Alex Steinweiss is regarded as the pioneering figure of record cover design. When Steinweiss was hired in 1939 to be Art Director at Columbia Records, shellac 78s were packaged in simple paper sleeves. He believed that more attractive packaging would increase sales. He was right, and since then, some of the most influencial figures in contemporary art have designed music packaging, including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Raymond Pettibon, Robert Longo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marcel Dzama, Howard Finster and Gerhard Richter.
We are proud to collaborate with our clients’ graphic designers in carrying on Alex Steinweiss’ tradition of creating visually interesting music packaging.
Shortly after leaving Warner Bros. Records, Prince's production company Paisley Park Enterprises contacted Noiseland Industries with a unique problem: How to package and manufacture the legendary"Crystal Ball", a five-disc set of previously unreleased music? And there was a catch -- the case had to be perfectly round! Working with Paisley Park's Art Director Steve Parke, Noiseland designed and custom-manufactured the Crystal Ball case shown below. This round, clear polyurethane plastic package consisted of three components: a convex lid, a semi-circle carriage with grooves to hold each of the five discs, and a bottom tray. A circular booklet, with liner notes written by Prince, was also included.
The purpose of the custom-packaging was to enhance the value of this limited-edition release, and prevent the possibility of boot-legging (the one ton injection molds were made by hand, and took sixteen weeks to build!).
In addition to the discs entitled, Crystal Ball "One", "Two" and "Three", this package included "The Truth" (The Artist's first acoustic album) and "Kamasutra", an instrumental recording inspired by the NPG Dance Company.
Production of the Crystal Ball was limited to 250,000 packages and to this day remains one of the most ambitious and logistically challenging independent music releases of all time. The Crystal Ball was featured on the cover of Replication News, the leading trade journal for the disc replication industry, and included a feature story on the successful collaboration between Paisley Park and Noiseland Industries.