How an L.A. printer kept the art of the album cover alive

For half a century Los Angeles's Stoughton Printing Company has been considered one of the highest-quality printers of vinyl record packaging in the world, manufacturing album art for the likes of The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Jack White, Blue Note, and countless other artists and labels who value exquisite quality. Indeed, that's where my partners and I intend to produce the lavish packaging for our "Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition" vinyl box set! Our pal Ben Marks writes about the artisans at Stoughton for Collectors Weekly:

If there's a secret sauce to Stoughton, one of the ingredients is certainly its people, many of whom have been with the company for a long time, which means the institutional memory at Stoughton runs deep. "Some of our employees have been with us for decades," Jack (Stoughton) Jr. says. "They've seen it all." Just as important is the fact that for every Led Zeppelin or Jack White, there have been countless other musicians of lesser acclaim who have turned to Stoughton to print their album art and design the packaging encasing their vinyl.

"When we started out," Jack Jr. says, "we appealed to independent labels and artists. That was our niche. We had one customer, way back when, who sold his car to help pay for his record pressing. We had printed his jackets, so he came out here on the bus from Hollywood to City of Industry, which was about 25 miles eastbound. He probably made five or six bus transfers to get here. All he wanted was one box of 100 jackets, which he was going to take to the record-pressing plant so they could stuff them with his records, which he wanted to sell at a show that night. The jackets were ready, so we drove him and the jackets to the record-pressing plant, waited for them to get stuffed, and then took him home. He called us the following Monday to say he had been able to sell around 240 records that night, which effectively paid for his entire project. I couldn't tell you that young man's name today, and I don't even remember if he went on to have any hits. But that was the way my dad treated everybody. In part, it was because you never knew who was going to be the next million-seller, but it was also to honor the dreams independent artists brought to us."

"Music of the Presses: How an L.A. Printer Kept the Art of the Album Cover Alive" (Collectors Weekly)