Need an amplifier to pump up the volume on your smartphone? How about “Change the Record”. That’s the newly designed product from London-based Paul Cocksedge. Old vinyl records are reused and then turned into a stylish, retro amp that has the vintage look of a phonograph. Of all the reused products I’ve seen, this might be the coolest one. The best part is that there’s no need for wires or electricity.
The 12″ records are heated and molded into a sound-enhancing conic shape which boosts the volume of the music being played from a smartphone. Of course there’s no volume adjustment but this beauty is all about aesthetics.
Speculation of the demise of public libraries has been a talker over the last handful of years. With everything going digital (music, movies, books) it was at least clear that if libraries were going to make it through this transitional period, they would have to be willing to change with the times. The widespread opinion by many was that libraries wouldn’t survive long term but would start to see a decline in overall patronage. If that is the case, we’re not seeing evidence of this yet.
Take Wethersfield Library in Connecticut for example. According to their library director, overall patronage last year increased. More than 193,000 people visited the library in 2010- an average of 550 visitors each day. That’s a 4.5% increase from the previous year. Quite an astonishing number considering what libraries are apparently up against. In addition to their physical visits to the library, 180,500 people visited the library’s website.
In the past year, Wethersfield Library also had 54,800 questions to reference staff (18% increase from the previous year) and borrowed 363,900 items from the library to patrons. 17,00 people attended programs offered by the library, ranging from job-hunting support groups to children’s reading events to movie screenings.
The increased use is similar to increased patronage in other libraries nationwide. The American Library Association has noted that since the recession began, libraries across the country have seen increased use by people who have fallen on hard times or who are seeking jobs and visit libraries to use the free computer to look for work and apply online.
Seemingly, the recession has had a big hand in these nationwide increases for libraries. For example, people have been dropping magazine subscriptions to save money while going to their local library to borrow magazines. While the economy might be a temporary explanation for these increases, it will be very interesting to see where the state of the public library is in another 5-10 years, assuming we climb out of the recession.
Here’s some awesome packaging. It’s a box set celebrating the 40th anniversary of Brain Records. Located in Germany, Brain Records was founded in 1972 and is considered the revolutionary label of electronic music.
There were tons of connections in the Brain Records scene as the majority of the acts shared members and were really good friends. Designed by Joseph Cox, the special edition box set pays tribute to those connections using the circuitry as a metaphor. The graphics also illustrate a connection to the electronic instruments that were prominent to the label’s sound.
With the revival of vinyl records, designers are given so much more space to work with. So the packaging of box sets such as this end up looking so incredible.
Megatrax is one of the world’s leading production music libraries, recognized by its quality and innovation in technology and services. The company wanted their promotional material to be presented on a USB flash drive. Expanding on their presentation idea, they needed a creative packaging solution for the flash drive to show their commitment to innovation. That’s when they turned to Sunrise Packaging.
Megatrax wanted custom USB packaging with a modern look. Being solution-oriented, Sunrise Packaging rep Jason Lowe worked with Megatrax to come up with the ideal case. After working with the customer to understand their needs, Jason suggested a case featuring custom turned-edge technology with a dense presentation foam on the inside to give the case a modern clean look as well as maximum protection for the flash drive.
The foam is custom cut with a literature and USB cavity to tightly hold the company’s brochure and flash drive. The success of the project came in mid-stream as Sunrise was able to adapt on the fly and help the customer create a case that presented the company confidently.
Choosing custom packaging means choosing to differentiate.
More on custom USB packaging
Watch a video on how turned edge products are made
The music industry has been in a transitional phase for a handful of years. Digital sales continue to grow at a steady pace while CD sales continue to decline. Artists continue to fight the transition because buying digital albums means consumers are paying less and less attention to the artwork and digital mp3s do not sound as good as CDs. Thus the compromise of art and quality.
Packaging has come to the forefront in the music industry as many artists and record labels are trying to find innovative ways to convince consumers that they’re missing out when buying digital.
The example of Katy Perry’s recently released album “Teenage Dream” takes music and media packaging to the next level. After removing the shrink wrap from the album, the sweet scent of cotton candy is exuded from the packaging. After weeks and weeks of testing, the pressing plant was able to apply the scent into the printing varnish of the CD booklet. Not sure how consumers benefit from something like this unless maybe you’d like it to act as an air freshener in your car?
Regardless, this is a unique way of enticing your fans to pick up a physical copy of your disc rather than a digital copy from iTunes. It will be interesting to see what other ideas surface in an attempt to salvage the ultimate fate of CDs…..time is running out.
Yesterday, Apple released new versions of the iPod Nano, iPod Touch and iPod Shuffle. Along with the release and a host of new features on the iPods came new packaging as well. The previous packaging has been revamped in transparent rigid plastic cases that give a ton of visibility to the products. Other than that, it’s the same clean classy look that Apple is known for in their products and packaging.