Bonobo ‘Cirrus’ picture disc

  • RELEASED: 18 May 2013
  • FORMAT: 12″ / DL
  • LABEL: NINJA TUNE
  • CAT No.: ZEN12357 / ZENDNLS357
  • DESIGN: Cirrus / Openmind / Leif Podhajsky
  • EXTRA ZEN: ninjatune page / BUY

12″ picture disc with zoetrope side and card viewer, made specially for attendees of a Bonobo gig at the Roundhouse, London. I took the original archive loops from Cyriak‘s incredible video for the track and broke them down into circular visuals to make a spinning animated version. Dating back to the first primitive animation techniques of our time, the zoetrope relies on a viewer to see the action happen.

This is included with the disc along with assembly instructions so that people can watch while the disc plays. See this film for an approximation of what the disc does when spinning. This is all rounded off by a beautiful Leif Podhajsky design on the reverse side.

The Herbaliser ‘There Were Seven’

T-shirt detail
  • RELEASED: 8th Oct 2012
  • FORMAT: LP / CD / DL / CDR promo
  • LABEL: DEPT H
  • CAT No.: DEPTHLP007 / DEPTHCD007 / DEPTHDD007
  • DESIGN: Openmind
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Matt Humphrey
  • EXTRA ZEN: BUY

Incredible stencil work by Snub23 for the ultra limited edition deluxe LP bundle. Each one comes with two printed heavy card inner sleeves inside a screen printed PVC sleeve with a download code.

The edition of 50 copies with hand-stencilled covers came with a poster and a T-shirt, all housed in the screen-printed plastic sleeve that came with the regular LP. These were signed and numbered with each being slightly different.

Various Artists ‘Ninja Tune XX’ box set

  • RELEASED: 20 Sept 2010
  • FORMAT: Book / 6×7″ / 6xCDs / 2xPosters / Sticker sheet / Slipcase
  • LABEL: NINJA TUNE
  • CAT No.: ZENBOX160
  • DESIGN: Openmind
  • ADDITIONAL ILLUSTRATION: Nigel Peake
  • SPOTTERS DELIGHT: Two double CDs were released independently from the box set in standard jewel cases. The ’20 Years of Beats & Pieces’ book contained in the set was a hardback version exclusive to the box.
  • EXTRA ZEN: ninjatune page / BUY

This set probably took six months to design but one element – the ‘Ninja Tune: 20 Years of Beats & Pieces’ book – was a year in the making with a full six months spent solidly on every visual aspect of it. Black Dog Publishing, renowned for their art, architecture, fashion and music books, were approached in the summer of 2009 with a view to publishing a book on the history of the label a year later. This was to be paperback only and was, originally, a standalone entity from the box set that eventually emerged. Stevie Chick was commissioned to write and me to design, including picture research, archive plundering, scanning and colour correction of over 1200 images, design and page layout.

Early in 2010 I met with label head Peter Quicke and A&R chief Simon Skevington to thrash out what exactly would be in the box and how exactly it would all come together. My original idea was to have several different formats included that would chart the progress of the label through the last two …

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Various Artists ‘Remember The Future’

  • RELEASED: Oct 2007
  • FORMAT: CD
  • LABEL: n/a
  • CAT NO.: n/a
  • DESIGN: Openmind
  • SPOTTERS DELIGHT: 75 copies, each disc has a different image
  • EXTRA ZEN: Listen / Download

Robots, mecha, androids, simulacra, I love them and, to commemorate the release on the first Transformers film in the summer of 2007 I put together a themed mix called ‘Remember the Future’ with the emphasis on the machine envisaged in the 50’s, 60′ and 70’s when space travel was still a new wonder of the world. The intro was Transformer-themed and I was doing a gig with Hexstatic a few months later for the release of their album ‘When Robots Go Bad’ so I decided to make up some artwork to go with it so that I could sell some at the gig. The outer cover was a folding version of the Autobot logo (I wanted to do a Decepticon but it didn’t lend it’s self as well to the task in hand). This held the disc inside, each one of which was printed with a different image of a robot cribbed from an online gallery of bots made from found objects.

The process took ages and I wondered what on earth I had been thinking as I estimated that each one probably took around an hour to assemble. Each disc had to be burned then printed with a unique image. Then a sleeve had to be printed (on both sizes because the tracklist was inside) hand cut and folded around the disc …

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Amon Tobin ‘Foley Room’

Back cover
Gatefold open
DVD attached inside gatefold
DVD disc on body
CD with inners + booklet back
CD/DVD contents
CD/DVD contents
Promo CD
DVD promo detail
'Bloodstone' 12" cover
original colour version of 12" cover
'Bloodstone' Promo CD single
12" labels
unused LP back cover design
early logo redesign tests
if it ain't broke, don't fix it, just change it a bit
first LP design ideas
more LP design ideas
even more LP design ideas
and more...
more...
we're getting there...
and we're done
Amon records robots
  • RELEASED: 21 Feb 2007
  • FORMAT: 2xLP + DVD / CD+DVD / Ltd CD+DVD / DL
  • LABEL: NINJA TUNE
  • CAT No.: ZEN121 / ZENCD121 / ZENCD121X / ZENDL121
  • DESIGN: Openmind
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Nicholas Casonova, Julie Elie, Marianne Allard
  • SPOTTERS DELIGHT: Additional DVD attached to the inside of the vinyl gatefold, limited gatefold digipak CD/DVD, pdf booklet with iTunes download, individual track images with download from Bleep.com
  • EXTRA ZEN: ninjatune page / BUY

