world record club: the artists

'Its Another World Record — Album Cover Art.
From the studio of The World Record Club, 1958–1976' is
a new book from Geoff Hocking.

This book is a must for lovers
of classical music, good graphic design, collectors and ephemerists alike.

Published by New Chum Press, this 320 page book, released in March 2009, celebrates the excellence in the design of album covers that came from the Melbourne-based studio in the late fifties and the sixties.

Available from the author/publisher at <>
RRP $79.95 plus $10 postage to anywhere in Australia

At 320 pages, full-colour throughout, hardback, this is a big book – featuring fabulous reproductions of more than 500 album covers, a short company history and biographies of several of the artists.

Geoff is available for a chat – with experience in radio and television interviews. a veteran of John Faine's 'Conversation Hour', 'Good Morning Australia with Kerry-Anne Kennerley'; interviews with the ABC's Derek Guille, Tony Delroy, Julie Copeland and commercial stations across all Australian capitals.

You can contact the publisher/author Geoff Hocking at New Chum Press,
PO BOX 603 Castlemaine 3450,
tel: 03 5472 3906, mobile: 0402 098 297, or at


"Thank you very much for sending me a copy [of the book]. It was gratifying to go back through those covers–none of which has dated, but all of which are part of my memories growing up.
I also loved the note on Athol" – Michael Shmith.


World Record Club was at its best in the early years, from the late fifties right through to the end of the sixties.

The studio employed a stream of staff artists, and a large body of freelancers — each had their own speciality: Loius Kahan for portraits of composers, Alex Stitt produce highly decorated illustrations, Max Robinson produced detailed and powerful woodcuts, John Copeland created stylised graphic illustrations, Lance Stirling's modern designs, Guus van Der Heyde creatively abstracted photography, Athol Shmith was at his best photographing models and musicians — and the staff artists: Graeme Moore who worked primarily on the preparation of the direct-mail catalogues also designed a large number of elegant covers, many featuring his own photographs, a number of Swinburne graduates who studied under the charismatic Brian Robinson and Bob Francis — Keith McMenomy, Winston Thomas, Tony Ward, Ian McGill and later, Paul Cleveland all brought that distinctive love of illustration and decoration that was the hallmark of that period at Swinburne in the sixties.

Geoff Hocking, the author of 'It's Another World Record — Album Cover Art' had trained in Bendigo and followed Tony Ward into the studio where he worked for two years before, like many others before, he left to fulfill the comittments to a college studentship and entered Secondary Teachers College.

The World Record Club alumni has produced a large body of designers who also entered the world of design education: John Copeland, Lance Stirling, Guus van Der Heyde, Keith McMenomy, Winston Thomas, Tony Ward, Geoff Hocking and Paul Cleveland have all had influential careers in tertiary design education at the University level, and art director Geoff Digby also acted for some time as a consultant to the Technical and Further Education [TAFE] system.


The legacy of the studio is quiet extraordinary. It was one of the first truly independent design studios in Australia, certainly the first dedicated to a single industry, where art and design was created for its own sake, whereas commercial success was important to the survival of the company, the method of direct-mail selling meant that sales were not reliant on the usual principles of instore marketing and art could take precedence over
commercial constraints. A very rare opportunity for designers, one coveted but rarely repeated.


Founding art director Geoff Digby was inducted into the Australian Graphic Designers, AGDA, Hall of Fame in Novembr 2008, a belated recognition of the inspired direction he gave to so many artists, many at the beginning of their careers, in the sixties.

The studio at WRC is still regarded today as one of the most influential studios of the period. The hudreds of cover designs created more than 40 years ago still stand today as classic artworks.

The alumni of designers, which also includes several other AGDA Hall of Famers, includes: Paul Cleveland, John Copeland, Bab Haberfield, Geoff Hocking, Keith McMenomy, Graeme Moore, Verdon Morcom, Max Robinson, Athol Shmith, Lance Stirling, Alex Stitt, Guus Van Der Heyde, Tony Ward — and the writers Alex Berry, Harvey Blanks, James Murdoch and John Pinkney.

Other visual artists who contributed works for reproduction on WRC cover designs include Charles Blackman, Albert Tucker, John Olsen, Roger Kemp and Louis Kahan.




World Record Club alumni:

Row 1: Staff designer Dave Leonard at work in the studio at 330 Flinders Lane on a painting for the cover of Noel Coward's 'Bitter Sweet',
Staff designer Guus Van Der Heyde poses with an antique camera,

Row 2: Freelance photographer Athol Shmith
Staff designer Keith McMenomy

Row 3: Staff designer John Copeland {AGDA HOF]
Freelancer Max Robinson {AGDA HOF]

Row 4: Staff designer Graeme Moore
Staff designer Tony Ward

Row 5: Staff designer Geoff Hocking
Freelancer Alex Stitt [AGDA HOF]

Row 6:Freelancer Lance Stirling [AGDA HOF]
Freelancer Bob Haberfield

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