Sunday, April 03, 2011

Should Art Take The Place Of Information ?

by Claudio Botelho

I’ve been an avid jazz listener since my early teens. In those days, canned music employed vinyl records and these used to be enclosed in large cardboard wrappings which had ample space to receive written information. Some of them were truly works of art and are, today, treasured by collectors.

In spite of it, on the back covers, all necessary information were found, so that the musical content was properly listed, numbered and one could know the extension of each tune. The art – many times of highest caliber – never interfered with information, as much as this one never bothered the cover artistry.

Time has changed and CD took the place of vinyl (mostly). Now the front cover of their jewel cases were substantially smaller. The front art had to be happy with only some 16% of the space of yore.

To offset this, the producers increased the allowed space by inserting multiple pages in the booklets of the plastic cases. Since then, it has solved the problem… if the subject is… classical music!

We, jazz listeners, who are always striving to know all about the performers (as it should be, as jazz is mainly a product from them) don’t have received the same treatment: many, many times, the art mixes with the information just to make it less clear, sometimes on the verge of making it unreadable! Aficionados like me, who are not teenagers anymore and, so, are kinda shortsighted, have all the difficulties in the world to distinguish a black letter in a dark blue background, or to read a multicolored written word made this way to help (help?) the reader, as it is foreground to a colorful mixed scenery.

Please, graphic artists: don’t do that. Remember that jazz listening isn’t exactly a children hobby an the lettering of CD’s booklets HAS to be small. Don’t make it even more difficult for us! (And, please, if possible, don’t forget to number the songs and specify how long each one lasts…)

We – the short sighted – will ever be grateful…

1 comment:

Erico said...

Hi Claudio, as also a jazz/music lover and graphic designer, I've seen the change from vinil to cd, the ausence of information, even turning cds graphics as great as vinil covers. Some of great cds, not only jazz, they become to make visual arts as a meaning of the words that doesn't fit in the space they "have". So, it becomes to turn dark texts over dark "arts", in the same thinking of meaning to adapt the earlier great information. Finally, we know that the costs of production of a great respectable art with information of a cd is not that much higher than the production of vynil. At last, I know that production today is not that cheaper, but it means, for me, that what didn't change at all is the great ambicious instinct of the industry, selling products as "DeLuxe" with a low level of reference, as the consumers don't have any interference at the process of production.
I must say that I agree with you, but there's lots of more things going in the market - and I think it's obvious.. What should we really do?
Congratulations for your nice site!
Erico