Digipak Conventions and an Analysis of Four Digipak Front Covers

Posted: October 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

Front Cover Conventions for a Digipak:

  • Star Image
  • Album Name
  • Artist Name
  • Record Label Reference Number
  • Record Label Name
  • Album/Theme or subject matter

Lady GaGa – Born This Way

Bullet for my Valentine – The Poison

Ed Sheeran

Back Cover Conventions for a Digipak:

  • Track List
  • Continued Album Artwork (in regards to theme and style)

Born This Way – Back Cover

Back Cover of The Poison

Back Cover to Ed Sheeran


Inside Cover Conventions for a Digipak:

  • CD with Design on
  • Lyric Booklet
  • Copyright

Album Advert Conventions:

  • Artist Name/Logo
  • Album Cover as Image
  • Album Title
  • Release Date
  • Singles to be Included
  • How it is Accessible

Digipak Analysis:

P!nk - Funhouse

P!nk – Funhouse

Star Image and Representation: Here P!nk’s star image is her conventional one. She depicted as fun-loving and cheerful, with intertextuality with the carnival which has similar connotations. She’s wearing a pink ‘show girl’ leotard, with feathery decorative trimming which represents her as a star, and has intertextual references to circus performance and free spirited carnival workers,  who live life free from most restrictions upon society. This represents her and the album as free spirited and carefree. The fact that p!nk is riding a carnival horse strengths the connotations of freedom, with the carnival style being continued through the font and colour scheme, with pink and yellow being warm and joyful colours. The fact that she is positioned in the middle of the cover implicates the importance of her star image, and the importance of her carefree attitude in the album.

Genre: From the album you can tell that the genre is going to be almost pop/punk in nature with the connotations of freedom with the combination of the fact that p!nk’s tattoos are on show. This also helps cement the genre as tattoos have been embraced by the pop industry, with people like Lady GaGa, Cheryl Cole and Rihanna frequently showing their tattoos within music videos and promotion advertisements.

Target Audience: P!nk is known for being rebellious and carefree, pushing people’s limits with her attitude on issues such as sexuality and her opposition to traditional views of women. This album reinforces her more rebellious and free aspects, which would definitely appeal to her target audience, much in the same way her M!ssunderstood album appealed to her audience. The continuation of the colour pink again suits her star image and appeals to her audience through that.

Appeal: The appeal of this album lies in its clear message of freedom and excitement, P!nk’s posture and facial expression strongly showing this. It represents that the music and herself are ‘back’ to her old self, and the album came at a time when she was recovering from a break up. This may appeal to fans also as they would want to hear her style after a major change in her life.

Recovery - Eminem

Recovery- Eminem

Star Image and Representation: Again the star is used on the album cover, this shows that just like with P!nk the artist, in this case Eminem, is well known enough to feature on the front cover as a selling point. This has a very strong message of how universally known his star image is. The framing of this shot places the star at the far left of the corner, heading up a long and desolate/isolated road. This holds a representation of the star, starting a long journey, the loneliness and blur effect added to the horizon implies that this journey is a journey of the self. This strongly links in with well-publicized story of Eminem getting off drugs and recovering, hence the name of the title. The album seems to be partly autobiographical in that sense and the digipak image could be interpreted as a representation of the stars state of mind. Eminem here is in clear focus, compared to the blurred back ground, and he’s facing away from the camera, this adds maturity to his existing star image, it brings a representation of an independent, adult and determined personality, however the style he’s dressed in represents him as still the same person fundamentally because he hasn’t abandoned his original style. It could be argued, that the person in the shot isn’t Eminem, as there is a sort of ambiguity to the camera work here, this adds mystery to the artwork, and emphasises the representation of uncertainty, which is strengthened with the cold blue editing of the artwork. This is not a subversion of his existing star image, although it is very different, which could be a reflection of events that have happened to the star.

Genre: The genre is very ambiguous in this artwork, and it isn’t extremely obvious due to the style of the shot. There are however, small conventions that help with the process of elimination to choose genre. The way the person within the shot (possibly Eminem) is dressed, connotes modern fashion sense for males, and the font and ‘parental advisory’ tells the audience that it isn’t pop or teenage pop, and that the music is explicit which isn’t a common convention of those genres. If it is interpreted as Eminem in the shot, and someone unfamiliar to his music tried to guess what genre the CD was, they could rule out anything in the Rock genre, as there is no band image or graphic artwork, which is a common convention of that genre. The block capitals and use of the backwards ‘E’ in the title is commonly seen in Rap artists, and the O with the white cross is a use of title artwork, which is commonly seen with Rap artists too. The conventions of his genre can be seen within the artwork, but it’s subtle.

Target Audience: The album photography shows a more human representation of the star, which could be a hit or miss with his fan base, but it would most likely appeal to his already existing fans as it seems to be somewhat autobiographical, and they would feel an appeal to the music, and the star, as they would feel included in the artist’s life, after a grievance, which would create a feeling of relativity between them and the star as the audience bring their own experience to the media products they indulge in.

Appeal: The clear representation of a journey within the artwork and the ambiguity of the actor/Eminem in the shot would interest and appeal to any audience, as the overcast day holds connotations of uncertainty, there’s a mystery within the shot which would intrigue the audience members, which would make them pick it up in a music store and check out the track list, therefore making them consider buying it. To those who are already fans of Eminem, the front cover alone would make them feel as if they were experiencing the mind-set of the star, and intrigue them about the music and the messages in the music, which would make them buy it.

