Punk, Post-Punk & the British Design Identity

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An examination of how modern British graphic design is directly shaped by the punk + post-punk music movements of the 1970s & 80s.

Text of Punk, Post-Punk & the British Design Identity

  • 1. PUNK T P O SP U N K+ the British design identity GS/MDES 5102Design IssuesCHRIS MOOREHEAD

2. Our image of modern British graphic design is directly shaped by the punk + post-punk music movements beginning in 1977 Punk developed as a reaction to the economic, political + social turbulence experienced in the UK during the 1970s as the former British Empire dissolved Evolved into post-punk, + eventually percolated into mainstream cultureABSTRACT + O V E R V I E W 3. Three areas examined:1. British graphic design history2. Devolution of United Kingdom from its status as the British Empire, + the related economic, social, + racial turmoil experi- enced during the process3. Rise of alternative subcultures in response to an inflexible + authoritarian mainstreamRESEARCHM E T H O D S 4. Brophy, P. (1990). Post Punk Graphics: The Displaced Present, Perfectly Placed. Poynor, R. (2003). No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism. Poyner, R. (Ed.) (2004). Communicate: Independent British Graphic Design since the Sixties. Huygen, F. (1989). British Design: Image & Identity. Triggs, T. (2003). Type Design: Radical Innovations and Experimentation.D E S I G N KEY TEXTS 5. Berman, M. (1982). All That is Solid Melts into Air: the Experience of Modernity. Gardiner, M. (2004). The Cultural Roots ofBritish Devolution. Hall, S. (1988). The Hard Road to Renewal:Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left. Nairn, T. (1977). The Break-up of Britain: Crisisand Neo-Nationalism.KEY TEXTS P O L I T I C A L / E C O N O M I C 6. KEY TEXTS C U LT U R A LHall, S. & Jefferson, T. (2006). Resistance Through Rit- uals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain.Haslam, D. (2005). Not Abba: the Real Story of the 1970s.Hebdige, D. (1977). Subculture: the Meaning of Style.Marcus, G. (1989). Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century.Reynolds, S. (2006). Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-punk 1978-1984.Savage, J. (1991). Englands Dreaming: Anarchy, SexPistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond. 7. E N D O F E M P I R E 8. Sectarian conflict British army was deployed late 1969 Home rule suspended 1972 Provisional IRA commenced armed campaign against British mainland In most British urban centres, bombings became a regular oc- currence INSTABILITY N O R T H E R N I R E L A N D 9. INSTABILITY U R B A N U N R E S T Rioting in Bristol, Toxteth, Brixton + Moss Side A particularly violent race riot occurred at the Notting Hill Carnival in 1976 Response to heavy-handed + often brutal police tactics Suspected Persons Act, 1977 10. P U N K 11. November 5, 1975 Played first show, at St Martins College of Art Raw energy, outrageous behaviour, + contempt for conventions of established British society Spawned new era in British music, fashion + design BIRTH OF PUNK S E X P I S T O L S 12. JAMIE REIDA R T I S T+ A N A R C H I S TAffiliated with the Situationist International Art school colleague of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren Designed the sleeve for the first Sex Pistols album, Never Mind the Bollocks (1976)S E X P I S T O L S , N E V E R M I N D T H E B O L LO C K S ( 1 9 7 6 ) 13. Developed his unique collaged ransom note typography while art directing radical political magazine Suburban Press Influenced by the student uprisings of May 1968, + the accompanying Situationist- themed posters + graffiti JAMIE REID C O L L A G E DT Y P E 14. TH E DAM N E D, M U S I C F OR PLEAS U R E (1977) Alias of Swiss-trained graphic designer Colin Fulcher Art directed Oz magazine + designed sleeves for progressive-rock band Hawkwind, before becoming designer for independent label Stiff RecordsR E L U C TA N T I C O N BARNEY BUBBLES 15. BARNEY BUBBLES I N F L U E N C EDesigned sleeves for Elvis Costello, Ian Dury + the Blockheads, + the Damned Very publicity-shy, + never signed his work Suffered from depression, + committed suicide in 1983 at the age of 41 Influenced an entire generation of British E LV I S C O S T E L L O , T H I S Y E A R S M O D E L ( 1 9 7 8 ) graphic designers 16. N O S O C I E T Y 17. INSTABILITY Y O R K S H I R ER I P P E R Murdered 13 women in + around Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, Huddersfield, + Halifax between 1975 + 1980 Apprehended in early 1981 Peter William Sutcliffe, a lorry driver from Bradford Claimed he was a tool of Gods will 18. RISE OF THE RIGHT M A R G A R E T T H A T C H E R Became Prime Minister on May 4, 1979 Dismantled UK welfare state, privatizing all nationalized industries + shutting down state- owned coal mines, steel mills, + manufacturing facilities Social Darwinism There is no such thing as society 19. LABOUR UNREST C O A L M I N E R S S T R I K E 1984 to 1985 Eventual defeat permanently weakened the trade union movement An ideological victory for the Thatcher government 20. URBAN UNREST M O R ER I O T I N GFrom 1980 to 1990, ThatchersBritain was the riot capital ofthe world. Thatcher may haveruled in Parliament but outon the street it was a differentmatter. From the first eruptionof inner-city rioting in St PaulsBristol in 1980 through the Julyrioting across the country in1981 to Brixton and BroadwaterFarm in 1985 someone some-where was lobbing a brick orpetrol bomb at Thatcher.IAN BONE 21. P O S T P U N K 22. B UZ ZCOCKS, A DI FFE R E NT KI N D OF TE NSION (1980) Graduate of Manchester Polytechnic University Influenced by the work of Barney Bubbles Designed iconic sleeves for the Buzzcocks, Duran Duran, + Peter Gabriel P O S T P U N KP I O N E E R MALCOLM GARRETT 23. PETER SAVILLEF A C T O R Y R E C O R D SJ OY D I V I S I O N , U N K N OW N P L E A S U R E S ( 1 979 ) FA C 1 T H E FA CT O R Y ( 1 978 ) 24. Designed sleeves for industrial bands Throbbing Gristle, 23 Skidoo, + Cabaret Voltaire NEVILLE BRODY F E T I S HR E C O R D S 25. Designed sleeves + postersfor Factory RecordsPioneered an intenselytypographic aestheticPre-computerall type set+ layered by hand 8VO T Y P EA S I M A G E 26. VAUGHAN OLIVER 4 A DR E C O R D S British independent label best known for American bands Throwing Muses + the Pixies Highly conceptual design which did not always appear to relate to the subject matter PIXIES, DOOLITTLE (1989) 27. N E W D E S I G N 28. Sheffield-based design collective Subverted corporate logos on album sleeves W A R P R E C O R D S DESIGNERS REPUBLIC 29. Mixing music + designTomato/UnderworldRenavigating concept of authorship TOMATO B L U R R I N GB O U N D A R I E SU N DE RWOR LD, DU BNOBASSWITH MYH EADMAN (1993) 30. WHY NOT A S S O C I A T E S At first glance, work appears to be un- controlled However , highly- disciplined sense of hierarchy maintains readability Successful transition from music industry to corporate world 31. Once-radical graphic design such as that created by Why Not Associates has now become mainstream Contemporary British corporate design borrows heavily from punk + post-punk eras Conceptual, experimental, + uniquely BritishD E S I G NI D E N T I T Y CONCLUSIONS 32. PUNK P O S TP U N K+ the British design identityFebruary 2009