The title of the album refers to its original packaging, which consisted of a metal 16mm film canister embossed with the band's logo and containing three 12″ 45rpm records. It was designed by Dennis Morris and was innovative and inexpensive, costing little more to the label than the cost of standard printed sleeves for equivalent 12″ releases (although Virgin did ask for a refund of 1/3 of the band's advance due to the cost). Before the metal tin was finalised, there was discussion of the album being released in a sandpaper package that would effectively ruin the sleeve art of any records shelved next to it. That idea would later be realised by the Durutti Column for their 1980 Factory Records debut, The Return of the Durutti Column.
Virgin Records Deleted from the catalogue on 23 November 1979 after an initial release of 60,000 units