Design for music / Music and design | St Bride Library, 29 January 2010

[Book tickets online]

8.45 Registration

9.30 Introductions


Adrian Shaughnessy reviews his working life as music-besotted designer, with strong opinions on every aspect of music design, from the hyper-professionalised mainstream to the extreme margins.

Adrian Shaughnessy is a graphic designer and writer based in London. He has written three books on record sleeve design, most recently Cover Art By: New Music Graphics (2008) which overviews the current scene in music graphics both in the UK and internationally. He writes regularly for Eye and Creative Review, and has a monthly column in Design Week. He also hosts a radio show called Graphic Design on the Radio on Resonance FM.


Big Active’s Gerard Saint explains why now is a great time for design and music, with some high-profile examples: Beck; Goldfrapp; Basement Jaxx; Keane; The Enemy.

Gerard Saint is Creative Director and one of the original founders of Big Active, the London design agency responsible for some of the most iconic album artwork of recent years, as well as editorial art direction highlights, which include the fashion magazine Scene and the 1999 rebirth of Nova magazine. Big Active

11.00–11.30 Coffee


Classical crossroads: A distinguished panel discusses the role of design within classical music, from performance posters and branding to the ‘lost opportunities’ of digital downloads.

Contributors include: chair Philip Sheppard, Robin Kinross, Peter Quantrill, Mike Dempsey.

Philip Sheppard is a composer specializing in film and television soundtracks (including the multi award-winning In the shadow of the moon), as well as large scale theatre and events. He is a solo cellist and a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music.

Robin Kinross is a typographer and editor. He runs Hyphen Press, which specialises in design, but which has begun to extend its interests to related fields including music. A book of interviews with the composer Morton Feldman was a sign of this, and more recently a Hyphen Press CD label has been established to publish recordings by The Bach Players and by other ‘historically informed’ musicians.

Peter Quantrill is the editorial manager of White Label Productions supervising editorial content for releases by among others, EMI Classics, Brilliant Classics and programmes by the Verbier Festival Orchestra. He has a background in classical music sales and marketing.

Mike Dempsey has been has been a graphic designer for over 40 years. He founded the design consultancy CDT in 1979 and started Studio Dempsey in 2007. He has created everything from stamps to film title sequences and editorial design to visual identities, including those for the English National Opera and London Chamber Orchestra. He is a writer, photographer, broadcaster, painter, and blogger, see:


Fred Deakin (Airside/Lemon Jelly): ‘music made me a designer – who makes music’. The value of physical music in an online, eco-savvy world.

Fred Deakin is executive creative director at agency Airside founded in 1998 with Alex Maclean and Nat Hunter. As half of dance act Lemon Jelly with Nick Franglen, he has sold over half a million records worldwide. In 2007 he released the triple CD box set The Triptych, ‘the best mix album ever’ according to The Guardian’s front page, which also won best CD packaging at the European Design Awards. In 2008 he followed it up with the post-disco compilation Nu Balearica which was Mixmag's album of the month. |

1.00–2.30 Lunch


Karsten Schmidt. Code and creativity: making the tools that make art and sound, music and design.

Karsten Schmidt (aka toxi) is a designer, originally from East Germany, who founded PostSpectacular, the London studio where code is the primary design tool. The poster, flyer and online programme for this one-day event at St Bride feature Karsten’s work: a digital installation, created under the Universal Everything umbrella and commissioned by the V&A, which spawns an endless sequence of unique animations to an ever changing soundtrack.


Kate Moross. The vinyl solution to making music look good. A young designer re-invents the music business in her own image.

Kate Moross is the 23 year old pioneer of ISO, the company on a mission to ‘make music look good’. Designer and illustrator Moross is also the in-house Art Director overseeing all ISO projects. Also a vinyl enthusiast, Moross, dismayed by the recent spate of download-only releases, has taken matters into her own hands with the launch of Isomorph, the world’s first ‘art-driven’ record label.

3.45–4.15 Tea


Maria da Gandra. Music visualisation and imagery from several millennia of musical instruments and composition – an epic personal project.

Maria da Gandra is a designer, originally from Portugal, who worked at Landor Associates and Pentagram Design before studying for her MA in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. With Maaike van Neck she co-founded design studio Mwmcreative and co-authored World Musical Instruments. Other projects to have grown from her MA research include experiments with music visualisation and synaesthetic graphic representations (music vs colour), since developed into the website


An appreciation by Tony Brook (Spin) of Ronald Clyne’s neglected classics of sleeve design for the Smithsonian Folkways label.

Tony Brook is Creative Director of co-founder of design company Spin, the multidisciplinary London studio. In 2008 he founded with Adrian Shaughnessy Unit Editions, an unconventional new publishing house set up in response to frustration with the traditional design press. Music has played on ongoing if informal role in Brook’s design life, as featured on Shaughnessy’s show Graphic Design on the Radio on Resonance FM.


The legacy of Barney Bubbles: A panel discusses the significance of this gifted designer’s life and work within the practice of music design, past, present and future. Contributors: Bubbles biographer Paul Gorman, Malcolm Garrett (AIG), Gerard Saint (Big Active), Kate Moross and chair John Walters (Eye)

John L Walters is the editor and co-owner of Eye, the international review of graphic design, and a music critic for The Guardian. He was formerly a jazz composer, record producer and editor/co-founder of audio journal Unknown Public.

Malcolm Garrett studied graphic design at Manchester Polytechnic in the mid 1970s, along with Peter Saville. It was in his second year that he started designing sleeves for The Buzzcocks. Moving to London in 1978, he formed Assorted Images producing seminal artwork for artists like Duran Duran, Culture Club, Simple Minds and Peter Gabriel. He is now Creative Director at AIG.

Paul Gorman is a writer and author of Reasons to be cheerful, a celebration of the life and work of Barney Bubbles. In January 2009, Gorman launched as an online resource for information about the designer’s work and working practices. The site’s blog features expanded and adapted material from the book as well as interviews, artwork and designs which have not previously been examined or presented publicly.

6.00+ Bar


Punctuating the day will be a series of specially selected audiovisual treats including films from Jonathan Barnbrook, Leo Bridle, Michal Levy, Jeff Scher and Graham Wood.

Also on show a small exhibition of record cover art courtesy of Art Vinyl