Barnbrook was keen to point out that when designing Blackstar, otherwise known as ★, he did not know that it was to be David’s final album. His illness was never discussed, the albums theme of mortality was of course but Jonathan didn’t guess it was about Bowie’s own impending mortality. The added pressure this would have put on the design was definitely unwanted. The main idea for the albums design obviously came from its title, Barnbrook decided to use the Unicode star symbol (U+2605), he drolly explained that because it was called Blackstar he decided ‘put a black star on it’. This literalness was inspired by contemporary emojis, and the experience of having met William Burroughs while a student at the RCA, who told him that in the future all type would be replaces by pictograms, symbols and hieroglyphs (Jonathan nailed a pretty good Burroughs impression explaining this). Not that this project was as simple as it sounds, Barnbrook developed was he was hesitant to describe as ‘a brand’ for the album, focusing on the different applications needed for a modern album release. Some people thought that the BOWIE spelt out through typographic stars was cryptic, Sony wanted an animation and voice-over to explain it, but it was supposed to be very self-explanatory. The vinyl needed to be special as a ‘physical object’ so its design made use of black on black printing, which in hindsight looks funereal but Barnbrook stressed that the colours reflect the “emotional landscape of the music” rather than Bowie’s private illness.