Thursday, December 17, 2009


I wrote earlier this year about my father's work for Impulse records. Here's a cool link to a collection of some of his and my mother's artwork.

And some of what the link has to say about my father:

Flynn’s flair for typography and color was inspired and always seemed motivated by the music without ever locking Impulse into stylistic guidelines. Still, from the multi-colored Helvetica faces used early on to the trippy pop-art faces of the later records, Impulse retained its own personality. Thiele’s wide-ranging recording habits never seemed to present a problem for Flynn either. Thiele could go from recording an all-out avant garde record to a traditional New Orleans style record to a be-bop record to an organ jazz record. Flynn never missed a beat. It all looked and sounded like Impulse. Flynn continued designing Impulse sleeves until about 1969, when Bob Thiele left the label to form Flying Dutchman. Impulse’s new management took the venerable jazz label, which had done much to define jazz in the 1960s, into a whole new – and less interesting – dimension. Flynn’s departure rendered Impulse’s once iconic graphic design into something unremarkable and surprisingly generic. Flynn went along with Bob Thiele to Flying Dutchman, providing not only a distinctive look for Thiele’s new label, but retaining enough of the design elements Flynn established at Impulse to ensure the connection to the music Thiele produced there.


After a year or so with Flying Dutchman, Robert Flynn seemed to disappear from the record cover design business and was never heard from again.

Damn that cancer. But how lucky we are his artwork lives on.


AppyLove said...

These covers are awesome! I love the retro style anyway, but his are particularly nice. This post is making us want to crank up the record player tonight. (As if we're cool enough to own any jazz records of this ilk, but you get what I'm saying.) Beautiful stuff, and it's cool that someone else out there in the 'sphere is writing about your dad's work.

Katie said...


Sarah said...

Wow -- I am so impressed! I knew your Dad was a designer, but never knew that he did this work specifically, nor did I realize your Mom worked with him. I hope you have a collection of these albums, as they are probably even better than the internet reproductions (and certainly collectors items). Here is another recent mention of his work from the blog of a very well-regarded design magazine out of London.