Remember To Take Risks Sometimes

I was intrigued and impressed when I saw the cover of the Fiery Furnaces' recent live record, Remember (Thrill Jockey). At first glance, my eyes boggled and my mind knotted at the strange, perplexing shapes. And then it dawned on me that I was reading - or slowly deciphering - the word Remember. Someone has gone out on a limb with this one, and the result is a design that really surprises the viewer with its slow revelation.

Graphic design is about communication, and it's quite unusual for an album cover to abandon legibility and obscure communication the way that this one does. Of course, the title Remember is written legibly in the upper left hand corner of the square, but it's the larger, abstracted version of the word that dominates the composition. I love the way the E's and the M's interconnect with each other and I think the way the R has been simplified is quite brave. If I could change two things, I'd change the color of the first M (it appears to be negative space right now) and I'd include the last R in the composition (why has it been squeezed out of the frame?).

All in all though, this design is a risky one and it's nice to see a good, daring risk once in a while. I can't believe it got approved. One of my favorite quotes is from my former professor Sergio Baradat, who once said, "It's great to pull a rabbit out of your hat, but sometimes, a rabbit out of your hat is not what's called for." The cover design of Remember is an example of that first part - sometimes, it's great to pull a rabbit out of your hat.

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