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Digital Subscriptions > Long Live Vinyl > Jul-18 > COVER STAR VAUGHAN OLIVER

COVER STAR VAUGHAN OLIVER

As the visual mastermind of the 4AD label, Vaughan Oliver designed some of the most artful sleeves of the 80s and 90s. Murray Stassen finds out how the label’s organic aesthetic evolved…

Most of the artists and photographers we’ve featured in these pages are freelancers who have worked for a variety of clients over the years. Vaughan Oliver is an exception, a man whose work – over more than three decades – has been largely commissioned by and become synonymous with one label alone: 4AD.

Working alongside colleagues such as photographer Nigel Grierson and Chris Bigg as 23 Envelope and later v23, Oliver pioneered an instantly recognisable style of sleeve design – at times otherworldly and mysterious, often striking, and usually featuring immaculately styled typography. He’s a unique sleeve designer with a body of work that can genuinely be described as beautiful, and his style was crucial in positioning the label at the artier end of the UK independent scene.

Unlike other designers who became sidetracked into a career in the music industry, Oliver had decided as a teenager that he wanted to design record sleeves. “It was in my thoughts before I started out, really,” he reveals, sat in his archive at The University For The Creative Arts in Epsom, where he teaches as a visiting professor.

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About Long Live Vinyl

Issue 16 of Long Live Vinyl hits the shelves on what would have been Prince's 60th birthday. Our cover story focuses on the astonishingly prolific decade between 1978-88, when the Purple One released 10 albums that shaped the future of pop. We also round up the 40 essential Prince releases on vinyl that your collection should not be without and profile the cover art that accompanied his remarkable catalogue. Elsewhere this issue, we speak to The Smiths legend Johnny Marr about how he made his best solo album yet – Call The Comet – in his home city of Manchester, hear how Josh T Pearson raised the bar with his own latest record, and sit down for a chat with post-punk icons Wire. In our packed features section, we find out which record changed everything for former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler and meet famous 4AD artist in residence Vaughan Oliver to talk through his classic designs for the Pixies, The Breeders and Cocteau Twins. Also this month, we turn the spotlight on a label that's become a Chicago institution with a mind-bogglingly diverse roster – Drag City, Mark Elliott travels to Belfast for his latest cratedigging adventure in The Trip, and we take an in-depth look at the making of Carole King's career highlight, Tapestry. If all that's not enough, our packed reviews section rounds up new releases and reissues by The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, The Orb, Kamasi Washington, Let's Eat Grandma, Richard Hawley and many more, plus you'll find expert hardware buying and HIFI DIY advice, as well as turntable, speaker and accessory reviews. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers. Pick up your copy today!