Diagonal Records is a small label run by Oscar Powell and Jaime Williams, it was originally set up as a vehicle to release Powell’s music. They soon started releasing work by an eclectic range of artists which often contained electronic elements.
I saw my first Diagonal record cover when I bought an LP by a British sound artist called Russell Haswell. It was an internet purchase so I was aware how it would look, but when I opened the parcel and touched it, I began to grin. The design, choice of colours and use of spot varnish was brilliant and it still stands as my favourite LP artwork today.
When you look through Diagonal back catalogue it’s obvious that the label has a strong guiding hand in the design of all the covers, and it turns out it was Oscar Powell who was originally behind the first couple of releases as well as the logo. Soon he asked American based designer Guy Featherstone to be involved in design for the label. Oscar and Guy had both worked at the advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy. Guy had a background in designing record sleeves, he made Diagonal records look unique and created a unified visual language. Put simply be made all the releases become part of a series.
In an interview Guy said he was trying to create a visual language for the label that will allow other designers to come in and work for them but still look like part of Diagonal family. The consistent themes that run through all the releases are; a bold use of colour, playful use of typography, solid geometrical shapes and a use of finishes that make the releases tactile as well as visual. This all results in the artwork looking modern and fun reflecting exactly how the label is.
I’m very lucky in the fact I like so many of the Diagonal releases because it means I get to own so many beautiful records, thanks Oscar, Jaime and Guy.