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The Leaf Label, Leaf 20 – 20th Anniversary Box Set & Identity

Identity · Music · Print

“Overcoming untold hurdles in the design process, the box set arrives as one of the most ambitious and carefully assembled we’ve ever seen.

“Collecting ten definitive albums from the label’s history (including Caribou, A Hawk & A Hacksaw and Susumu Yokota) each pressed onto white vinyl, the love and attention to detail shines through in what is the most impressive box set of the year.”

– The Vinyl Factory, The 20 best record sleeves of 2016

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Inspired by the literal images of leaves on their very first EPs release in 1995, to the natural elements recurring throughout their diverse back catalogue, the Leaf 20 box set design uses cross sections taken from a 20-year-old tree, specially cut, finished and inked up to print directly onto a set of limited edition outer sleeves – each print with 20 organic, irregular rings, for 20 wonderfully off-kilter years.

In the spirit of the label, the concept reflected our desire to push the boundaries of what we knew could be done, and to create something that we hoped would turn out to be as beautiful and individual as it was experimental.

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The tree rings form the cover to the box itself, with its white and silver colour theme running throughout the Leaf 20 material, including onto the white vinyl of the releases.

Each record’s catalogue number was highlighted to give it context within the label’s full body of work, which is then documented in full on an included B1 poster and on the inner sleeves for all the 20th anniversary celebratory releases.

 

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In an increasingly digital market, the physicality of this piece was very important to us. We wanted all the sleeves to be printed directly from the slices of wood themselves, with all the imperfections and individuality this brings. It also adds to the tangible sense of time and gradual, committed growth that we wanted to communicate – 20 years ago when The Leaf Label put out its first EP, our tree was nothing more than a seed in the ground just north of Pickering.

Having sourced a tree with exactly 20 rings (which is easier said than done!) and after weeks of experimenting and honing in on a method that would work, the slices of wood were finished, burnt to bring the rings into relief, oiled and printed by our good friends, The Print Project – a fantastic Yorkshire-based letterpress printer.

 

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Listed #2 in The Vinyl Factory’s 20 best record sleeves of 2016; Nominated for the AIM Independent Music Awards 2016 ‘Best Special Catalogue Release’.

The box set is available on the Leaf Website here.

You can read the full ‘making of’ story of the project on our blog here, beautifully documented by photographer Sara Teresa

With thanks & credit to Nick Loaring, Print Project; Graham Jackson and The Forestry Commission; Richard Hollingworth; Sara Teresa; and to Tony Morley and The Leaf Label themselves.