Many collectors have a section of their collection dedicated to the colourful and artistic world of colour and picture vinyl. A great number of new releases are pressed on a vibrant coloured vinyl, and for some collectors, the design of the vinyl can be more important than the music they hold. But just how long have coloured pressings been around and where did they come from?

Blue early Columbia colour vinyl


Some of the very first coloured records were blue 78s made by Columbia in the 1930s, like the one above.

In the 1940s, RCA began to press 45s in seven different colours according to their genre, such as green for Country and Western and yellow for Children’s. 

 

 

However, RCA brought this concept to an end fairly quickly, due to pricing concerns as well as rationing after the war. 

 

Atlas Records


One style of coloured vinyl that many of us assume to be a rather more modern invention is the multicoloured or ‘splatter’ vinyl.

However, the first of these were seen on 78s and were made by a small label called Morrison Records in the USA in the 40s.

 

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The beauty of multicolour records is that no two records will ever come out the same, which just furthers the rarity and often personal nature of collections.

 Multicolour and splatter vinyl collection

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Standard coloured vinyl is manufactured in the same way as black, just using different coloured pellets and pucks on the press. Multicoloured, however, is a slightly longer process where pellets of one colour are added to the initial puck, enable to the colour to be randomly pressed throughout the record.

Click the image below to see a video showing one manufacturer's process.

Black and white splatter colour vinyl being pressed at a vinyl pressing plant

Many modern artists will only release their music on coloured vinyl and in limited edition releases. They will often release different coloured versions of records for availability on specific websites or shops, helping to promote independent stores in the process.

This has inspired a new generation of ‘completionists’ as fans attempt to own every version of a release that exists. While back in the 70s and 80s this ‘completionist’ itch was scratched by collecting different pressing with unique matrix numbers, or different countries’ pressings, in the 21st century collecting the whole set of coloured vinyl has been added to that list and has arguably partially driven the resurgence in vinyl.