Collector's Edition: the cover bomb series

Artists, designers and musicians including Stanley Donwood, Wayne Coyne, Nick Cave and Robert ‘3D’ del Naja have ‘cover bombed’ copies of limited edition packaging book Collector’s Edition. The one-off designs will be auctioned online by author Stuart Tolley to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Collector's Edition was published by Thames & Hudson in August this year and features over 180 examples of limited edition packaging, product and graphic design. Items featured include Björk's Biophilia box set, the Flaming Lips' gummy song skull and books designed by Jessica Hische, Irma Boom and Stefan Sagmeister.

The original cover

Tolley has now asked ten artists whose work appears in Collector's Edition to decorate a copy of the book to be sold via an online auction which opens tomorrow and closes on December 12.

"I always hoped to create a collector’s edition of the Collector’s Edition book," says Tolley, founder and director at creative agency Transmission. "The idea of an ‘artist cover bomb’ series came late in the project and only after my Nan died a few months before the book was published. She suffered with dementia for 15 years and I really wanted to create a project in her memory, that would help the Alzheimer’s Society," he adds. "The contributing artists were all incredibly generous with their time and have helped create a unique, one off handmade series that will help raise funds for a very good cause."

Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips), also pictured top

The book itself is a fascinating read, featuring interviews with designers and specially commissioned photography by Ivan Jones. Tolley says he had the idea for it around five or six years ago, but didn't think there was enough contemporary material to fill "300 pages" – until the renaissance of vinyl led to a wave of luxurious box sets.

"I was really interested in the Radiohead ‘In Rainbows’ boxset and consider it a pivotal moment in the new wave of multi format packaging. The limited edition box set was the most expensive, but it sold out very fast and in many cases people bought [it] alongside a digital version. They were essentially buying Stanley Donwood's artwork," explains Tolley.

"Collector’s Edition is a showcase for specialist music, magazine and book packaging, as these are the subjects I am most passionate about and the areas most affected by the digital environment. But as we move into the streaming era, it is the mid range mass produced formats such as CDs and DVDs that are suffering the most – limited deluxe editions are the opposite end of the scale to downloads and provide the space and opportunity for creativity and innovation. As a designer, I think this is worth celebrating," he adds.

Below is a selection of designs produced for the cover bomb series - for details or to bid for a copy, see

The Designer's Republic

Stanley Donwood

Jessica Hische

Oliver Jeffers

Nick Cave

Alec Soth

Peter Gabriel

Paul McCartney

Collector's Edition is published by Thames & Hudson - click here to order a copy, or visit to take part in the auction.