Celebrating Voyager’s Gold Record Message to Aliens with an Earth-Bound Repackaging

On August 31st, NextPage had the pleasure of hosting renowned Los Angeles graphic designer Lawrence Azerrad as part of our Lunch & Learn seminar series. His presentation, entitled “Lawrence Azerrad: Design + Music”, explored deepening our cultural connection to music and how to achieve this through design.

One of the topics Azerrad discussed was his current project of reproducing the Voyager Golden Record. When Voyagers 1 and 2 launched in 1977, each spacecraft had a golden phonograph record placed on board that contained a message from Earth to extraterrestrials. The records were loaded with various sounds, music, and images from Earth. Tracks included pieces from Bach, Beethoven, and Chuck Berry, plus West African percussion, humpback whales, human laughter, a heartbeat, and many other natural noises. Astronomer Carl Sagan created the records and now, 40 years later, Azerrad’s studio is releasing copies of it for humans on Earth along with a book of the images in a special beautifully designed box set.

“We felt like it was critical to design something physical, tangible that honored the legacy of this message in a bottle,” Azerrad said, “This is the only time that the images that are all etched on the grooves of the record are combined with the images that the Voyager sent back. This is the only existence of this record here on Earth, the other one is 13 billion miles away.”

Azerrad founded LADdesign and creates design and branding for such clients as Wilco, Sting, The Beach Boys, UC San Diego, Esperanza Spalding, Red Bull Sound Select, and Universal Music Group. He is also an advisory board member for AIGA’s Los Angeles chapter and an instructor at Art Center College of Design. His award-winning cover art for Wilco’s album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is credited with popularizing the Marina Towers in Chicago and giving them the nickname “The Wilco Towers.”

Watch Lawrence Azerrad’s entire presentation here: