Also a Grammy-nominated producer (“The Monterey International Pop Festival” boxed set, 1992; he also designed the 12″x12″ package and accompanying booklet), Gans has designed nearly all of Dylan’s album and book packaging, archival reissues and tour graphics since 1995.
Gans’ most recent Dylan project was designing the package for “The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Complete Basement Tapes” boxed set, released by Columbia Records in November 2014.
Rare Cool Stuff’s Gary Gonzales and associates at Dorado Packaging in North Hollywood printed the set’s companion book, “LO & Behold,” designed by Gans as well. The book is Rare Cool Stuff’s ninth and largest printed publication to date.
Musician Turned Graphics Designer
Based in Los Angeles, Gans, also a guitarist, launched his graphics career by creating images, posters and graphics packages for his and other local bands in the early 1980s, inspired by the work of classic LP cover designers like Gary Burden (Neil Young), Richard Evans (The Who) and Hypnosis Design (Pink Floyd).
His work led to a job as designer/art director in chief with the L.A. Reader alternative newspaper in the mid-1980s, where he met and became friends with up-and-coming movie director David Lynch by drawing the text for “The Angriest Dog in the World” on a weekly basis.
He then spent the next few years as art department chief for major independent label IRS Records, working primarily with REM, The Alarm, Concrete Blonde and Let’s Active. He was also responsible for creating graphics and LP covers for various IRS Records off-shoots and custom labels like Pangæa Records, where he designed covers for Fareed Haque, Steve Coleman and Astor Piazolla.
That led to a long-term position as Creative Director for Rhino Entertainment through the late 1990s. Beyond packaging for individual artists, Gans was also responsible for developing packaging and marketing strategies for all series releases, compilations and boxed sets, as well as designing all Rhino Entertainment corporate logos and branding graphics — including the rest shield logo still used today.
Gans also worked directly with several iconic artists such as Frank Zappa, Allen Ginsberg, Aretha Franklin, Todd Rundgren, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, and John Cale, helping them to realize their visions on the extensive projects Rhino put together for them. Most of those crazy and now rare(!) Rhino promo sampler CDs and T-shirts were conceived and designed by Gans, too.
Geoff Gans Design
As head of his own Geoff Gans Design operation since 1997, Gans has earned accolades for creating the packaging for projects such as The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” boxed set, working with Brian Wilson; Motown’s deluxe anthology series; The Grateful Dead’s “So Many Roads” live retrospective boxed set; several deluxe boxed sets and reissues for John Coltrane, including “The Complete Village Vanguard Sessions” collection; a custom boxed set for MCA Publishing; and many, many others.
Rare Cool Stuff Unltd.
In 2009, Gans and partner Gary Gonzales co-founded Rare Cool Stuff Unltd. Their early collaborations included Dylan’s “The Collected Single Sleeves” and “Time Passes Slowly” books, both part of Sony-released boxed sets; the “Prestige Album Cover Collection” book in partnership with Concord Music Group; and “The Singles Collection” vinyl boxed set for Creedence Clearwater Revival and CMG.
Rare Cool Stuff has co-produced photo books for the Morrison Hotel Gallery’s publishing wing as well, including Ken Regan’s Rolling Thunder Revue exhibition folio, John Botte’s “The 9/11 Photographs” book and photographer/MHG co-founder Henry Diltz’s “Unpainted Faces.” Gonzales also produced Jenice Heo’s “Neil Young Series” book for the gallery.