Where’s the Classic Cover Art?

Few contemporary classical music labels acknowledge the relevance of good sleeve design. Spanish label,
Glossa Music, bucks the trend (recent work shown above) but new book, Classique, aims to show that,
since the 50s, there have in fact been many LP designers who realised the strength of a decent sleeve
Is it fair to say that classical music still suffers from a bit of an image problem? If so, this may in some part be due to the kind of sleeve artwork that graces the majority of releases. While contemporary labels like Glossa Music and ECM Records are exceptions to this (the latter uses beautifully minimalist designs, for example) the regular use of a composer’s brooding portrait isn’t necessarily going to entice any new listeners. Which is odd considering classical music’s pedigree in showcasing new design talent, as Horst Scherg’s extensive new book, Classique: Cover Art for Classical Music, reveals…

Glossa1
Few contemporary classical music labels acknowledge the relevance of good sleeve design. Spanish label,
Glossa Music, bucks the trend (recent work shown above) but new book, Classique, aims to show that,
since the 50s, there have in fact been many LP designers who realised the power of a decent sleeve

Is it fair to say that classical music still suffers from a bit of an image problem? If so, this may in some part be due to the kind of sleeve artwork that graces the majority of releases. While contemporary labels like Glossa Music and ECM Records are exceptions to this (the latter uses beautifully minimalist designs, for example) the regular use of a composer’s brooding portrait isn’t necessarily going to entice any new listeners. Which is odd considering classical music’s pedigree in showcasing new design talent, as Horst Scherg’s extensive new book, Classique: Cover Art for Classical Music, reveals…

Starting with the 1950s obsession with two-colour geometric shapes, through to penchants for abstraction, bold type, psychedelia and downright surreal illustration in the 80s, Scherg reveals a world where the sleeves of classical music long-players prove to be anything but fusty. Classic, indeed. Here is just a selection of highlights from his new book which is published by Die Gestalten Verlag (£37.50).

All captions, where available, run as label, country, year, designer.

Classique 5
Clockwise from top left: Odyssey, USA, 1973, CD: Henrietta Condak // Columbia, USA 1959, CA:
Designers Collaborative // Concerteum, 1950s, CA: IKA-Paris – Manquette Planet

– – – – – – – – –

Classique 1
Clockwise from top left: RCA, USA, 1958 // Jerusalem, 1984, CD: Michael Horton, CA: Yitzak Greenfield
// CBS, 1980, CA: Virginia Team // CBS, 1976, CA: Martin Lamm

– – – – – – – – –

Classique 2
Left to right: Mercury, France, ca. 1965, CA: Paul Coupille // Supraph, 1968, CA: Stanislav Vajce

– – – – – – – – –

Classique 3
All three: Decca, UK, 1960 (Beatrice Lillie: back cover)

– – – – – – – – –

Classique 4
Left to right: DGG, Germany, 1956, CA: Atelier du Cret // DGG, Germany, 1959

– – – – – – – – –

Classique 6
Left to right: Unicorn, UK, 1970, CA: Heinrich Fuseli, “Albtraum” (Frankfurter Goethemuseum) // Virgin,
1988, CD: Mantis Studio, London, CA: Paul Gildea

– – – – – – – – –

Classique 7
Left to right: Decca, UK, 1959 // Decca, UK, 1960

– – – – – – – – –

Classique 8
Philips, Netherlands, ca. 1950s

– – – – – – – – –

Classique cover

More at Die Gestalten Verlag’s Classique page.

What's the story?

The Storytelling issue, Oct/Nov 2017, is out now.
We invited writers to respond to our cover image
this month: read their stories inside.
PLUS: Tom Gauld, Oliver Jeffers, Giphy & S-Town

Buy the issue

The Annual 2018

The Creative Review Annual is one of the most
respected and trusted awards for the creative
industry. We celebrate the best creative work from
the past year, those who create it and commission it.

Enter now

DESIGNER

South East London

CREATIVE TEAM LEADER

Burnley, Lancashire (GB)