When it comes to beautiful album art, we usually think of the large cardboard sleeves for vinyl records. But compact discs? Not so much.
Well, the packaging for this CD album by Taiwan’s Taoyuan Chinese Orchestra is a breathtaking exception, using a symphony of vibrant colored sheets and exquisite Laser and Die Cuts to bring the album’s title, “Flowering,” to life.
Designed by Taiwan’s Keystone Design and produced by Bochuang Graphic Arts, this piece makes a substantial first impression with its striking resemblance to a Casebound book, both in looks and its pleasingly chunky feel. The front cover, 130 gsm (88 lb.) Hansol Insper M Rough, features the album’s title in Gold Hot Foil, which also appears this way on the spine.
This use of Foil is tastefully accented by a small Pink logo on both spine and cover – one that beautifully matches the color of one of the most exquisite front cover illustrations I’ve seen in a long, long time.
Here a gorgeous blend of Laser-Cut flowers peeks through a Die Cut in the shape of a traditional Chinese lute, or “pipa.” Opening the book-like package reveals a design as simple as the front cover is intricate.
On the right, a Golden CD rests in a Pink Die-Cut tray, held there snuggly by a curved tab, 2 finger notches allowing for the disc’s easy removal. The thickness of the tray protects its contents while also adding to the substantial feel of the overall package.
The panel opposite the CD contains a White folder – 240 gsm (162 lb.) Hansol Insper M Rough – held closed by a clever tab in the shape of a flower. Squeezing the sides of the closure together allows it to pass through a Die-Cut slit so that the folder “blossoms” open into a 4-panel Cross Fold.
The first item visible is a booklet Offset printed on 165 gsm (111 lb.) coated stock whose Pink cover matches the CD tray opposite. On the booklet cover, a Black and Gold cut-flower illustration in the shape of a lute beautifully ties into the colors and motifs found throughout the packaging.
The Glossy sheets inside are nice and thick, and Singer Sewn with matching Pink thread, a photo spread depicting the orchestra printed in the centerfold.
Removing the brochure we at last get to the heart of this gorgeous piece: 3 loose sheets of 65 lb. Cover Neenah Astrobrights in 3 different colors.
The Blue, Black and Pink sheets have all been Laser Cut with botanical and music-related shapes, the colors and precise use of the Laser-Cutting equipment making it virtually impossible to see any burn marks on the paper.
When stacked together and placed inside the packaging’s cover once more, the Laser-Cut papers give the illusion of peering through the lute at a lush garden inside.
This also means that the packaging is customizable, with the cover changing depending on the order in which you stack the papers. An uncut sheet flooded with Gold ink – subtly showing the orchestra’s logo as a watermark – is placed behind the rest, providing an elegant yet subtle backdrop to this colorful artwork.
From the inventive way that each detail plays on the “flowering” theme to its consistent use of the same accent colors throughout, this packaging transforms the simple purchase of a CD into an inspiring unboxing experience. The perfect seed, I hope, for your own future packaging creations.