All Hope Is Gone - Slipknot

All Hope Is Gone – Slipknot

Star Image and Representation: Here Slipknot are catering to their usual star image as they’re all wearing their masks, which is a strong part of their star image because when they first came out, they were just in masks, this boosted their intrigue, until later on when it simply became part of their image. People knew who they were, but the masks became a type of star costume. The colours in the album imagery has had an effect added to it, to make colours darker and more foreboding, which represents the stars as darker themselves, adding to the conventions of their genre. They’re all wearing black, with something red. No doubt the red has been edited to be brighter, but this too represents the stars as at the forefront of their genre, and links them all together as a band. The fact they are hiding within the tall grass, again represents them as people to be weary of, and creates a distance between them and the camera, ultimately representing them as dangerous. They are in the centre of the shot, which makes them the focus of the artwork, and makes them appear important. The overcast clouds again represent them and their star image as dangerous; the darkened effect used on the sky heightens this. Slipknot’s logo has been superimposed on top of the image, this cements them as the band, and to their fan base it brings the fans and the stars together, representing them all as one. The band is also situated in the middle of the logo, which could represent them at the heart of their fans.

Genre: The album artwork here is typical of the rock/metal genre. The colours are darkened to show the music as being darker and more exploratory of subject matter that other music genres tend to stray from. The whole band is pictured together, and they are wearing dark colours, again symbolic of the type of music they represent and the more dangerous image they want to portray themselves in. Their masks are frightening, and more like Halloween masks, this horror is too suited to their genre and attractive to their fans, as well as being crucial to their star image, and the strong use of the colour red, which brings connotations of passion, lust, anger, danger and vibrancy adds to their image, and is constantly re-used in a lot of rock/metal album artworks. The overcast sky, with its darkened effect helps add the connotations of their genre, as well as the natural setting, with the dense forest off to the bands left. This forest holds a vague intertextuality with the ‘dangerous woods’ within fairy tales like Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel, again adding to the darker conventions of their genre.

Target Audience: This album’s strong sense of genre helps attract all lovers of the music they represent, as the not only does the super-imposed logo appeal to the existing fans, new fans are instantly drawn to the attraction of the dark colour and the band’s unique use of masks. Along with a strong sense of genre, the mystery from the woods and scenic yet dark setting and mise-en-scene intrigue lovers of the music genre, as well as the dangerous undertones that were set using the camerawork.

Appeal: The appeal with the front cover lies with primarily with the positioning, and aspect of mise-en-scene as well as the edited effects. Not only does the cover cater directly to its genre, but has an element which involves its fans, as it uses the nonagram, which all fans wear on merchandise, a style that combats the expectations Web 2.0 has helped the audience and fans develop, but also the strong star image, attracts an appeal to the digipak cover.

Back to Black

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Star Image and Representation: Here the star is position in an intertextual way, that links her to such classic stars as Audrey Hepburn. This reference straight away brings an air of class and dignity that is different to how Amy was presented in the public eye. This puts a divide between her star image and her public image. She’s dressed all in black, and the title of the album is ‘Back to Black’ this represents her own music being highly important to her, as her outfit for the photo shoot is reflecting the album itself. It also brings a representation of oneness with her and her music. Again, the fact that Amy is wearing tight fitting black leather gloves gives her an air of class, which is connected to the genre of music she creates. Her hair is in its iconic style, the beehive, and she’s wearing her iconic eye-make up and Monroe piercing. All of this is typical of her star image, and is consistent in her later works. The use of a leather chair, with the high key lighting that removes shadows makes it appear stark, and holds intertextuality with the ‘film Noir’ genre. The lighting makes her stand out of from the back ground, which has been edited so it’s more black and white. This again represents Amy as important and promotes her as the star. Her tattoos are on show, which highlights the honest and bold aspects of her star image, as the tattoos can be seen as metaphors for parts of her star image.

Genre: The lighting and intertextual pose Amy is in is highly common of her Blues/Jazz genre. The high key lighting and effects such as a slight sepia effect over Amy and the chair, the black and white fading on the background again hold conventions of the genre, as the class and sophistication as well as the soulful and pre-occupied expression Amy is pulling suggests a mourning or thinking that is conventional behind the songs in this genre. The font on the album is again intertextual with past artists and fashion movements from earlier in time, this appeals to lovers of that style, and relates her to music from that earlier Jazz era.

Target Audience: The target audience for this album is definitely lovers of her genre, as it holds strong connotations of the Blues/Jazz genre. However, her modern take on the Jazz/Blues personality and songs give it an appeal to the younger teenage and young adult area of the market, as well as existing fans due to her own iconic style featured, which they would be familiar with. The heavy intertextuality of the album makes it stand out from the more modern album covers, which fans of Amy would be attracted to.

Appeal: The pose of the star and angle of the camera make the cover unique and interesting to look at on a rack. Her piercings, tattoos and individuality combined intertextuality make her relatable yet a strong candidate of her genre that will attract more than just her target audience, as those from other music genre’s that are fond of jazz or blues may be interested in hearing her modern twist on it that is seen through the album artwork.


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