Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Visual Arts & Design [to the] School of Visual Arts and Design, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora.
The independent record distribution company known as The World Record Club began its direct-mail marketing operation in London in 1958. Two years later it opened in Melbourne, soon attracting more than 50,000 members across Australia. The club introduced budget priced recordings sourced from, then little known, European artists and orchestras and sold to its members by catalogue selection. Among these ‘new’ artists were Yehudi Menuhin, Daniel Barenboim and Herbert Von Karajan, and the innovative and entrepeneureal approach to the marketing of often unheard classical music into Australia encouraged many like-minded European recording companies to release their product into Australia exclusively through the Club. The World Record Club can be credited with the introduction of the music of ‘the baroque’ to an Australian audience and was in the vanguard for international and Australian contemporary classical music. Right from the start the Club took the decision to create conceptual packaging for its album covers, not borrowing already existing designs from Europe but to create a totally new and independent look for World Record product using the talents of some of the most influential artists, illustrators, typographers and photographers who were working in the Melbourne design and communication industry in the late 1950s and 1960s. The studio saw this period as its heyday, producing thousands of innovative, creative and artistic album cover artworks which set a benchmark for design and illustration in Australia during this period. Many prominent Australian designers describe the studio at World Record as the most important independent studio in Australia of its time because of the creative licence its founding art director Geoff Digby allowed the alumni of creatives who designed for the company, and because it was possibly the first studio in Australia that had broken away from the world of Advertising Agency control and was established to pursue one creative goal for a single genre. Even after forty years many of the designs from the studio remain as icons of Australian graphic design: with an alumni of designers, illustrators and photographers, both staff artists and freelance, who number among them some of the leading names in Australian graphic design today. This thesis celebrates the ouevre that is the World Record Club: its influences, and the influence it had on the burgeoning graphic design industry in Australia in the glory days of the ‘swinging sixties’; and also celebrates the artists and designers who created for the Club, and acknowledges the legacy of designs that remain.
This thesis contains third party copyright material which has been reproduced here with permission. Any further use requires permission of the copyright owner. The thesis author retains all proprietary rights (such as copyright and patent rights) over all other content of this thesis, and has granted La Trobe University permission to reproduce and communicate this version of the thesis. The author has declared that any third party copyright material contained within the thesis made available here is reproduced and communicated with permission. If you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact us with the details.