Vinyl. Album. Cover. Art: The Complete Hipgnosis Catalogue to be published

Thames & Hudson will next month publish Vinyl. Album. Cover. Art., a complete catalogue of the work of celebrated design agency Hipgnosis.

Hipgnosis (founded in 1967 by Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgeson) were of course famous for their album covers, designing many iconic visuals for the likes of Pink Floyd, 10cc, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, The Police, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, and Paul McCartney. All 373 of them are featured in this 320-page volume – apparently, the first time the catalogue has been published in its entirety.

This book is 24cm x 20cm and benefits from commentary and annotations by Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell and the late Storm Thorgerson, and also features notes by Peter Gabriel, Storm, Marcus Bradbury and Harry Pearce from Pentagram.

Vinyl. Album. Cover. Art: The Complete Hipgnosis Catalogue will be published on 13 April 2017. Seems good value at under £20 in the UK right now.

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I got a notice, that Amazon.co.uk is shipping the book today.


Its a shame this book is so small, 7 x 9 inches. This needs to be a coffee table size volume to really appreciate the art. Won’t buy it at this size.


Now down in price to only £16.97 for pre-order on amazon. Bargain.

Metal Mickey

Walk Away Renee is fantastic, a great insight into the design process, and how clever designers with willing clients can come up with some extraordinary stuff… it’s inadvertantly an interesting guide to design in the pre-photoshop age, too – amazing what they had to achieve with Rotring pens, scalpels and in-camera techniques back then!!

As for this new book, it’s a shame these won’t be full-size 12×12″ reproductions, but as many here have already said, at this price, it’s hard to say no…

Mad Earwig

I don’t think I need a whole book of this stuff but still love the one from Led Zeppelin ‘Presence’ after all these years.

The concept, photography and layout was simple but brilliant and with no band pictures, few sleeve notes and the strange ‘object’ just added to the mystique of what is my favourite Zeppelin album.

Stephen Preston

Has anyone ever done a similar thing with the Marcus Keef covers?


Like others I have a number of Hipgnosis books already, which are generally excellent. I agree that, like an artist’s monograph, this book fills a gap, for the completist.
However, I am disappointed by the smallish dimensions of the book, and feel that this is a missed opportunity.
As this kind of book often gets remaindered I’ll keep my eye on the usual outlets. ;-)


There should be short texts by Robert Plant and Nick Mason.
Aubrey Powell is unlikely to make a book like Riding Along in My Automobile.

Michael Bird

Looks like Powell is continuing to diminish and marginalize Peter Christopherson’s partnership in the company. One wonders if Gabriel will make more mention of him in his introduction since it was Christopherson who did his sleeves.


Peter has had an ever-diminishing credit over the years – even before he died, but being so laid back about money/credits/rights he wouldn’t allow anyone to do something about it – apart from not allowing any copy of WishYouWereHere in the house – or indeed for anyone to mention it (it’s the only time I saw him get angry in over 20 years).
Ahh well, it just is.


Interesting. Do you know why it was WYWH in particular that Peter was sensitive about?

PC’s work as a musician was utter genius and I have enormous respect for the man, quite aside from his work with Hipgnosis.


Even though I have a couple of Hipgnosis books already (including one by Darren Brown – sorry bad joke!) the fact that this will be complete and seems to be at a bargain price means it is a must have.

I take the point about Walk Away Renee which does have some very interesting ‘outtakes’ but it is also far from complete so I think this is a welcome addition.

Have to say I love(d) Hipgnosis’ work. Studying those album covers trying to work out how the effects were achieved, how the images related to music and if there were any hidden jokes/secrets to be discovered (such as trying to locate the members of 10cc on the inside of the How Dare You sleeve) was a real part of my young experience of music.

I only hope that, given the price, the quality of the reproductions does not suffer too much.

As someone else noted the Peter Saville book is also great.

As per usual Paul – thank you for the tip-off not sure I would have found out about this otherwise.

Mic Smith

I have at least 3 books devoted to Hipgnosis but given the involvement of Peter Gabriel this will inevitably find its way to my book shelves.

I bet someone out there has all of these albums, just for the artwork.


That’s a terrific book. Go it at the Saville exhibit at the design museum.


Very interested in this new, complete collection…such creative minds and superb design execution. For me it is a shame that the original album art is not kept to 12″ x 12″. This has been done well with other album cover books.


To make absolutely certain you purchase the one you want, do a comparson of 2017’s Vinyl. Album. Cover. Art: The Complete Hipgnosis Catalogue to their 2014 release: Hipgnosis ! Portraits. Just to make certain the newer one is superior. At a glance it does sound like an improvement on the 2014 release.


