46. METALLICA Part Six – ‘Trouble in Mumbai & More BIG 4’


‘ I N V A G E N T S ‘ … (m a l a y a l a m) …

Many apologies for the abrupt ending to ‘METALLICA Part Five‘ but urgent personal matters insisted I travel to Mumbai to help Ray. Ray – Agent Raymond Page, affectionately codenamed ‘Double Oh-Fuck‘ by his colleagues – is in serious trouble and, fearing for his life, I had to take immediate action – abandoning commitments here, to see what I could do.

In a nutshell … it’s like this. Ray is held captive and being interrogated aboard ‘THE ISCARIOT‘ (the largest and most dangerous stealth-aircraft on the planet) by Thaddeus, a self-confessed meglomaniac and sociopath. Thaddeus has a terrifying agenda – he believes the human race must be sacrificed to save the crippled, dying Planet Earth. (Quite!)

Ray – chaotic and crumpled, but a brilliant agent – works undercover in Mumbai’s notorious underworld of vice and corruption, where murder, betrayal and revenge run riot. Along with fellow agents Lincoln Hamilton and the beautiful Emerald Lake – the outcome of their mission will determine the survival or destruction of the human race …

Ray’s now been captured – so not a great scenario really.  Sometimes there really is no choice but for me to rush off and help resolve pressing international situations. Ray’s still in deep shit but – there may be a way out. Maybe.

‘ I N V A G E N T S ‘  (malayalam)

 – a 21st-century detective cyber-thriller by Andie Airfix to be published in November 2011

Now … back (slightly battle-scarred after Mumbai) to ‘THE BIG 4’ …

Not only did the simple ‘scratch’ idea connect the four disparate logo styles, it was effective in other elements of the packaging to create an overall ‘style’. (It always sounds pretentious to describe ‘style’, ‘graphic devices’ and ‘concepts’ in an area that’s usually for me something totally intuitive but this is an exercise in explaining the process involved in creating artwork – so bear with me. There will be enough visuals to clarify the words) So, still concentrating on finalising the most important design element – THE COVER – the ‘scratch’ was used for more typography needed for the cover/back cover and for other items in the packaging …

We then had ‘type’ elements (including James’ BIG 4 logo), and now we needed an amazing image to hang it all on. METALLICA had a great idea. What I love about the final choice of photograph for the cover is that it appear, at first glance, to be a close-up shot of a guitar pic – which it is – but on closer inspection we realise the shot is on a massive stage-screen. When you see Lars’ drum-kit on the lower right of the photo the perception of the image suddenly shifts – the scale now huge and entirely appropriate to the ambitious nature of the project. I experimented with a choice of different ‘pic’ photos and crop variations, assembled all the elements (it really wasn’t easy – SO MANY different elements) and sent the final composite to the band. Again, with a few minor amendments, the cover was approved almost immediately. We were on a roll …

Then came the rest of the packaging – an unbelievable number of different elements for the box-set – DVD’s, CD’s and wallets, a digipak for the DVD’s, a set of black and white photos, a poster, a 24-page booklet and a replica guitar pic. There’s nothing more exciting for me than the challenge of designing box-sets which really deliver the goods to fans. The joy of opening a package and discovering more and more and more is my design ambition – and certainly an ethos METALLICA have always nurtured to their credit. I HATE buying what’s supposed to be a ‘deluxe’ version of a commercial release to find hardly anything original inside it – just a re-hash of the basic elements used on the cover. Metallica could never be accused of not giving real value for money.

Here are three other DVD box-sets I loved working on.

Each was incredibly difficult creatively for so many reasons but … they all have one thing in common. Each artist I worked with appreciated the value of art and design and stretched my talents and capabilities to the limit – forcing me to solve problems and learn something new. Without such creative ‘clients’ I know I would not be so excited by what I do, or as satisfied and proud of what I have achieved. Sadly, the music industry is a different animal now. Opportunities for challenge on such an intense level are less frequent. The nature of instant access to music, via various websites, inevitably relegates the visual side of music to a much more basic, and therefore less exciting, level of creativity. Thankfully though, thanks to the METALLICAs of this world, who still recognise the value of great packaging …

… I’m still able to do this … Thanks guys!

Still to come on METALLICA posts …

… Hanging out with the band in Berlin for S&M,
… the Viper Rooms in LA,
… Lars at his most generous,
… mayhem as the METALLICA stage collapses in London,
… dinner with Lars at Nobu in London with two Very Special Guests,

… and much more …



4 Responses to “46. METALLICA Part Six – ‘Trouble in Mumbai & More BIG 4’”

  1. Top Posts — WordPress.com Says:

    […] 46. METALLICA Part Six – ‘Trouble in Mumbai & More BIG 4′ MALAYALAM … […]

  2. sundersayaju Says:


  3. Marko Says:

    Before reading your blog I had no clue how much work went to making artwork for album covers. And for that I thank you.

  4. Jason Jacob Says:

    check out: http://tinyurl.com/3plvtls – a great write up on the song Nothing Else Matters!

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