Packaging Review – Coexist – The XX

Buying an album is more than just music – it’s an experience.

In a world where iTunes downloads and Spotify are becoming the norm, I really appreciate the effort’s some bands go to when putting out their latest release.

Even as a creative and an avid music listener/gig-er/packaging enthusiast I’ve noticed that I too buy fewer and fewer releases and rely on Spotify/online streaming to hear new albums. But when a band I like takes the time and effort to release something extra special I find myself unable to resist adding it to my music collection. Even if I still end up listening to it on Spotify, there’s an amazing experience opening and admiring the design behind such packaging.

I’ll be taking a look at the XX’s second album, Coexist, special edition release – a box set I still enjoy as much now as I did when I bought it last year.

As a not I won’t really be discussing the actual music, but focussing on the packaging. I’d definitely recommend checking out the album and you can read the Guardian’s review here.

01 – The vinyl, CD and artwork are stored in a crisp, white, diecut gatefold sleeve.

02 – Opening the sleeve and removing the booklet reveals a fantastic ‘double diecut’ logo through the entire front half.

03 – The goods! I love the flat white stock punctuated with the intense colour bursts through the diecuts.

04 – The practical! It takes some creativity to make a CD interesting (I often find this to be the most unexciting, ironic considering this has the music you’re after) but the X of colour printed onto the disc looks great as it’s revealed through the diecut sleeve.

05 – The fun! Vinyl is such an interesting format and despite the switch to downloads, vinyl seems to be resurfacing as a popular format. There’s something about the simplicity in this design that really grabs your attention. Again the X being slowly revealed as you remove the vinyl from the pure white sleeve is exciting.

06 – Inside the booklet. One of the reasons I particularly admire this packaging is the juxtaposition between the smooth white sleeves and the intense bursts of colour inside.

07 – The booklet contains a double page spread for each track, the type set in Avant Garde to the left and an amazing work of art in it’s own right to the side.

08 – The 12inch square booklet really grabs your attention and allows some amazing crisp detail in the printing.

09 – Minimal and classy. The whole release features hardly any typography but the few bits set in Avant Garde look strong and balance the intensity of the colours.


  1. Alex

    Great review and some lovely pics too. Question for you – what would you have done differently? Cheers

    • Peter Dyer (Author)

      Thanks for the feedback Alex! I’m not sure if there’s much I would change with this packaging, but it would be interesting if you could have other bits of the artwork showing through the die cut

  2. Hi Peter,
    Thanks for the positive review of the sleeves. The idea was that each track had a corresponding visual and they were revealed as 7″ single sleeves.


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