We took the theme of Heathen as someone who goes against the popular pre-concieved or ‘sacred’ notions, as Bowie has been for the majority of his career. This sacred could be values that people believe in, or new creativity which rides roughshod over what is regarded as ‘proper art’. The desecration of the old with a bold statement of the new is a constant in all areas of creativity. The design represents this by using the destruction of religious art as a symbol of this renewal or spitting on the past. At first shocking but having it own beauty and adding to it. It is also symbolic of the often melancholy atmosphere of the album.
The cover shows a picture of Bowie without his name. We wanted to have the absolute minimum number of elements on the cover, and Bowie is well-known enough to recognise from a photo. The title is upside down a symbol of something that is ‘against’ what we expect.
The text in the booklet is treated in a similarly desecrated form– Bowie’s ‘sacred’ lyrics are crossed out, scribbled over, hard to read, even though the style of the typography has almost given them a religious feeling. It is again a metaphor for the need for humans to evolve, change and go against what they have done before.