“Breath, breath in the air, Don’t be afraid to care, Leave, but don’t leave me, Look around, choose your own ground”, these are but some of the words which have come to represent Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’.
An album, which is not only recognised, up until today, as being one of the most celebrated and highest grossing, of and beyond it’s time, but which is being reimagined by Pentagram, through a collector’s edition box set for it’s 50th anniversary.
Originally designed by Hipgnosis, a creative agency set up by Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell, the album’s artwork was derived from a textbook photograph of a prism, through which a beam of white light is moving, only to emerge in a kaleidoscopic display in all the colours of the spectrum. Set against a black background, the prism was also reflected on the back cover, whilst when opened the beam spanned the inside cover, with a green heartbeat pattern superimposed onto it. In a 2019 interview Thorgerson explained that the inspiration for the prism, stemmed from the light shows which the band performed at their concerts. The graphic designer also illustrated that whilst he was not explicitly inspired by the band’s compositions, the prism is deliberately reflective of the thought and ambition, to which he believed Roger Waters lyrics to be intrinsic. Out of the seven options, prototyped by Hipgnosis and brought-to-life by Thorgerson, with illustrations by George Hardie, the band were unanimous in their choice of the prism.
In envisaging the collector’s edition box set, Pentagram sought their ingenuity from this multidimensional legacy, and by doing so, ultimately worked to not dramatically alter the original design, but rather,“reinvent” it, as explained by Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell. “It was about honouring the original concept and complementing it with an empathetic framework” says Graphic Designer Harry Pearce. This philosophy has seen for example, the box set come with a copy of ‘The Official Pink Floyd 50th Anniversary’ book, published by Thames and Hudson, it contains a feast of previously unpublished photographs all captured during the album tours of the early 1970s. There is also a collection of sketches and rough artworks, which details the development behind the iconic prism album image, in addition to many other extras.
Ultimately, it’s the design of the box set, assembled with multiple layers to reflect the structure of a pyramid, which brings these elements together. “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” Pearce says. “The layers and layers reveal memorabilia, and at the centre the original The Dark Side Of The Moon vinyl.” Buried underneath different materials, rendered by black and gold accents, these treasures include a gatefold vinyl of the contemporarily remastered The Dark Side Of The Moon studio album, replica 7’’ singles, a Blue ray and DVD audio which plays the original 5.1 mix and remixed stereo versions. Audio-minded Pink Floyd fans will have also hit the jackpot, as there’s a Blue ray disk containing a Dolby Atmos mix, together with CD and LP copies of ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon —Live At Wembley Empire Pool London 1974’. At the centre, rests a gold box containing the first ‘live’ vinyl of The Dark Side Of The Moon.