If I think back to my distant youth the strongest influence that inspired me to do design at all would be album covers. I’m talking 12-inch vinyl, of course. Yes, I’m one of those.

Being a young, naive Cornish lad I had no idea it was called ‘graphic design’, and neither did anyone else around me. I did know that I liked what I saw. I used to pour over every nuance of the cover while listening to the record. More often than not the design would inform the music, adding a visual story to the aural.

So what to pick? There are so many, but these instantly came to mind. I loved the stark simplicity of Black Sabbath Vol 4 – it had power just like the music. Killing Joke’s first album seemed like a representation of pure post-Punk anarchy to me at the time. Until I realised it was kids on there – a twist, a message, a joke? Orgasm Addict by the Buzzcocks was highly provocative, something I just hadn’t seen before on any level. It also prompted my understanding of what ‘graphic design’ actually was. Do It Yourself by Ian Dury and the Blockheads had 12 different sleeves with different wallpaper on each married with overprinted typography. A simple idea beautifully executed.

I still own all my old vinyl and continue to value those wonderful covers as much as the music.

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