If you're anything like us, you are as equally obsessed with the graphics that don record covers as much as the musical content inside. Luckilly, there is a great website that is interested in cataloging the iconic record sleeve art of our time so that music and design fans alike can appreciate the work that goes on to create these mini masterpieces. MeetSleevage, whose mission is to "cover" these covers from the 60s to today. Not only do they archive the record art, but they collect the data about each cover, i.e. designer, context, and back story. For example, the super famous cover for Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" (pictured below) is given the Sleevage treatment with an explanation of the graphic, other photographs relevant to the design, information about Peter Saville (the designer) and Factory Records, and links so you can learn more. Sleevage asks readers to submit covers with all the pertinent details so it's somewhat like Wikipedia, where readers contribute information that can be all over the map as far as accuracy and thoroughness. However, the undertaking is so vast and it is ripe for what the internet was originally intended for - the free exchange of information and ideas. Each month Sleevage features a different design studio that is known for record sleeve art, so besides learning the behind-the-scenes details about your favorite albums, you can become more familiar with the talent behind the covers. They feature everyone from the scandalous Jamie Reid (punk designer of "Never Mind the Bollocks") to Hipgnosis (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd) to Montreal's Seripop, who designs show posters and record covers for today's best indie rockers.
As an aside, check out Sleeveface, a collection of photographs of people holding up record covers in an artful pose to incorporate the cover's graphic. This is hilariously entertaining, and if you can't get enough on the website, you can purcase the corresponding book, courtesy of our friend Carl Morris at My Kung Fu Records.
photo by Morten Sylvestersen