world record club: the studio

'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

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


"This book is an excellent resource book
for designers and design students."

"Congratulations on your new book: it looks amazingly comprehensive"
– Mimmo Cozzolino.


The Design Studio

The studio was established, first at 330 Flinders Lane, Melbourne and later on Burwood Road in suburban Hartwell.
Digby's design studio is regarded today as one of the first independent 'graphic design' studios in Australia. Most designers worked in advertising, or in printing houses and were considered to be commercial artists.The concept of the graphic designer as an independent specialist, serving the needs of, yet seperate from the world of advertising was in its infancy.

Australian designers who were beginning to see themselves as specialists: illustrators, typographers, lettering artists, photographers and artist-designers were just beginning to step away from the agencies, developing freelance practices and creating a whole new type of design industry. The World Record Club studio offered its staff artists, mostly fresh out of the art schools, and freelancers the perfect opportunity to make their mark in what seemed to be an entirely new profession — graphic design.

Art colleges such as Swinburne readily tapped into the studio scene. Whereas other colleges still prepared graduates for printing and advertising, Swinburne dedicated itself to design. In their school Swinburne students did not have to compete against fine arts undergraduates for artistic legitmacy and as a result Swinburne students were usually artists of equal calibre who saw their 'art in the service of commerce'. Geoff Digby employed a string of Swinburne graduates right through the sixties and into the seventies.

The atmosphere in the studio was always exciting, busy and challenging, yet filled with good humour and mutual respect. Freelancers came and went all day, platemaker's reps in and out, printers carrying proofs and strings of hot metal type for checking up and down the stairs. The staff writers calling mini-conferences to discuss the latest releases, how they should look, what art to use — it was a heady mix of noise, talk, heated debate at times, musical interludes, hard work, long lunches and tobacco smoke.

Studios the like of this will probably never be seen again — it was 'the sixties man' — and everbody had fun, while strong and lasting reputations were built on the backs of World Record Club covers.


Above: Art Director Geoff Digby looks over the shoulder of staff designer/illustrator John Copeland as he prepares his design for the cover
of 'Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg'
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