all my own work

This vinyl sleeve has been put together for the Darker Than Blue label, an off-shoot of the Purple Records catalogue. I really didn’t want it to be just a clone of the old CD edition, so set about tracking down a colour photograph of the band which was taken backstage before the concert itself. Old pop photographs are often hard to locate, many have gone missing over the years. The library which used to own these shots was called UPP (I visited there once in the 80s and was astonished by the material they had, including many fashion images shot on glass negatives). A bit of calling round showed that the library had been taken over by one of the big agencies, and although the image wasn’t on their system, once I gave them some details they were able to track it down and even turned up a second frame.

I wanted a kind of semi-classical album look for the front, given that the show was a rock band playing with an orchestra, hence the formal typography. I’ve specified printing on the reverse side of the card to give a nice matt surface. One of the fun things on a project like this is to add bits of small detail to the artwork, so I’ve added a graphic of an old record player arm into the label (from a 1950s Decca advert), and a much reduced contemporary shot of a girl and her hi-fi from an old Polydor easy listening cover just to see if anyone out there spots it.

Gemini Suite live vinyl

It’s a single sleeve but the record bag itself has notes and more pictures. I came up with special labels, but the icing on the cake was to get to choose the colour of the vinyl. Fingers crossed the German pressing plant gets it all right. It still feels weird sending electronic files off without seeing any proofs, but most digital printing systems only approximate the final cover anyway, so it isn’t really worth doing (beyond the enjoyment of seeing the job played out in physical form). In the old days, the artwork would go to a repro house, be made up into the CMYK film and sometimes put on a press to run a dozen or so flat proof sheets off for band and management to check the result. But then in those days you’d be running several thousand copies off, or more, so it made sense to catch any mistakes before pressing the green button. This album will be a limited run of about 1,000 only.


About simon robinson

Having worked as a designer mostly in the music industry, and mainly in the reissue sector, I now concentrate on the design and publication of books about popular culture - and even write some of them.
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