Vaughan Oliver, the supremely talented English graphic designer/art director who blazed trails designing album covers for 4AD Records’ artists including Cocteau Twins, the Breeders, This Mortal Coil and Lush, has died at the age of 62.
Oliver’s death was announced a few hours ago on Twitter by friend and fellow designer Adrian Shaughnessy, who co-edited the 2018 collection Vaughan Oliver: Archive.
“Desperately sad to announce that Vaughan Oliver died peacefully today, with his partner Lee by his side. Great loss of friend and design hero.”
This is a breaking story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
My friend and design hero Vaughan Oliver died peacefully today, with his partner Lee by his side. Vaughan Oliver 1957–2019). https://t.co/ibXkjAkVD9 pic.twitter.com/ETVT0vN9IL
— Adrian Shaughnessy (@AJWShaughnessy) December 29, 2019
Update: December 30, 2019. 4AD issued the following statement about Oliver’s passing on its website.
“To suggest is to create; to describe is to destroy.” Robert Doisneau
We are incredibly sad to learn of the passing of Vaughan Oliver; there was no-one else like him.
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’s first employee, he designed his first sleeve for the Modern English single ‘Gathering Dust’ in 1980 before going on to create iconic works for the likes of Pixies, Breeders, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Throwing Muses, Lush, Pale Saints, TV On The Radio, Scott Walker and countless others. The Guardian said his designs were “abstract, dreamlike, elegant” and they weren’t wrong, he gave both us as a label and our musicians an identity and a voice.
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.