12 May 2015

Secret 7 artwork by Josiah Craven

Link: Josiah Craven
Link: Secret 7

This year's outstanding Secret 7 project featured contributions from Yoko Ono, Peter Blake, David Shrigley, Paul Smith and Erik Spiekermann alongside Plastic Circles favourites including Give Up Art, Optigram, La Boca and HORT. However, the initiative has also historically acted as a great showcase of upcoming talent.

One such fresh creative is Josiah Craven - a student on Leeds College of Art's BA (Hons) Graphic Design course - who managed to sneak seven of his artworks included within Secret 7's recent exhibition at Somerset House. That's one for every included track. Working as a set while also reflecting qualities particular to the individual records, his 7" single designs couple type-based constructions with art-directed photographic elements to culminate in a series of contemporary music/design artefacts. Sold off in aid of the Nordoff Robbins charity, the set has since been split but have been collected here for posterity.

20 April 2015

Jlin - Dark Energy artwork by Spencer Shakespeare and Fabian Harb

Link: Planet Mu
Link: Knives
Link: Dinamo

With A&R and art direction by Spencer Shakespeare's and Jamie 'Kuedo' Teasdale's KNIVES imprint/creative agency (although unleashed via the always forward-thinking Planet Mu), Jlin's Dark Energy long-player takes both footwork and record artwork seriously. The finished package also benefits from sizeable input from Fabian Harb of, type foundry, Dinamo and effectively will whet appetites for what's to come from a new type of collaborative practice. 

As Teasdale notes in an interview with FACT: 
"From the outset, we both knew that the label had to offer something individual in terms of validating its existence. Due to our collective interests and backgrounds, we also knew that this would somehow encompass visual art, graphic design and a collaborative working process."

2 April 2015

'Cargaa 1 EP' by HelloMe

Link: HelloMe 
Link: Warp 

The first of three Cargaa EPs that represents emerging Lisbon talent is released by Warp next week. Available as as a 12" and download, artwork comes courtesy of Berlin's HelloMe: furthering - as the bottom images suggest - the palette and clean aesthetic of their refresh of Warp's website. Although this time, coupling that Designers Republic 2.0 style with some more expressively daubed detailing.

12 March 2014

Michael and Mattis - 'Hoes Before Bros' artwork by Cordova-Canillas

Link: Cordova-Canillas
Link: Hivern Discs

Debut Michael and Mattis EP for the Hivern label comes with a sleeve art directed by Barcelona's Cordova-Canillas. A great project in its own right but even more impressive when you see how this artwork for the NewYork/Oslo duo is within the context of a broad yet cohesive portfolio that also includes some great editorial, digital and photography work.

17 January 2014

Kate Moross - Make Your Own Luck

Link: Kate Moross
Link: Studio Moross
Link: Prestel Publishing

Been excited about this since Kate Moross first mentioned it and now her first proper book-shaped round-up of occasionally triangle-obsessed work tops the graphic design pre-order list at Amazon. Although much more than a graphic designer, it also features her illustration output whilst simultaneously demonstrating advanced abilities as an entrepreneur and all-round inspiration. There's also a foreword by Neville Brody but Kate's own overview of her creative process already makes this an essential purchase.

Amazon link: Make Your Own Luck: A DIY Attitude to Graphic Design and Illustration

16 January 2014

Luke Vibert's Nuggets Vol. 3 by Non-Format

Link: Non-Format
Link: Lo Recordings

Boasting rare oddities from the Bruton Music label, Luke Vibert's third journey through the archives of lost synth-heavy library music is graced with some well crafted artwork from Non-Format.

Now up on their updated website (alongside their rightly lauded design for Black Devil Disco Club's Black Moon White Sun album), Kjell Ekhorn and Jon Forss have offered up the depiction of a curious object that simultaneously feels both modern and antique. The diagonals of its cryptic markings are carried through on the release's text with track titles and credits dropped into a multi-directional grid that similarly plays with another dichotomy: that of order and chaos.

6 December 2013

U2 - 'Ordinary Love' artwork by Oliver Jeffers

Link: Oliver Jeffers
Link: Record Store Day

It's probably not since Michael Cina's work for Matthew Dear that a sleeve with a painted portrait has been featured here. And this one, by Ireland's Oliver Jeffers, already had me overcoming my own indifference to U2 when it was released last week as a limited 10" vinyl pressing for Record Store Day. A song featured in the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, it suddenly has more resonance given the passing of its iconic subject.

3 December 2013

Debukas - I Am Machinery by Richard Robinson

Link: Richard Robinson
Link: Debukas
Link: 2020Vision

Available now is the Debukas album I Am Machinery on 2020 Vision. As already featured in full on the wonderful Collate, it incorporates a great custom typeface by the masterful Richard Robinson (that seemingly follows on rather nicely from his contemporary stencil-based re-design for Dummy).

30 October 2013

For The Record #6: Kate Moross

Link: Kate Moross
Link: Studio Moross
Link: Stiff Records
Link: Design Manchester 13
Link: Paul Gorman's Reasons to be Cheerful book

Ahead of her talk at Design Manchester 13 tomorrow (alongside Malcolm Garrett, Peter Saville and Mark Farrow, no less), Kate Moross selects the Kandinsky-inspired 1977 work by Barney Bubbles for The Damned's Music For Pleasure as her personal favourite sleeve.

"I didn't know what it was when I first found it but I loved it immediately," she says. "Some people will obviously know about Barney Bubbles but I still don't think he's had the recognition that he deserves. Not when you consider the amount of great work he did.

"I've got to know Bubbles' biographer Paul Gorman and he's said that he sees some of him in me. Not necessarily in terms of our styles... but it's a huge compliment."

Kate Moross' own book, Make Your Own Luck, is published by Prestel April 2014.

Manchester Confidential also has a feature on Design Manchester 13.

29 October 2013

Thomas Azier work by Ben Roth

Link: Ben Roth
Link: Thomas Azier

A long overdue post featuring work by the Berlin-based Ben Roth for electropop multi-instrumentalist Thomas Azier.

It's a monochrome series that is leading up to an eventual album release that comes complete with a moody aesthetic previously explored through Roth's work for the Vulture label. Roth has also developed another direction through a couple of colour-heavy sleeves for Alan Braxe and Benjamin Diamond that are also worth checking out.

20 May 2013

Various Artists - Interpretations on F.C. Judd by Optigram

Link: Optigram
Link: Public Information

Coming after last year's 35 track F.C. Judd collection, Electronics Without Tears, the Public Information label has invited Chris Carter, Perc, Pye Corner Audio, Holly Herndon, Mordant Music and more to reconfigure selected sounds from his extensive archive. Optigram has, in turn, delivered slick monochrome artwork to house crisp white vinyl. Limited edition with 500 copies worldwide plus substantially less exclusive/sexy digital versions.