It's all down to your personal taste of course. And i dont think you need to be a designer to comment on a design i think.
Personally i love the Arcadia designs (except the French/Japanese/Australian sleeve for Goodbye Is Forever) even better than the Rio one. I do agree on 7&TRT and Arena, those are a bit... too much i think.
All personal taste as you rightly say, but there is a real sense of consistency with both -
- the 7&TRT moving into the tour merch & programme.
- & Arena with TWB - & then the development into parts of the AVTAK design & 85 official merch.
& i must say that i actively do like those Goodbye is Forever sleeves - where it's The Promise that's the more problematic one of the proper singles for me as it's really boring...
...although the Playing For Keeps 7" sleeve is truly awful imho.
The 7&RT period was less successful for me visually, particularly the album cover, which was too busy and brown :-) but I liked what led up to it - the ITSISN sleeve, video album, Aston Villa tour program, and UOTS. The Reflex single’s geometric art was nice, and they developed that into Arena, VTAK and Arcadia, which I though successful. I agree that consistency helped. As a fan you wanted everything, because the you had a matching set of stuff!
Notorious was good and well integrated, though it’s fun to imagine what Assorted Images would have done instead.
Thoughtful graphic design definitely set DD apart from other bands of the era.
Fun thread! Aside from TWA, I haven't much cared for an album cover since So Red The Rose. It would definitely be cool to see the band work with Malcolm again but has a tendency to run from their past, at least until its time to go on tour, so I don't see that happening.
I've said it countless times here that Malcolm Garrett and his work with DD inspired me to become a graphic designer. His work even influenced my art during school, before I even knew what "graphic design" really was. But once I was in art college, I finally understood and concentrated on design as a career, and I have to say it was the perfect route for me. Everything I had done art-wise up to that point was really more geared towards design and I finally recognized that.
That interview was great. I can relate to his POV so well and how he viewed them as a client and as a product to sell. I particularly liked his story about his Buzzocks work and how other people would take what he did and tried to interpret it for other formats like posters and ads, and that pissed him off to the point that he insisted they handle everything with the name "Buzzocks" on it! It shows that he cared about what he did and was invested in his work and didn't want to see it bastardized by other people.
It's interesting to find out that the band had minimal input in the first album, and that it gradually grew from from album to album. I love all of them, even if it might not be something I would personally do in my own work. I can understand some might feel some of it is too plain or too busy, etc. But that could partially be a reflection of the time when those pieces were created. But as a whole I think you still get the "feel" they were going for: something sleek and futuristic for the first album. Something more glamorous and jet-setting for Rio. Something more exotic and cryptic for 7, etc. My particular style is more like the first album and Greatest, more clean and typography-based. Although I have a special fondness for the layering and enigmatic style of 7 and Arcadia, and some of the Arena stuff.
He's truly a hero of mine.
Heard them tell a story of Mad Old Jim / Found him in his cabin with his head caved in / Waiting out the winter was a little too much for him