During my long association with Amon I have always tried to progress the themes and graphics in the artwork with each release. ‘Foley Room’ was no exception and started with a subtle revamp of his logo, something that started life as a typeface made by graffiti artist She One and has since morphed this way and that into what it is today. After initially starting from scratch with an entirely new logo and getting nowhere I made the original spikier and sleeker, cutting sections diagonally to make it seem like it would cut you if  touched.

For this record Amon had made a series of field recordings of sounds that he then sampled and used as the bulk of the record structure. He’d also had the good sense to document these trips on both film and photo for a DVD to be included with the record. He wanted photography used in the artwork that would show everyday situations and tally with his field trips but he didn’t want it to be a literal document – he wanted …

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Coldcut ‘Mr Nichols’

  • RELEASED: Sept 2005
  • FORMAT: 12″ Promo
  • LABEL: NINJA TUNE
  • CAT No.: ZEN12172P
  • DESIGN: Openmind / Matt Black
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: n/a
  • EXTRA ZEN: ninjatune page / BUY

Oh, this could have been so beautiful. At the beginning stages of promoting Coldcut’s ‘Sound Mirrors’ album it was decided to do a one-sided 12″ promo with an etching which was to be limited with the bulk of the copies being exported to Japan. It featured the track ‘Mr Nichols’ with Saul Williams, an excellent slow burner which wasn’t exactly chart single material but deserved a space to shine. My brief was to make it ‘a desirable object, something people would really notice and want to own’ – presumably to create a buzz about both the music and Coldcut’s return after years without a major release. Bear in mind this was the first instance of a new Coldcut product so I was starting with a completely clean slate, trying to give shape and direction to something that would turn into a giant behemoth of a project by the time the DVD was released after four singles and the album.

I originally wanted to do clear vinyl with the lyrics reversed so that they could be read through the grooves but that wasn’t to be, I wanted a black rubber sleeve with embossed a Coldcut logo, no again. Eventually Matt hand wrote the lyrics into a fresh metal plate but I still have a test pressing of my version with the reversed lettering.

Amon Tobin ‘Chaos Theory’ (Splinter Cell 3 soundtrack)

Transparent screen printed slipcase detail
CD back with transparent screen printed slipcase
CD tray back cover without slipcase
CD tray inside
5.1 Audio DVD
5.1 Audio DVD on body
5.1 Audio DVD back
5.1 Audio DVD tray inside
5.1 Audio DVD booklet page
5.1 Audio DVD booklet page
5.1 Audio DVD booklet pages
5.1 Audio DVD booklet pages
Completed main image
Build-designed slipcase (2nd version) (unused)
Build-designed slipcase (2nd version) mock up with die cuts (unused)
Build-designed slipcase (2nd version) mock up with die cuts (unused)
Build-designed slipcase mock up (1st version) with die cuts (unused)
  • RELEASED: 18 Jan 2005
  • FORMAT: 2xLP + Poster cover/CD+slipcase / DVDA / DL
  • LABEL: NINJA TUNE
  • CAT No.: ZEN100 / ZENCD100 / ZENDVA100 / ZENDL100
  • DESIGN: Openmind / Splinter Cell
  • SPOTTERS DELIGHT: Ltd. foldout poster cover with screen printed PVC sleeve with vinyl, screen printed slipcase with CD, PAL & NTSC versions of DVDA
  • EXTRA ZEN: ninjatune page / BUY

What a bugger this was to get off the ground. For those who don’t know, Splinter Cell is a computer game based on the novels of Tom Clancy and a highly successful one at that – this being the 3rd installment. Dealing with major companies in other areas is immensely time consuming, frustrating and tedious, neither side fully understands the others needs and both want their own way. When Amon recorded the soundtrack for this computer game Ninja decided to release it and suitable artwork was needed that appealed to both the computer game’s audience and Amon’s fans. Putting a straight image from the game on the cover was never a consideration but the record needed to use elements of the game graphics to tie the two together.

Splinter’s Cell’s premise is based on a soldier running around with night vision goggles on, shooting all manner of foes and most of it takes place in the rain and in the dark. I was sent a load of layered graphics and logos and – jumping on from the ‘Remixes and Collaborations’ artwork – I envisaged some sort of potential creature / foe …

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Various Artists ‘HEAD’ (DJ Food Re-score)

  • RELEASED: 2004
  • FORMAT: DVD
  • LABEL: n/a
  • CAT No.: n/a
  • DESIGN: Openmind
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Doug Smith, Osymyso, Alice Cersole, Mark Cantwell
  • SPOTTERS DELIGHT: Each DVD featured a different random flyer from the Dublin gig
  • EXTRA ZEN: Discogs page

I made a very limited edition number of DVDs of a studio recording of my ‘Head’ rescore synched to the original film and printed up sleeves on reflective card to mimic the original album’s packaging. Each DVD had one of seven different flyers from the Dublin performance inserted into the package as the promoter had gone to town and made a set of cigarette card-style flyers depicting scenes from the film and had a load left over after the night.

