Heroes & Cowards

Stiff Records


          title: Heroes & Cowards
   artiste/band: Stiff Records
   record label: Stiff Records
         format: 12" LP
   release date: 1978
           misc: first ever Stiff album...

brief / approach

Jake Riviera - rather than his Stiff partner Dave Robinson - usually briefed me for commissions in the very early days and he simply wanted a biplane dropping a hand held bomb - as you do..?! - and he also wanted it in a great hurry - as he usually did..?!

...I managed to fulfil his brief - just - but with  an unforeseen error that we didn't notice at the proofing stage and only realised when the boxes of ready-to-go LP's turned up..!

...I've never been very good at spelling but got increasingly good (bad..?) at bullshitting my way out of dilemmas - inasmuch as the bad news was I spelt 'Heroes' wrong on the cover's spine - I hand wrote 'Heros' - but the good news (and saving grace..!) was my idea to run a competition to 'spot the "deliberate" error' on the album cover - worked out ok and mercifully got quite a few entries - who, if I recall properly, all got a voucher for money off their next Stiff record...


...I still have the original artwork for this, the  first Stiff LP,  which  promoted their nascent artistes roster  and was made  & illustrated - like the first poster - at life-size with hand-drawn lettering - also, not as a punky DIY gesture but because I didn’t know about resizing, rescaling or making print-ready artwork using professional photographic processes - let alone posh phototypesetting for the text..!

   All the dots are individually hand-placed using ‘needle-point’ Rotring Rapidograph pens varying in nib sizes from 0.1mm to 0.3mm for the shadow tones &  cloud effect - and up to 1.5mm for the lettering & outlines...

   ...the title lettering at the top & bottom - as you can tell from the even wonkier spacing - was laid out & constructed ‘in situ’ using small compasses & tiny stencils and painstakingly redone at different sizes from the first Stiff record label and 45 single ‘house bag’ lettering design I’d just done in the same way..!?