What’s The Story on Bespoke Packaging?

Key Production has made a name for itself in bespoke packaging, repeatedly pushing the creative boundaries in format presentation. The company has recently been at the helm of putting together one such collection following the brief from Oasis’ record label Big Brother Recordings: the 25th-anniversary celebration editions of the first three Oasis releases.

The trilogy, referred to as the ‘Chasing the Sun’ series, consists of lavish and extremely collectible versions of the beloved albums Definitely MaybeWhat's The Story, Morning Glory? and Be Here Now. Our resident writer and admitted Oasis super fan Jennifer Bickerdike sat down with Ian Gowans, Supply Chain Manager at Key, to discuss what makes such high-end packages worthy investments. Having worked alongside the label on all of the deluxe versions of the classic LPS, Ian was perfectly positioned to explain the process of creating a bespoke product and why they are special for fans.


Jennifer Bickerdike (JB): What is the most important element in creating an appealing bespoke package?

Ian Gowans (IG): To make a good bespoke item, you need all of that extra, unique content. Otherwise, all you're doing is rehashing something in more expensive packaging.

JB: What was the objective when putting together the Oasis series?

IG: The main idea from the label was to curate a lot of audio. There was a lot of extra content that had never seen the light of day. Noel and Liam [Gallagher] with their label Big Brother Recordings spent a lot of time choosing what bits to include. It was important to have pieces that reflected each unique time period for individual albums. This could have been merch items that were available back when the LPs first came out, iconic images taken by rock photographers of the day, and of course sleeve notes. All three of these particular pieces were designed by a legendary designer called Brian Cannon and his company Microdot. He put together a lot of the artwork for each bespoke set so it would really appeal to collectors.

JB: What is your exact job in the creation of the bespoke items?

IG: My role is facilitating the idea of what content people want to put into a package and making sure what comes out at the end is as good as everybody expects it to be. For example, Big Brother Recordings and Brian Cannon would come up with ideas. Then it's about what we at Key are able to do, how much content can you fit into the box, how's everything going to be designed, as well as where and if we can source everything. You may be looking at many different factories to make certain specific items. It’s crucial every intricate step is done properly. This usually involves many trips to different places to make sure they're doing things right, and that the quality of the end product is of an excellent standard.

JB: What is the craziest thing like that someone has asked you to make?

IG: We had the band Super Furry Animals request that fur from the suits they use as stage costumes be put into the records. We were able to do this, which was really cool.

JB: For a uber-fan like me that may already have all of the songs and traditional releases of a favourite artist, what are the benefits of bespoke packaging in your humble opinion?

IG: As a creator, it means you're not working to the limits of what has been done before. You're able to be a lot more inventive. Everything is limited edition. It allows a fan to get something that there is only going to be a few of and has been curated lovingly by stakeholders that really care. It’s actually quite good value for money. If it's done properly, bespoke is wonderful. If you're going to put out something that's really deluxe, make it Deluxe.