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blissblogger
08-12-2004, 01:34 AM
not sure whether to put this one in Art or here but:

any design-conscious sorts care to delineate a Canon for record sleeve design? Has one been drawn up within design circles?

this question was prompted by going into a trendy boutique in Miami at the weekend and seeing a monstrous fat coffee table style art book, full of record covers and posters and flyers designed by an outfit called Stylorouge (hopefully not garbled that in the memory), whom i'd never heard of. Wondered if they were in fact a big whiz in this field, something the cognoscenti were cognizant of but yer ignorant plebs and design middlebrows like myself wouldn't have known. Most of Stylogrouge's work seemed fairly obscure (the Passions!) and not all that amazing, but they were some well-known and striking designs in there -- the cover of Wild Things by the Creatures, Juju by the Banshees, a few others.

stelfox
08-12-2004, 12:16 PM
never heard of 'em but i think neville brody might have to be in there, not least because he went on to be quite a bigwig in the design world. however, if i had to put anyone up there with the greats, it would be tony mcdermott, who does all of greensleeves' design, including the great rhythm series - most of his stuff looks fabulous and as fars as bodies of work go, his is pretty epic.

owen
08-12-2004, 12:55 PM
didn't stylorouge do some pulp sleeves? or that might have been the designers republic...(who would probably also be in the canon here)
in terms of art/design circles having their own record cover canon, there is a taschen 1000 record covers book, which is full of amazingly ugly prog covers (hipgnosis and such...though peter christopherson's involvement with the latter is interesting- in the very heart of sub-dali prog horror, then creating the minimal/psuedo-corporate look with throbbing gristle's covers. i digress)
there's also peter saville of course; www.btinternet.com/~comme6/saville/ is fun- the fonts especially....

stelfox
08-12-2004, 01:09 PM
funny, i always loved peter saville, but then i went to an exhibition of his stuff a few years ago and en masse it just seemed too clinical and pretty much bored me daft. i think his designs are much better in one-off, sleeve-by-sleeve doses than they are when looked in a lump. it's also totally a question of taste, too!

carlos
08-12-2004, 02:23 PM
i have a book of hipgnosis work- found it for $2 at a used book store. i like the work fine- it's dreadful in a way but still very nteresting. book has a pic of christopherson in full 70s mode- sweater and mustache- it's great. he's credited as "photographer" (not designer) throughout most of the book, as i recall.

xero
08-12-2004, 04:57 PM
some of the more well known designers that come to mind are:

hipgnosis as mentioned seemed to monopolise in the seventies, I seem to remember tons of the sleeves in those old 'album cover album' books were by them. They're not all bad by any means, Led Zep's 'Presence', for instance, which was apparently art-directed by Peter Chistopherson

Assorted Images designer Malcom Garrett, epitomised the 80s, he did sleeves for the buzzcocks & later simple minds & duran duran

Neville Brody lots for cabaret voltaire, can't think of any others but there were quite a lot

Peter saville of course not only for factory but roxy music, peter gabriel & more recently Pulp & Suede

23 envelope/v23 vaughan oliver - did almost all of 4AD's sleeves I think & some other stuff - very idiosyncratic style, lush photography & typography

Mark Farrow Pet shop boys & that spiritualised one that looks like a box of pills

Me Company Some stuff for bjork comes to mind, their style is extremely recognisable, can't stand it mself

Designer's Republic a lot of warp's output & other stuff mostly electronica but also PWEI

Non-Format Do lots of leaf stuff which is pretty good & also wire magazine (mind you the cover of that new wire-tapper cd is pretty naff isn't it?)

the recent graphic design exhibition at the barbican had quite a big section on sleeve design. Maybe it was just their selection but you did come away with the impression that the golden-era had passed with the LP, the little cd covers just didn't really cut it

carlos
08-12-2004, 05:21 PM
stephen r. gilmore - nettwerk label in the mid 80s

jim thirlwell - aka foetus- i have about a dozen of his covers hanging in the room where i keep my turntables- along with three or four mid-period swans LPs- whose simple stark design (by Gira...?) i also love

puretokyo
09-12-2004, 12:04 PM
you did come away with the impression that the golden-era had passed with the LP, the little cd covers just didn't really cut it

Thanks for those tips, I'll have to look out for some of that stuff. But, I mean, lazy example, but surely TDR has had a pretty good shot at the CD format - here I'm thinking not just about the Warp output, although those mid-period autechre covers (chiastic slide particularly) were superb, but some of their stuff for Schematic eg Richard Devine's Lipswitch EP or the Lily of the Valley compilation, really pushed the 5" cd-case format to its limits... Agreed, 12"s lend themselves more readily, but surely a good designer's task is to work with their constraints?

I guess I probably agree that, all up, the 12" output looks better, but theres no good reason why decent designers shouldnt be able to make great CD sleeves.


And Hipgnosis, I seem to remember reading Peter having a big laugh at being at the heart of this ridiculous monster of awful prog design. He found it hideously amusing even at the time.

puretokyo
09-12-2004, 12:23 PM
And although I can't remember their name, the guys originally responsible for those wonderful fucking disgusting Southern Hiphop album covers from the late nineties - with the huge blings and stacks of computer generated cash and jewellery. Great stuff. That is definitely part of the canon!

I'm almost tempted to mention Alan McGee at this point as well.

Who did that sleeve for the first Mantronix album, that was recently ripped for the Diplo riddim 12?

xero
09-12-2004, 01:27 PM
And Hipgnosis, I seem to remember reading Peter having a big laugh at being at the heart of this ridiculous monster of awful prog design. He found it hideously amusing even at the time.

mm, I seem to remember that in the interview I read he was quite proud of doing that presence cover - he likes to have his cake and eat it tho I reckon, nowadays does commercial pop promos but sees no contradiction with the type of music he makes

john eden
09-12-2004, 02:01 PM
Jamie Reid - the book "Up They Rise" is well worth looking out for.

and more controversially, Gee Vaucher of Crass... not got her book yet.

