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Professor Vaughan Oliver

UCA is mourning the passing on Sunday 29 December of Vaughan Oliver, Visiting Professor in the School of Fine Art, Photography and Visual Communications.

As an artist and graphic designer, Vaughan was credited as being one of the leading graphic designers of his era, establishing the visual identity of the 4AD record label - working on a number of instantly recognisable sleeves, including Pixies’ ‘Surfer Rosa’ and ‘Doolittle’ album covers. He also worked on designs for the likes of Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Throwing Muses, and Dead Can Dance. Vaughan began working for 4AD in the early ’80s after meeting the independent label’s owner, Ivo Watts-Russell, forming a working partnership that would endure for thirty years.

Vaughan’s design studios, 23 Envelope, consisted of Vaughan and his original photographer Nigel Grierson, who together created the artwork for almost every 4AD release up to 1987. After Grierson left 23 Envelope in 1988, Vaughan continued to work for the label under the studio name v23, where he collaborated with Simon Larbalestier, Marc Atkins and many others.

Students at UCA have benefitted from Vaughan’s talents over many years and the University recently hosted a retrospective exhibition taken from the Vaughan Oliver Archive, held at UCA Epsom which coincided with the publication of a book by Unit Editions reflecting on a selection of his collected works entitled VO:A.