Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Jewel Case

"Jewel cases are an incredible phenomenon of bad design form, function, handling, storing, material, and tactile quality on a huge scale. I cannot believe they're still used in ways other than irony." Cristof Steinmann, Spezialmaterial

So far in this blog, I think it's true to say that I've only written about what I think to be good design. This post however, will be different. I agree with the quote above - the jewel case is one of those pieces of design that we come in contact with a great deal in day to day life and is one with huge flaws.

Here's my list:
  • The brittle plastic hinges are prone to break
  • Any pressure applied to the front or back panel can easily cause cracks
  • The central spindle often breaks into small pieces that can scratch the CD
  • The paper booklet is very difficult to remove
Sometimes you have to wonder how items with such design flaws are so widely used. I am pleased to see that a newer, stronger jewel case is being used by some artists, and that digipacks are being used in more and more cases. I'll end this post with a quote from a graphic design hero of mine, Stefan Sagmeister:

"I prefer cardboard packaging because it ages much more beautifully"

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