Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

Cover Stories: Event & panel discussion

merchant city festival glasgow

Glasgow Music City Tours is pleased to present Cover Stories, an illustrated discussion on the art of the record sleeve, as part of Merchant City Festival 2016.

Our guest panel of writers, artists and musicians will be discussing the art of the  record sleeve. We would like to extend huge thanks to; Manda RinNiall SmillieNicola Meighan and Francis Macdonald for agreeing to take part.The discussion will be chaired by Neil McGuire.

Often viewed nowadays on digital devices where album covers are the size of a postage stamp, designers face a challenge. Our panel discuss whether record sleeve design still matters and will choose their favourite…and least favourite…covers.

Cover Stories takes place on August 5 at 6.30-8pm in Glasgow City Halls, tickets cost £4 and are available here.


Neil McGuire is a designer and recently reformed design tutor who works on a range of projects and activities including; graphic design commissions, artworks, event production, curation, learning and teaching, talks, and self-initiated projects.

He graduated from Communication Design at Glasgow School of Art in 2003, and has since worked in a freelance capacity (under the name After the News), while more recently he has also undertaken part-time teaching at GSA, initiating and running a number of new curricular and extra-curricular projects.

Neil is interested in design and politics, architecture, and the impact of technology (both new and old) on society. He has a tendency to write things about himself in the third person. His teenage obsession with the Housemartins and The Beautiful South is a carefully guarded state-secret, revealed to only the closest confidantes.


Manda Rin is 1/3 of the band Bis who have been making music since 1996.  Bis appeared twice on Top of the Pops and were signed to the Beastie Boys’ label Grand Royal in the USA. Their first album The New Transistor Heroes sold over 100,000 copies in Japan — a manga-influenced sleeve designed by Manda possibly helped! Bis have released 4 albums, most recently an anthology in 2015. Manda has run her badge-making business for the past 15 years. When not producing badges she has presented on Radio Scotland, Beat 106 and has DJ-ed at clubs throughout the UK. Manda’s art has been exhibited at Cafe Gandolfi and the GFT in Glasgow. @thebandbis @mandarin

Niall Smillie is the founder of Fourtwentyseven, the Glasgow-based award-winning branding, design and communication studio. From start-ups to multi-nationals, from public to private sector, the clients they work with are as diverse as the work produced. Niall has worked with Emma Pollock, designing sleeve and single artwork for two of her solo albums, The Law of Large Numbers and In Search of Harperfield. He has also produced sleeve designs for Soma Records and has worked with a number of artists to produce album and single artwork including Slam,  Gary Beck, Vector Lovers, Sarah Hayes and Olympic Swimmers.

Nicola Meighan is a freelance music journalist. Nicola writes/ has written for publications including The HeraldThe Sunday HeraldQ Magazine and Mojo. She talks about music on BBC Radio Scotland, occasionally presenting for Vic Galloway and The Culture Show with Janice Forsyth. Previously Nicola worked at Mute Records and has written vinyl sleeve notes for several King Creosote records.

Francis Macdonald drums with Teenage Fanclub and makes music for filmmakers/TV. He manages Camera Obscura and the Vaselines and has released other artists via his label Shoeshine Records including Scots Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis and NY country singer Laura Cantrell.

More on Francis here