Designing a Harvest 7″

Most people into vinyl will probably be aware of Record Store Day coming up on April 16. 2011. I got a call from EMI to say they would be issuing a few exclusive 7″ vinyl singles on the day, available only through participating stores. One was going to be an archive Deep Purple single, using two rare BBC session recordings (from an upcoming CD/2LP album release). I got the job of designing the cover but the deadline (once the project was greenlighted – which took several days) was just a few hours, otherwise it would go out in a record company bag – and where’s the fun in that? Plus I struggled to remember when I last got to work on a 7″ cover…
I like a challenge, so dug around my archives and pulled out an original Harvest label bag, which was based on the logo designed by Roger Dean. I also had a single from Norway in 1970 which took this UK bag design and added pictures and titles to it (at a time when picture sleeves were very rare in the UK).

deep purple back night norway 1970
I thought it would be interesting to base the new sleeve on this. Scanning the Harvest bag produced mixed results, so to improve the art I redrew most of it using layers in Photoshop, the original had been done in pen and ink and under the scrutiny of a modern scanner all the flaws could be seen. Photoshop is not the best software for this sort of drawing work perhaps, but as it’s a programme I use a lot and I never got to grips with Illustrator much (and time was short).
The ‘new’ single featured two different line-ups of the group, so it was an obvious move to use two vintage publicity images of the time. I pushed the contrast and the last design move was to sample the original sleeve colours and overlay these on the new design. I was tempted to go on and add some aging and creases to give it a vintage look but time was up (I got Attic Records in York to let me have some very worn black disco 12″ bags which once scanned are great for this sort of blending).

deep purple hush BBC version limited edition sleeve 2011
I laid some rough text as a separate layer, knowing that EMI would need to edit this and add their own copyright info and other bits such as barcodes. Finally the finished photoshop images were uploaded to an FTP server.
My enjoyment at doing the design was somewhat tempered by the knowledge that I might not get to see a finished copy as the rules governing the scheme are quite tight, and the queues at our nearest indie store – Record Collector in Sheffield – are likely to be massive!
On this page I’ve shown the final cover and the original Norway one from 1970. Below are the original Harvest bag (courtesy John Coulthart) and a later bastardised update (courtesy Sam Holloway). In case anyone queries how a 1970 single ended up in a more modern sleeve, it’s a 1979 reissue.

harvest records bag original

harvest records bag later design



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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2 Responses to Designing a Harvest 7″

  1. Simon I love what you have done here and the way that you have explained the process is wonderful. Please please please can I have a copy or do I have to storm Picadilly Records in Manchester? Perhaps we will be able them online do you know?



  2. simon robinson says:

    Sorry Vince, I almost didn’t even get a finished copy myself! It turned out that the rules governing these special record store day singles are very strict to try and stop profiteering. I was out of town on the day putting up an exhibition and so couldn’t even queue up myself. Happily Barry at Record Collector here heard of my plight, got someone to buy me a copy, and then resold it to me at cost price. You don’t get that sort of personal service at HMV…
    I called EMI Sales the week after but the edition sold out in advance so they hadn’t got any left. There is a chance EMI might have a couple of review copies at the office, so will check this out next month when I’m down there and grab you one if possible…

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