Real World Interactivity Part 3: Interactive Album Covers

 In Interactive Content
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Music is one of the most powerful memory-makers on Earth. Take a moment to think back to your favorite record. Imagine the album cover art and the way the record felt in your hands. Remember what it sounded like to hear the music played aloud on a record player. The slight scratch of the needle on the vinyl.

What record did you think about? Was it an iconic album, like the zipper-front Rolling Stones cover? Or a lesser known band? Today, we’re continuing our Real World Interactivity series by discussing the top 10 interactive album covers. Read on below to see what fun albums made the cut.

interactive album cover

The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico

This iconic interactive album cover is instantly recognizable. With a large banana on the front cover, at first glance, this album looks simply like an Andy Warhol painting (surprise, it is!). However, an added layer of interactivity brings the fun and makes this album stand out. Peel back the banana sticker on the cover to reveal the fleshy fruit underneath and ensure you can’t forget The Velvet Underground.

Muse – The Second Law

A more recent interactive album cover comes from alternative rock legend, Muse. The packaging for their album ‘The Second Law’ came complete with thermo-sensitive packaging that changes color as the temperature rises. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it’s clever too, tying the interactivity in with the albums name. (For those who skipped science in high school, the 2nd Law covers thermodynamics!)

Childish Gambino – Because the Internet

Unlike the other album covers on our list, this one brought an interactive album cover to the digital space. By choosing a moving GIF as his album cover art, Donald Glover ensured his personal brand was staying up to date with his internet-obsessed fans.

Graf Orrlock – Boombox EP

Much like the Muse album covered above, this EP cleverly makes use of interactivity that ties in with the album’s name. Graff Orrlack’s Boombox EP comes in packaging reminiscent of origami. Follow the instructions and fold out the album cover into a working boombox, allowing you to crank up the tunes!

Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

Another iconic folding interactive album cover comes to us this time from Explosions in the Sky. Their ‘Take Care, Take Care, Take Care’ album art can be folded out into a shadow box house. The vinyl inside even matches the theme, with a wood grain print that matches perfectly with the floor of the fold-out cabin.

Golden Boots – Bland Canyon Adventure

If you’ve learned one thing about interactive content from reading our blog, it should be that sweepstakes can pay off big time! Golden Boots brought that marketing model to their album cover by featuring a paint by numbers image and stocking each album with watercolor paints. They invited fans to send in photos of their finished artwork for a chance to win a prize.

Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers

We all know that the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ album is iconic for many reasons, not the least of which is the cutting edge album art design. With a working pull down zipper, the album cover invites participation and the matching underwear-clad vinyl inside only continues the theme.

Bob Marley and the Wailers – Catch a Fire

Are you really a Bob Marley fan if you don’t own a Zippo lighter? According to the ‘Catch a Fire’ album, the answer is no! This fun cover art turned the album packaging into a model of the ubiquitous Zippo lighter. The only thing missing is the flame!

Led Zeppelin – III

Led Zeppelin paved the way for interactive album covers with their ‘III’ album. The spinning circles allow for interaction and keep some messages of the album cover hidden until the viewer performs the required action (spinning the wheel to the correct spot.)

Talking Heads – Speaking in Tongues

They certainly weren’t the first, but the Talking Heads took a leaf from Led Zeppelin’s book with their ‘Speaking in Tongues’ album art. The cover featured three spinning circles, one cyan, one magenta and one yellow. Spin the three wheels to the correct spots and a clear image comes into view. Leave them slightly off kilter and all you see is a jumble of color and imagery.

These album covers are a great demonstration of how interactivity in design intersects with nearly any industry! Incorporate these kinds of principles in your next piece of downloadable content for a digital interactive experience your audience is sure to love!

Missed the first entries in the series? Click here to read about scratch-and-sniffs and scratch-offs!

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