First published in 1961, the Carols for Choirs series has for many singers become synonymous with the Christmas season, used in festive concerts and services across the world. While many things have changed since that first edition, one thing has remained constant: the illustrated angel on the cover. We did some investigating in the archives recently to uncover the history of the Carols for Choirs angel, looking at how it came about and how it has evolved over the past 60 years.
2011: The final form!
The final iteration of the cover design comes with the release of Carols for Choirs 5 in 2011, designed by John Grandidge. This happened in conjunction with celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Carols for Choirs, reflected in the gold colour of the cover. From draft versions of the cover design, we can see that returning the angel to prominence was a key feature in this rebrand, as were the bold and recognisable colour palettes for each cover.
So we come to the end of the angel’s journey... at least for now! From humble beginnings, it has grown into a globally recognised brand that many have come to associate with the Christmas season as copies—old and new—are dusted off and return to choir stalls for another season of carol-singing.