Lets bring it back to 140 (+K-pop collectability)

Ayo GG! It’s inspiration time again.

Girls’ Generation – I Got A Boy (2013)

What’s so great about this?

It’s such a… a thing. A nice object, something you can keep coming back to and noticing more details of. The graffitti style motifs (one specific to each of the girls), the extra little flowery twists on the woodblock style type, Jessica Jung looking like a doll (omo, how are these girls even slightly real?), the insane mish-mash of styles and colours (and also the abuse of the font Lobster in all caps. All those flourishes together… No thanks). I do like the packaging overall even if some of the details are a little odd or grating (type in caps probably only bothers designers). The sheer brightness of it is k-pop in a nutshell. Try doing this anywhere else and it’d look like an identity crisis (well, it still does but sometimes k-pop works on the concept that a load of different concepts piled together are in fact one concept). My favourite part is the area on the back/inner front cover where all the motifs are used to create a repeating pattern.

Then there’s the collectability. Great for the record label, possibly not so great for fans’ wallets. Unwilling to go for the usual album + individual photocards, we’ve instead been given individual album designs. The nine girls each had their own version, plus one group version. That’s 10 possible covers! Each has their own distinct photobook, colour scheme and motif.

There are some downsides though. 10 covers mean if you want a certain member’s version, you might be out of luck. Mine is the Jessica version. Personally I think it has the best colour scheme out of the 10, although I like the photoshoots of some of the others more. And I really dislike the boy illustration/motif that Jessica got for her cover sticker, but again it’s personal preference.

See what I mean? And I’m not even a cover collecter. Some fans will hunt high and low to collect the version of their bias (favourite member of the group).

The other downside to this packagaing is the CD holder. While the front booklet is protected by the plastic slipcover, the disc is only held n place by a little bit of foam. Mine arrived having fallen off in the post (undamaged, thankfully). Other unboxings show the same having happened to other people, and their discs were brand new and shrinkwrapped! This album isn’t really travel friendly. I’m sure they sit nicely on a shelf though.

Want to see more?

Scroll over the version you’d like to see to be linked to the full unboxing or check out the version from my photos below:

The main box is a large rectangle format (slightly bigger than A5) that has the photobook in a tray at the front held in by a transparent plastic sleeve. The disc is held in an indent in the foam backing of the box, with a transparent disc cover featuring the girl whose version you have.

Bonus stage! : K-pop and Collectability

K-pop likes collectibles. While in the Western market that sort of thing is limited to special editions with small runs that come in a fancy box or have a poster and some extra tracks, k-pop believes everyone should be able to join in the fun. Yes, there are the super-duper-special-deluxe editions of certain things (although that happens more often with J-pop and Japanese releases), the best way of doing this appears to be the humble photocard. You buy your album or EP, open it up and out falls a picture of one of the group members. Haven’t got your bias? Trade it online, or buy another copy and cross your fingers. I wouldn’t count myself as a bias-collecting sort of person, but even I’ve been oddly disappointed or pleased by the card I’ve gotten in a new album. It’s playing on that Pokemon card idea of “gotta catch ’em all”.

There are some more problems for collectors. There can be Version A and Version B cards for ever individual member plus group shots. Sometimes there are limited runs of individual member cards, and everyone else gets the dreaded group card. Also there is the horror that is the “repackage” or re-release with new artwork and a bonus track or two, which never comes with a card. Buying second hand? The card will most likely be missing.

What’s a collector to do?

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Gee Gee GG

Over Easter, my computer had a bit of a breakdown. You don’t realise quite how much data you have until you’re worrying that it might all be gone. Luckily, I haven’t lost a great deal (some dummy WordPress posts from my virtual server, a few old saved games that I probably won’t ever want again). It’s definitely time to give my brand new hard drive’s contents a spring clean!

Going through some of my old image folders I came across these. I think that was my reaction to hearing Girls’ Generations “The Boys” for the first time (it isn’t strongest single imho), and then Gee (which, on the popularity-on-YouTube scale at least, probably is).

Girls' Generations : The Boys escottdesign.wordpress.com

Girls' Generations : Gee escottdesign.wordpress.com

(I will stop posting k-pop related things one day, honest.)

Regular work projects, WordPress dev-ing and the Hipster Science graphics aside, I’m in the middle of finishing off something a bit newer which involves toast…

Retr-oh!

K-pop inspiration today, and it’s back to 2010 when packaging hadn’t gotten quite so out there for Girls’ Generation.

Girls’ Generation – Oh! (2010)

What’s so great about this?

By k-pop standards it’s pretty simple, but my favourite thing about this album is the photobook layout. Beautiful photography set inside bright block coloured frames using retro style fonts in circles to introduce the girls. The tone of the design is perfectly matched to the bubblegum pop of the music while being quite stylish. Girl groups usually have an aeygo (the Korean term used to express cuteness) phase in their career, and this album was where SNSD were coming to the end of theirs. It’s cute while being trendy.

Want to see more?

The album comes in a medium format book (almost A5) with the CD held in with a foam tab at the back. The back and front covers fold out showing more photography and type (similar to SHINee’s Romeo. SM Entertanment, their agency, clearly went through a phase).

Any more info?

The 9 member girl group Girls’ Generation (otherwise known as So Nyeo Shi Dae, Soshi or SNSD for short) are probably the most popular female pop group in the world. Despite only having released 1 track in English (IMHO, not their best), their popularity outside of Korea (and Japan, where they’ve also had localized language releases) always seems to be on the rise. I Got A Boy reached 20 million videws on YouTube faster than even PSY’s Gagnam Style. In November 2013 they won best music video at the YouTube Music Awards with more votes than all the other acts combined (and those included One Direction, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. Never underestimate how much k-pop fans love a voting competition).

Girls’ Generation homepage (Kr)
(Warning: Loud music on autoplay. Stop it, SM. Really. Just stop.)