to fill a 300 page book in the past few years because of the renaissance of vinyl box sets. “I was really interested in the Radiohead ‘In Rainbows’ boxset and consider it a pivotal moment in the new wave of multi format packaging. The limited edition box set was the most expensive, but it sold out very fast and in many cases people bought [it] alongside a digital version. They were essentially buying Stanley Donwood’s artwork.”
“Collector’s Edition is a showcase for specialist music, magazine and book packaging, as these are the subjects I am most passionate about and the areas most affected by the digital environment. But as we move into the streaming era, it is the mid range mass produced formats such as CDs and DVDs that are suffering the most – limited deluxe editions are the opposite end of the scale to downloads and provide the space and opportunity for creativity and innovation. As a designer, I think this is worth celebrating.”
As for the special “cover bombs” being auctioned, Tolley explains: “I always hoped to create a collector’s edition of the Collector’s Edition book. The idea of an ‘artist cover bomb’ series came late in the project and only after my Nan died a few months before the book was published. She suffered with dementia for 15 years and I really wanted to create a project in her memory, that would help the Alzheimer’s Society. The contributing artists were all incredibly generous with their time and have helped create a unique, one off handmade series that will help raise funds for a very good cause.”
Bids are now open at the-collectors-edition.com/auction.