Photo: Luca Giorietto
Vaughan Oliver, Graphic Designer For Pixies, TV On The Radio & More, Has Died
Vaughan Oliver, the British influential album cover artist who created artwork for the Pixies, the Cocteau Twins and several other alternative rock bands over the last 30 years, has died. He was 62.
The graphic designer died Dec. 29 reportedly surrounded by family. Great Britain's 4AD, the independent record label which Oliver designed for and molded artistically, confirmed the news. No cause of death has been made public.
"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," the label said in a statement. "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."
Oliver studied graphic design at Newcastle Polytechnic before moving to London in the '70s where be became 4AD's first employee. There he designed covers for the Pixies' Surfer Rosa, the Breeders' Pod and the Cocteau Twin's Sunburst And Snowblind.
The three bands paid tribute to the artist on social media. The Cocteau Twins' Simon Raymonde said on Facebook that Oliver's work "during the '80s and '90s changed cover art forever and not just albums but books too."
TV On The Radio and Pale Saints are among other bands he created visuals for.
In interviews, Oliver shared his love for music and the role art played in pushing its message forward. "The goal what we’re (graphic designers) aiming for is to reflect the music; the sleeve should be a gateway into what the music is about without defining it but also providing a suggestive mood and atmosphere," he told Print Mag.
Oliver's passion for visuals was fueled by changing the way people experience music.
"I always wanted to design sleeves as a kid. record sleeves are ephemeral and I always wanted to make them more than that. it might sound pretentious but I really wanted to make a mark," he told DesignBoom. "It was always my goal to be fresh and unlike anything else—to be different. to push boundaries. even if the work was all of those things at one time it’s got lost with time."