With sales of over 45 million copies worldwide, ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ was Pink Floyd's eighth studio album. Since it was released on 1 March 1973, it has gone on to become one of the most highly acclaimed and biggest-selling albums of all time.
Pentagram Partners Harry Pearce and Jon Marshall have designed the box set released by Pink Floyd to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon. The deluxe collectors’ edition also includes a new hardback book designed by Harry Pearce which features photographs by Jill Furmanovsky, Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell.
The limited edition box set includes CD and gatefold vinyl of the new 2023 remastered ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ studio album and Blu-Ray + DVD audio featuring the original 5.1 mix and remastered stereo versions. The set also includes an additional new Blu-ray disc of Atmos mix, plus CD and LP of ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon – Live At Wembley Empire Pool, London, 1974’, a 160-page hardback photo book, a music book, replica 7” singles and memorabilia.
The instantly recognisable sleeve for ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ was originally designed by Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis with illustrations by George Hardie. This iconic prism design was the starting point for the new box set, as Harry Pearce explains: “Picking up on the Hipgnosis theme of ancient Egypt and Pyramids I thought about the wonderful sense of discovery that’s built into the idea of a nested sarcophagus. The layers and layers reveal memorabilia, and at the centre the original ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ vinyl.”
“For the ‘live’ album cover we used Hipgnosis's original marked-up artwork. Working with an existing design classic such as ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’, it felt wholly wrong to create new conceptual imagery. More importantly it was about honouring the original concept and complementing it with an empathetic framework.”
Hipgnosis’ Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell explains how the collaboration came about: “For the 50th Anniversary of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ I needed a very special package. The familiar triangular prism image had run its course over five decades and it was now time to reinvent.”
“I turned to Harry Pearce and Jon Marshall at Pentagram with a brief to create a box, air lock tight and firm, to hold all the albums, memorabilia, and Blu Rays, however, the design had to hark back to something of the original idea”, he adds. “They picked the Egyptian influence of the pyramids and the idea of a sarcophagus. As you unwrapped the multi-layered packaging, the final delight was the inner gold box containing the first 'live’ vinyl of ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’."
Pentagram’s Jon Marshall designed the three-dimensional elements of the project, creating the boxes which house each of the elements: To create a sense of discovery, different materials were used for each layer of the nested boxes, starting completely black with elements of gold being added, leading to the fully gold box in the middle which carries the original album and new live album.
This aspect of the project required great attention to detail, as Jon explains: “Nesting several boxes together was technically challenging as multiple elements were interconnected and needed to fit together precisely. We did not want to use foam or plastic inserts and solved the design through cardboard engineering with extensive prototyping and sampling, working very closely with Po, the record company and with the box set manufacturer.”
There are subtle references to the pyramids throughout the box set, such as the angled cuts on the folder for the poster: “We developed many ideas on the way that helped us build the narrative even if we eventually ruled them out, such as including using a glass prism to recreate the original album cover and creating CD cases that could fold into pyramids.”
The Official Pink Floyd 50th Anniversary book included in the box set is designed by Harry Pearce and published by Thames & Hudson. The hardback, album-sized book combines striking layouts with rare and unseen images, including documentary photography taken by Jill Furmanovsky and the Hipgnosis team during Pink Floyd’s album tours of 1972 to 1975, as well as shots of original album roughs and artwork by Hipgnosis and StormStudios.
Harry Pearce has previously worked with Hipgnosis and Pink Floyd on its record label identity and Early Years box set, and found the latest collaboration equally rewarding: “Working with Po and the team has been an inspiring trip of discovery and invention,” he adds.
Aubrey Powell agreed: “The process over a series of months from a maquette to completed drawings and animatics was revelationary and highly professional, with Jon manipulating Harry’s creative ideas into the completed, highly polished box set. It’s a work of art.”