ANOTHER Hignosis book? Good grief, there have been tons. But the cheapness and completeness are real draws. Even still, I bet it won’t have the same sense of excitement and wonder that Walk Away Renee did. It certainly won’t have the unused alternative designs and sketches and behind the scenes photos that Renee included. I assume it also will not include book covers, posters, programmes etc? (Damn, no “Beatlemania” poster? Nobody could do sleasy sex better than Hipgnosis.)

I was wondering if Hipgnosis were due a small renaissance given that their first ever LP cover, Pink Floyd’s “A Saucerful Of Secrets”, stole so blatantly from a 1967 edition of the “Doctor Strange” comic. It’s basically a full frame from the comic, cut up and rearranged with a bunch of other stuff. (Pink Floyd acknowledged Doctor Strange in “Cymbaline” — there’s a story here methinks.) And PF in the film soundtrack, too.

Hipgnosis didn’t always get it right. Their cover for the Pretty Things’ “Parachute” — best British rock album of all time? — is dreadful. Post-1980 they were well off the boil (“A Collection Of Great Dance Songs” anyone?) and had become slick and empty. Still, worth it for Ashra’s “Correlation” alone.

Front and back spreads, inner gatefolds, inner sleeves, inserts — the whole deal, please. Ta.


I was once very interested in the bottom of the cover of six green bottles – A Saucerful of Secrets.
Objects really like empty green bottle from the champagne.
And in every bottle is something like a bird.

I found out the truth only when I bought the Italian book – Pink Floyd. Storie e segreti. The Lunatics (2012)
The picture was taken from Splendor Solis – an alchemical treatise (1532-1535, 1582) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splendor_Solis
See here http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/record.asp?MSID=7881
Then click below – f. 24 Three birds in a flask

Or here http://www.levity.com/alchemy/splensol.html and click 13. Jupiter – Three birds

Red and White phoenixes – feminine and masculine. Black Phoenix – death which also symbolizes the earthly. Red and white wins the black because a man and woman together give rise to life – a child. Because individually they do not have to continue living.


This seems unlikely to be the last word on Hipgnosis’s work, and unlikely to be complete.

The studio produced complete design packages for albums and the associated advertising, promotional and other related materials. So, for a single album, they might produce a gatefold sleeve with outer and inner designs, a printed inner sleeve, center labels for both sides of the disc, one or more enclosed posters, stickers or booklets, trade advertisements, concert posters, a tour program, a sheet music book, and lord knows what else Of course, design elements would often be repeated and varied in the ancillary materials, but the studio would sometimes develop new elements or rework the old elements for each new format.

Failure to recognize the expansive, holistic nature of design projects during the heyday of music packaging is a recurrent weakness in books devoted to LP cover design. Despite the dramatic change in industry practice from the mid-1960s on, publishers (even moderately sophisticated ones) seem stuck in the old mindset that the front 12″ by 12″ image is the only one that really counts, and the rest is secondary: a view which is antithetical to the pioneering work of artists like the gentlemen of Hipgnosis.

(Mind you, I don’t think anyone is clamoring for copies of every Hipgnosis design hacked up by a local label affiliate or concert promoter, just those produced by the studio itself.)

Even with 500 images, it seems unlikely to me that the volume would include even all of the LP packaging elements, let alone the other stuff.


I’ll wait the 12×12″ version

Eric Thiessen

Amazon US is showing a price of $40.00, not $32.00

Friso Pas

Looks very cool. Although I can’t see samples from inside yet. They also did several Zeppelin albums. Probably will buy it.


Good follow up to Walk Away Renee,

Look forward to it


Presumably everything’s had to be reproduced from printed sleeves to scaling them down is the best way to avoid screen-clash and softness of resolution.

Giveaway price really. Love to see a similar overview book for Assorted Images because I is a Pop Kid at heart.

O(+> Peter B

Or Peter Saville.


I’ve been talking Malcolm about that.


Well a few Peter Saville books exist already (I have at least two) I also have a very slim Malcolm Garrett book which came out a very long time ago, and is far from being exhaustive, so a good career overview of Assorted Images (and all the various aliases) would be certainly welcome (and long overdue).

O(+> Peter B

It should have been 12″ x 12″.


For sure


Shipping weight will be 1.7 pounds, per Amazon. So probably smaller than a typical coffee-table book.


i am searching but cannot find any info on dimensions of this book…


It states very clearly the size of the book in the text. Just learn to read English and you’ll do better at “finding” things.