Neil Fujita was someone I knew about without knowing his name for a long time. I’m a great fan of album cover artwork as I’m old enough that vinyl LPs were the thing and great covers, gatefolds, inner sleeves and the like caused almost as much delight as the music contained therein. It reminds me of the end-to-end delight that you get with Apple products where unboxing your new shiny toy is almost as much fun as the toy itself.

Certain records labels *used* to have a certain style to them Blue Note, Columbia, Factory etc. All were instantly recognisable as coming from that family. I have framed some and hang them as I would a picture as the work and expression as no less than art for being a commercial wrapping to a product.

S. Neil Fujita was the man behind many great Columbia covers. He was hired as Columbia sought to counter balance the distinct “smokey” style that Blue Note had for its covers. His mastery of original art – namely his own paintings, graphic design, layout and typography was always fresh, thoughtful and recognisable as his own. After Columbia, he set up his own business that produced some classic book design also. Check out this gallery of album covers and book covers, which shows some of the variety of his work. He died on 23 October, read The Guardian’s obituary, aged 89. Great work from a great man.

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