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Vaughan Oliver, Designer For Iconic Pixies And The Breeders Albums, Has Died Aged 62

Vaughan Oliver, a graphic designer who worked closely with the 4AD record label, has passed away aged 62. Graphic designer Adrian Shaughnessy, co-editor of the book Vaughan Oliver: Archive, announced Oliver’s death on Twitter, saying he “died peacefully today, with his partner Lee by his side.”

The designer produced artwork for some of the most iconic albums of the last few decades – including Pixies’ Doolittle and The Breeders’ Last Splash – along with numerous albums by the likes of Modern English, Cocteau Twins, The Mountain Goats, Pale Saints and Lush.

“Without Vaughan, 4AD would not be 4AD and it’s no understatement to say that his style also helped to shape graphic design in the late-20th century,” wrote 4AD in a statement.

The Guardian said his designs were “abstract, dreamlike, elegant” and they weren’t wrong, he gave both us as a label and our musicians an identity and a voice. We will miss you Vaughan and our thoughts are with your family and friends. We were blessed to know you and will forever be thankful for all you did.”

Multiple artists have paid their respects to Vaughan. John Darnielle from The Mountain Goats took to Twitter to express his condolences and getting to know Oliver after The Mountain Goats were signed to 4AD.

“In California in ’88 and there’s a new act called the Pixies, I’m going nuts, everybody’s going nuts. Their covers are also Vaughan’s work. “Surfer Rosa,” a forever-vivid totem of that summer.”

“As more 4AD records become common touchstone, the Vaughan Oliver aesthetic becomes an indispensable part of the label’s identity. You can’t mistake it. It holds a disparate roster together, asserts a shared vision. To know about this back then is to belong to a secret society.”

Take a look at some of Vaughan’s most iconic album art, and see the full statement from 4AD, below.


 

 

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Vaughan Oliver, 1957-2019. “To suggest is to create; to describe is to destroy.” Robert Doisneau We are incredibly sad to learn of the passing of Vaughan Oliver; there was no-one else like him. Without Vaughan, 4AD would not be 4AD and it’s no understatement to say that his style also helped to shape graphic design in the late-20th century. In 1980, he was the label’s first employee, designing his first sleeve for the Modern English single ‘Gathering Dust’ before going on to create iconic works for the likes of Pixies, Breeders, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Throwing Muses, Lush, Pale Saints, TV On The Radio, Scott Walker and countless others. The Guardian said his designs were “abstract, dreamlike, elegant” and they weren’t wrong, he gave both us as a label and our musicians an identity and a voice. We will miss you Vaughan and our thoughts are with your family and friends. We were blessed to know you and will forever be thankful for all you did. Photo by Luca Gioretto

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