27 AUGUST, 2009
By: Maria Popova
Soy, swing and what the Grammys have to do with pop-up books.
The recording industry may be in serious trouble, and the album may have been declared dead, but that’s all the more reason to innovate.
That’s exactly what The Ditty Bops — a California duo who happen to make fantastic swing-era-inspired folksy, jazzy, delightfully eccentric music — did with their Summer Rains EP.
The beautifully engineered pop-out design is a whimsical piece of storytelling, adding a rich new layer to the musical narrative. Unsurprisingly, it received a Grammy nomination for “Best Recording Package.”
The album was designed by LA-based paper engineer Renee Jablow, whom The Ditty Bops found through a UK pop-up collector. (Read an interview with her about the project and the future of the music industry’s relationship with packaging on the wonderful package design blog, The Dieline.)
It’s hard not to love The Ditty Bops — besides the innovative music and aesthetic, they also helped pass America’s first plastic bag ban in San Francisco in 2007. Not coincidentally, the band was committed to making Summer Rains EP completely eco-friendly — the album package was made of 100% recycled paper and printed with soy ink, adding a whole new layer of production challenges to the already ambitious project.
But then again, what’s innovation if not the zest for imagining the impossible and then making it happen?