It’s inevitable, I think at least, that how we perceive things by all 5 senses add up to how we perceive a certain item overall.

I’ll explain.  A film, for example, is aimed at our sight, but if you watch a film where the sound is dodgy or the cinema doesn’t have their speaker setup properly then you will leave with a worse impression of the film than you would have had you seen it in all it’s glory with the soundtrack as the director intended.

And so it is with purchases - the old adage is that you should never judge a book by it’s cover, but I don’t really buy that.  If I am searching out a new book by a particular author I know I like then admittedly it doesn’t matter what the cover image is like - and it’s the same with CDs, DVDs etc.

But each writer, actor, singer, band etc has a finite number of fans who will buy anything and everthing the produce - so they are always in search of new fans to win over.  Because of this, they have to make their album cover or book cover stand out from the crowd and shout “Buy me!!” to the browsing customers.

Some artists don’t seem to spend too much time thinking about this - or at least that’s how their covers appear!

I’m a long time fan of the band Keane, and they have always seemed to take a huge interest in how their material is presented - which is a good sign as far as I’m concerned.  If they have spent a couple of years honing the dozen or so songs that feature on an album then it makes sense for them to ensure it is presented in a way that they feels suits the album and also opens it up to the audience who they think will appreciate the contents.

Their first album release, Hopes and Fears, featured a simple graphic and the singles released from it followed in this style - I think at that time if you showed a new single cover to the average person on the street then if they were familiar with Keane at all they could have guessed the single was their next release simply by the cover art.

Hopes & Fears Somewhere Only We Know Bedshaped This is The Last Time Everybody’s Changing

Similarly, when their second album Under The Iron Sea was released, they employed a single artist to design the album cover, all the single covers and also their promotional material.  Again this meant that anyone spotting one of the covers in a shop would instantly know to which band it related.

Under The Iron Sea Is It Any Wonder? Nothing In My Way Cystal Ball A Bad Dream

These covers were also very clever, with hidden messages in each picture - what could be taken as a hot air balloon in one picture could also represent a skull and so on.

This week sees the release of a live DVD recorded at The O2 in the summer.  I was there and it was an excellent show so I have been looking forward to this being released for some time.  As a live show features songs from both the first and second album, I wasn’t sure if it’s packaging would follow on the same theme as their latest releases or if it would be something else entirely.

Live DVD

Well it is certainly something else - it is perhaps the blandest cover of all time!  It looks a bit like a dodgy bootleg that someone has copied at home and is knocking out at carboot sales for a fiver a time - nothing at all like their normal high quality releases.  Admittedly it does show that it is a live DVD and that they are playing to huge crowds these days, but apart from that it says nothing at all!  The band don’t normally appear on their covers, and the decision to show the sweat-soaked back of Tom on this one is strange to say the least.

I wonder if perhaps the band didn’t have a say in the design - it’s the only reason I can think of for why it appears to be so poor when compared to their other releases which they have had a big say in the design of.  When the image first appeared on Amazon, I assumed it was a placeholder to be replaced with the finished design once it was finalised - but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case.

I’m sure the contents will make up for the lack of imagination on the outside, but I can’t help feeling that they will lose a lot of browsing trade as this type of cover isn’t going to jump into people’s shoppig baskets especially in the lead-up to Christmas when parents will be doing a lot of the buying on behalf of their kids.