One of the great pleasures of a vinyl LP record collection is the fine and ancient art of browsing. It's an art that was almost lost but is now having a resurgence, just like the resurgence of vinyl itself.
Second Hand record shops know a thing or two about browsing: they're laid out to maximise your browsing pleasure. Owners of large vinyl collections know about it too, at least they do if they've hung on to their LPs through the onslaught of CDs and then invisible music (music in digital format).
The digital equivalent of browsing - squinting at a tiny screen trying to read even tinier words - doesn't even begin to have the same thrill as a true browse. The problem is that you can only see one thing - a song, an album, a playlist - at a time. Endless scrolling does not lead to endless joy.
A shelf of LP covers, on the other hand, is something you can see. It is a wonder to behold. You can comprehend the size of it. You can scan it quickly before you plunge in. It's something you can enjoy - and it's not just about the information shown on the album spines, it's the physical appearance of all those albums in close proximity with one another, it's the way they're all racked up together.
But the clincher is that a shelf of LPs holds the promise of revealing someone's musical taste - which is almost as good as revealing their very soul. A shelf of LPs tells you a lot about their owner. It's a display of allegiance, individuality, personal history and identity.
It's a print that shows a record collection - it looks like a lot of LP cover spines on a shelf. It helps bring back the almost lost art of browsing.
Tell us what music you want on your record collection print and that's what we'll fill it with. And because there's lots of different artists and albums you might want on your print, there are lots of different ways you can tell us what you want:
If you want to mix it up a bit, that's fine too - tell us a few albums and a few artists, for example. If we don't understand your instructions, we'll clarify with you before we design your print.
How many albums fit on one print? We can fit between 35 and 100 albums on a print, depending on the size of the print.
And here's an idea...buy two or more canvases and stick them next to each other on the wall. It looks like you have a set of shelves containing hundreds of LPs!
Record collections can be organised in several ways. The way they're organised might tell you something about the person who organised them.
I don't know whether there have been any scientific surveys but I suspect that most record collections start off being well organised and that over time the organisation degenerates. Records get put back in the wrong place, or not put back at all, or they get borrowed by someone else. Or you want to make sure that your current favourite is easy to find so you put it at the beginning.
Someone else's semi-organised or randomly organised record collection is a wonderful thing to browse through!
As you browse the LP spines you're bound to discover something interesting, or something surprising (yes, I'll happily have Showaddywaddy and Chas And Dave mixed in with my Genesis albums).
Sometimes you'll find music you've never heard of (Terrafolk, anybody?).
Sometimes you'll have to look again because there's something you think should be there that you can't find. It's all part of the pleasure of browsing. You can get lost in the search.
Second Hand record shops want to get you quickly to the records you're most interested in, so they split their stock into categories and genres, and they'll have a different section for each letter of the alphabet. It helps you to browse the records you're most likely to buy. You can still make unexpected discoveries but often when you're looking to buy, you can get so focused that it's more of a search than a browse.
With your record collection at home, you might organise it in a way so that's easiest to find the music you want to play.
With a record collection print, a randomly organised collection surely gives maximum browsing pleasure.
Browsing someone else's record collection print is as pleasurable as browsing their randomly-organised music collection. It maximises the chance of making unexpected discoveries, of coming across something that you didn't think was going to be there.
There's no 'right' way to browse. You can't sign up for browsing lessons. You just have to dive in!
You can scan the albums in order from left to right. Or from right to left. Or you can jump from the beginning of the print, then to the end, and then back to the middle.
Soon you'll be talking about the music and asking questions about the albums you're not familiar with. A record collection print is an amazing conversation piece and a wonderful way to show your taste in music without pumping up the volume all the time.