Feeling Vinyl: Sir Paul Smith. Photograph: Carsten Windhorst / FRPAP.com
Feeling Vinyl: Sir Paul Smith. Photograph: Carsten Windhorst / FRPAP.com

A big part of buying vinyl has always been the sleeve design, with the covers of albums such as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon being arguably as distinctive as the music contained within.

For Record Store Day this month (19 April), 700 original vinyl sleeves including designs by Dinos and Jake Chapman, Jeremy Deller and Sir Antony Gormley will go on sale for £45 each with the proceeds going to the charity War Child.

The project, called Secret 7”, is now in its third year. Members of the public as well as invited artists design a record sleeve for a song chosen from a list of seven. The tracks are a mix of genres by new and established acts, who range this year from Lorde and Jake Bugg to Black Sabbath.

Secret 7” is so-called because, on the day of the sale at Downstairs At Mother in Shoreditch, none of the buyers will know which artist created the sleeve or which song it is for until they have parted with their money.

Founder of Secret 7” Kevin King, says the project engages with the aims of Record Store Day by fostering an appreciation of the vinyl format. And although there is the option to submit digitally, taking part otherwise means visiting your local record store to pick up a design pack.

“You can do with it whatever you will. We’ve got sleeves made of wood, sleeves made of metal, sleeves that people have put felt on or cut bits out,” says King.

This year’s project was launched on 7 January, and King has personally received 3000 sleeve designs since then. Many of them came through the post.

“It was a bit like Christmas every day with the postman knocking on the door with a handful of sleeves,” he jokes.

The submissions have been whittled down to 700, which the public can view on the weekend prior to the sale.

Secret 7” is at Downstairs at Mother, Biscuit Building, 10 Redchurch Street, E2 7DD from 12-13 April (exhibition) and on 19 April (sale).

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