The collaborative spirit behind Brian Eno’s record sleeve designs (2022)

The collaborative spirit behind Brian Eno’s record sleeve designs (2022)




Anyone else coming from a failed Google search on background

Brian Eno is a British musician

Brian Enos is an American IPSC/USPSA competitive shooter.

Brian Eno's is the possessive of Brian Eno, but if you type in "brian enos" on a smartphone it probably isn't gonna auto complete to "Brian Eno's".

Both people look, at first glance on tiny thumbnails, pretty similar, which lead to some momentary confusion.


All the clouds turn to words All the words float in sequence No one knows what they mean Everyone just ignores them


It's good for more people to understand the "scenius" idea. I think the lone genius myth is dangerous to beginners who don't "get" things, even after a lot of work. Also, I think it's great when a popular artist like Eno can give a rub to other artists. Another Green World is a great album, and has my favorite album cover art of Eno's. It shouldn't be surprising that Thursday Afternoon, also by Tom Phillips, is number 2.

I do like that the article draws attention to album being a part of the experience. No Limit Records album covers certainly had a style, and you knew more or less what you were getting into just from that, even if you weren't familiar with the artist.

Same thing with city pop album art by Hiroshi Nagai. I don't know if Nagai was part of the scene, if he was just popular, or if it was just something that was expected from fans, but when you see an album with his art on it, you kinda already have an idea of the music.

I've also given albums a spin just based on the art, In the Court of the Crimson King, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, The Velvet Underground & Nico, etc. Maybe I was lucky that these records turned out to be good, but maybe there's something to the "scenius" idea - these great musicians just drew other great visual artists to them.


With regard to King Crimson specifically, Bill Bruford wrote some interesting remarks in his biography about UK progressive rock striving towards a Gesamtkuntswerk where the cover design was a key element alongside the music.

I’m a sucker for inventive sleeve design myself, and my all-time favourite for that is the record label 4AD in the 1980s and 1990s. That label’s in-house design firm 23 Envelope/v23 produced covers that really complemented the music, and have even been exhibited in art museums separate from the music. At the same time, there were a few artists signed to 4AD who resented somebody else’s art appearing on their records, regardless of how appealing fans or potential buyers might find it.


There is a fantastic documentary released recently on Hipgnosis, the graphic design company behind all of Pink Floyd's album covers (and other bands like Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney etc).

A great documentary and very interesting to see how the graphic design process worked for those iconic albums.

Squaring the circle (The story of Hipgnosis)


I have always thought it was just a coincidence or an intentional reference, but there actually exists a connection between Hipgnosis (British design studio responsible for a lot of prog rock album covers) and Psygnosis (British video game studio whose logo has a very prog rock look to it). The connection is the artist Roger Dean.

Another connection I was unaware of: the artist whose painting graces Eno's Another Green World is also the artist behind A Humument, a popular piece of modern art.