Hugh Syme

Art Director, Illustrator and Graphic Designer, M17

Hugh Syme is a graphic artist best known as the man responsible for all but the first 2 of Rush's album cover art. He also created Rush's famous starman logo, though he never imagined the band would adopt it as their key brand for decades to come, nor that it would gain such international recognizably. In 2015, Hugh published his 276 page tome, dedicated to his 3 daughters, and celebrating 40 years as art director for the band Rush (“Art Of Rush / Serving A Life Sentence”).a 279 page table top book called THE ART OF RUSH by Hugh Syme.  It sold out their "Collector Editions" at $ 1000 per book within 48 minutes after it was made available.  The second tier ($499) 'Special Edition" book sold out in 28 minutes. But, who's counting?

Hugh collaborated with Ian Thomas as both keyboardist and songwriter from 1973 to 1980, eventually leading to his alliance with Rush, as they were both then managed by SRO/Anthem at that time. Other musicians he has designed and created artwork for include Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Celine Dion, Scorpions, Meatloaf, Megadeth, Stone Sour, Styx, Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, Stray Cats, Asia, Roger Clinton, The Band “High On The Hog” and “Jerico”, Dave Edmunds, Joe Walsh, Earth Wind and Fire and Dream Theater - and hundreds more.

Being a fellow musician, he has also contributed piano and keyboards on 4 Rush albums.

Syme first started working with Spencer Proffer in the 80’s on Proffer’s Pasha/CBS Records company related artwork. As resident Art Director for Pasha, Hugh and Spencer collaborated on more than 23 album cover projects as well as national ad campaigns during a 10 year span before Hugh was hired to work for David Geffen, interfacing closely with A&R guru at Geffen Records, John Kalodner, as art director. Hugh has designed the M17 graphic look, including logo, many Huqua/Padaro book covers and graphic materials.  Hugh is overseeing and handling all the album cover and graphic design for M17 projects including Jimi Hendrix: The Acoustic Experience,  along with multiple film, television and book enterprises.

Recently, Hugh designed and created the art for the illustrated children's book, “Our House by Graham” Nash.  

He designed the “I Hope You Dance” companion book to the documentary film and theatrical special, edited and compiled by Judith A. Proffer.

Hugh also worked closely with producer/director Steve Binder in art directing and designing the Elvis Comeback Special Book which will be launched in 2018, the year of the 50th Anniversary of that landmark special.

Hugh Syme is as versatile as his art. In 1996, he designed the cover for Neil Peart’s travel book, The “Masked Rider”, and has continued to design covers for Neil (“The Ghost Rider”, “Traveling Music”, “Roadshow”) and he has photography and design credit on Celine Dion's 1990 album, "Unison." In addition, Syme designed all the covers for the albums recorded by Max Webster - a group of fellow Canadians also on the SRO/Anthem label. In addition, he has completed designs for the following covers: Megadeth’s "Cryptic Writings"; 1992’s "Countdown to Extinction”, 1994’s "Youthanasia" and 2001’s “The World Needs A Hero”; Whitesnake’s 1987 debut album “Serpens Albus”, "Slip of the Tongue" and “Restless Heart”; David Coverdale and Jimmy Page’s album “Merge”; and Queensryche's albums, "Hear In The Now Frontier", “Promised Land, and “American Soldier”.

He has also worked with such jazz notables as Chick Corea, Bob Mover and Steve Kovan.

Hugh Syme's art education came from the Toronto New School of Art in Toronto and York University in York, England. In addition to the album covers for which he is now internationally-renowned, Syme has worked on advertisements such companies as Accenture, Denon, Xerox, AT&T, The David Geffen Company, The Washington Post, Virgin, Bausch & Lomb, Universal Studios, Miramax, Forbes, Panasonic, Paramount, MGM Grand, Microsoft, Sony, Alpine Audio, Disney, Time Warner, E. I. Lily Pharmaceutical, Samuel Adams Beer, numerous international advertising agencies; he has contributed his vision and artistic style to a wide range of video and packaging designs. He is also an accomplished portrait artist.

He lives and works between Toronto and Indiana, where he lives with his 3 daughters, Hadley, Maggie and Abbey.