In 1979 pop songbook design was shaken up by Barney Bubbles and the artist Derek Boshier, who had come together to collaborate on the group exhibition Lives.
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Along with the new edition of Reasons To Be Cheerful, there are a host of books out this autumn which doff their hats to the design legacy of Barney Bubbles.
Volume, the new collection of writings by Kenneth FitzGerald, is an entertaining, erudite and accessible account of the the US design critic’s abiding interest in the relationship between graphic design, music and art.
The essays, which muse on such subjects as the impact of the writings of Lester Bangs and Brian Eno’s view of culture as a series of intersecting axes, range from the self-published to those which originally appeared in Emigre and Eye.
“It’s unavoidable to include music when considering many of the prominent figures and movements in graphic design,” writes FitzGerald in his introduction.
“Design for music has set trends in the field for decades. Reid Miles‘ album covers for Blue Note created a form language that suffuses all areas of design production.”
A peroration on the passing of vinyl represents a mis-step; obituaries such as this look distinctly premature in the light of the reappraisal of the format now gathering pace.
FitzGerald is back on-the-money when he points out that recent years have revealed certain “masters of the form” to be overall exemplars of graphic design, describing Barney Bubbles as “the definitive album cover designer, endlessly inventive and astoundingly prolific”.
Volume: Writings On Graphic Design, Music, Art & Culture by Kenneth FitzGerald is available here.