Chinavision
09-12-2004, 04:13 PM
And although I can't remember their name, the guys originally responsible for those wonderful fucking disgusting Southern Hiphop album covers from the late nineties - with the huge blings and stacks of computer generated cash and jewellery. Great stuff. That is definitely part of the canon!


That would be Pen & Pixel I believe?

Also, Art Chantry sort of dominated the Pacific Northwest indie/garage scene for some time... he did a lot of record covers (and posters & flyers etc.) for area grunge/garage/punk bands, all silkscreened and very "lo-fi" looking. It was a look that everyone else in the area ended up copying, though now he's in St. Louis so it's popping up more there (though in truth it's become a pretty common style, that whole silkscreen, low-quality reproduction thing).

John Bitumen
09-12-2004, 11:11 PM
that julian house bloke, especially the bbc peel sessions one he did....

Woebot
09-12-2004, 11:21 PM
that julian house bloke, especially the bbc peel sessions one he did....

yay john! big up mr.house. i dont think this was one of his, but have a look at it anyway:

<img alt="stereolab_cover.jpg" src="http://www.woebot.com/images/dissensus/stereolab_cover.jpg" width="597" height="600" border="0" />

someone i've always been intrigued by is a bloke called ed thrasher. if you look on lots of the great quasi-independent records of the seventies you'll often find his name. for eaxample he was the art director on iggy pop's "lust for life", captain beefheart's "clear spot", just about EVERY reprise record. they're usually fantastic timeless designs, selfless and succinct. i suppose he dates from a time when the record industry was, to some extent, "unknowing", "un self-concious". i dont expect he ever got any credit, or that anyone knows his work, but then again i aint pumped his name into google yet ;)

redcrescent
09-12-2004, 11:43 PM
Reid Miles designing all those beautiful Blue Note sleeves, an instantly recognizable style even if you've never seen the cover of a particular album.
I really rate artists like Mati Klarwein (covers for Miles Davis -Bitches Brew, Live Evil...-, Santana, those Jon Hassell Fourth World albums, Osibisa...), Pedro Bell (Funkadelic/P-Funk/George Clinton/Parliament) and Ghariokwu Lemi (classic Fela Kuti & Afrika 70), too.

Woebot
09-12-2004, 11:45 PM
Reid Miles designing all those beautiful Blue Note sleeves, an instantly recognizable style even if you've never seen the cover of a particular album.
I really rate artists like Mati Klarwein (covers for Miles Davis -Bitches Brew, Live Evil...-, Santana, those Jon Hassell Fourth World albums, Osibisa...), Pedro Bell (Funkadelic/P-Funk/George Clinton/Parliament) and Ghariokwu Lemi (classic Fela Kuti & Afrika 70), too.

great choices redcrescent.

limonious (http://www.woebot.com/movabletype/archives/000735.html) also

redcrescent
09-12-2004, 11:51 PM
Great stuff - I knew that Stalag cover, but the one below it looks even nicer!

Woebot
20-12-2004, 07:49 AM
OK so everyone knows this one:

<img alt="gibbs1.jpg" src="http://www.woebot.com/images/dissensus/gibbs1.jpg" width="500" height="500" border="0" />

But what about this:

<img alt="gibbs2.jpg" src="http://www.woebot.com/images/dissensus/gibbs2.jpg" width="500" height="500" border="0" />

or this:

<img alt="gibbs3.jpg" src="http://www.woebot.com/images/dissensus/gibbs3.jpg" width="500" height="500" border="0" />

Absolutely lovely. A name on the Trinity one, this bloke could be the architect of all three: Trevor 'Godfearer' Lampbell.

Manuel
20-12-2004, 08:06 AM
speaking of trevors...how about trevor jackson? he's always credited with being a record sleeve designer for eric b and rakim, stereo mcs, soulwax, etc....

mms
20-12-2004, 08:39 PM
speaking of trevors...how about trevor jackson? he's always credited with being a record sleeve designer for eric b and rakim, stereo mcs, soulwax, etc....

i think he was trevor jacksons assistant for a time. my fave eric b and rakim sleeve is move the crowd.
eric b covering his eyes as if in prayer/moved to tears and at the same time showing off his lovely rings..seems to speak of what they were about, a kind of prosperity 5 percenter islam.

blissblogger
20-12-2004, 11:21 PM
ah, that's where Stereolab nicked their name and the cover of one of their albums (space age bacehlor pad?) then

Barney Bubbles -- graduated from Hawkwind covers to doing a lot of the characteristic Stiff covers esp singles by Ian Dury -- think he also did the animation video for costello's 'accidents will happen'

this should be in the other thread but contender for top 100 worst sleeves is the Hipgnosis one for steve hillage's Live Herald (a double live hillage that yes, i have bought--research, innit), it's truly hideous, really hard to describe though. when i get to grips with my new printer's scanning function i will post it up

Ach!
21-12-2004, 03:31 PM
If you've been to Tesco in the last five years then you'll probably appreciate how inspired this is:

<img src="http://www.amisexy.de/pictures/0/9/0980183d34b5e32b85c4d21d20f29744.jpg" width="424" height="424" border="0" />

<img src="http://www.amisexy.de/pictures/d/c/dcba573a8895550065e0a7bed1095ad4.jpg" width="424" height="424" border="0" />

But maybe you'll think it deserves to be in the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=205">Crap Cover Art</a> thread.

Whatever. 'Be There Or Be Square' is a blinding tune.