The graphics on the sleeve are largely taken from the original film promotional material but also include photos taken by people at some of the performances, more of which are included on a slide show as a DVD extra along with flyer art from the shows. A list of the ten performances with dates and locations is also inside as well as a teaser for the next DJ Food album… I especially like the DVD on body disc design for this as it is so simple but effective.

Cinematic Orchestra ‘Man With A Movie Camera’

DVD book + slipcase
DVD inside page
DVD inside spread
DVD intro page
DVD gallery page
DVD gallery intro page
A2 promo poster
magazine advert
Deluxe heavyweight vinyl reissue
gatefold sleeve open
original sketch and first logo version from the 'Every Day' album era
  • RELEASED: May 2003
  • FORMAT: 2xLP / CD / Ltd DVD
  • LABEL: NINJA TUNE
  • CAT No.: ZEN78 / ZENCD78 / ZENDV78
  • DESIGN: Openmind
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Carl Fox
  • SPOTTERS DELIGHT: Book edition DVD, heavyweight card LP repress in 2012
  • EXTRA ZEN: ninjatune page / BUY

The original idea for this came about during the mass of artwork created for the ‘Every Day’ album a year earlier and a version of the ‘cameraman’ logo was even included on the band’s bass drum on that record’s cover. As MWAMC is essentially an expanded rework of ‘Every Day’ including the track that gave the album it’s title, it seemed apt to continue the theme. The actual ‘cameraman’ figure was drawn in about 20 seconds and then given a camera to hold and for a head from images sourced on the web. I remember why it was so quick because, after I had drawn it, I knew I had nailed something incredibly quickly that was visually instant in response to the title.

For the MWAMC cover I reworked the hand down at his side as this was very basic on the ‘Every Day’ version and I knew it needed something a little more defined. The whole look was supposed to be evocative of eastern European film posters of a certain era, basic, flat graphics and minimal text. It could have been black and white but I added touches of red just to pick out certain things and also to allude to ‘Every Day’ as the main …

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Player ‘Angel of Theft’

  • RELEASED: 2004
  • FORMAT: 1-sided etched red vinyl 12″
  • LABEL: n/a
  • CAT No.: BLOOD00 1
  • DESIGN: Openmind / Sixtoo (after Slayer & Def Jam)
  • EXTRA ZEN: Discogs page

Another boot I had the pleasure of designing was a ‘makeover’ of Slayer’s ‘Angel of Death’ by a well known producer and his label manager who I may have done a few designs for in the past. Being a massive fan of both the ‘Reign In Blood’ and ‘South of Heaven’ albums I could really get my teeth into this and immediately set about retooling the Slayer logo into a Player one with turntable arms instead of swords. The Def Jam logo (Slayer’s original label) was bastardised too into a not too subtle signpost to the authors and it was decided that this would be pressed on blood red vinyl (of course) with an etching on the reverse.

I went through various designs for the etching, some of which were not possible simply because the etching process at the time was unable to cope with the detail (story of my life). An original design of spiraling inverted crosses bit the dust for this reason as did the Player logo. Eventually an inverted Star of David was used which wasn’t ideal but did the job. Here are various different label designs and etchings that didn’t make it. Oh and the ‘Angel of Theft’ lettering was by Sixtoo.

RolitoTune NinjaBoy

  • RELEASED: 2004
  • FORMAT: Toy
  • LABEL: Rolito / Toy2R
  • CAT No.: N/A
  • DESIGN: Openmind & Rolito
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Openmind
  • SPOTTERS DELIGHT: There are reportedly very rare sitting versions out there but I’ve never seen one.
  • EXTRA ZEN: Rolitoland

An email from the mysterious ‘Rolito’ arrived one day in 2003 with an offer of being one of 6 designers to customise a new line of toys he was making. Each toy had a tiny body and a large, dome-shaped head inside of which was another, smaller, stash box. I was intrigued as I’ve been a fan of the vinyl toy ‘thing’ since Michael Lau came out with his Crazy Children around 2000 and the thought of having my own one was something that appealed greatly. The other thing that appealed was that Rolito had a crazy website based around a load of characters he had created that inhabited Rolitoland. There was little or no explanation about these creatures but the attention to detail and graphic ideas were more than enough to hook me in.

The brief was open and I decided to adapt my Ninja logo around the toy using various different existing graphics and logos to make a ‘RolitoTune Ninjaboy’. The process for getting the graphics onto the toy were slightly limited so I wasn’t able to do some of the things I wanted to. I suggested we include a 3″ CD in the package with a selection of Ninja music to add to the promotional aspect of the …

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