When Titans…Collaborate: Malcolm Garrett + Peter Saville Sleeves [part 1]

Malcolm Garrett [L] and Peter Saville: two great tastes that taste great together…

Manchester was a hotbed of musical influence in the Post-Punk musical environment for sure, but if you’re a graphic designer [raises hand] it was even more influential from the same period. While there were titans of sleeve art prior to the Post-Punk period who had blazed dazzling trails for others to follow, such as the amazing Barney Bubbles, Garrett and Saville represented the new breed of the late 70s and were friends and graduates of the Class of 1978 from Manchester Polytechnic’s Graphic Design program. Five years later, I was beginning my matriculation at my local University and I already regarded these two as figureheads. Their work apart represents a large chunk of my Record Cell. But on three occasions, they actually collaborated on a project.

EXHIBIT A: DURAN DURAN • My Own Way [1981]

duran duran my own way UK7A
EMI | UK | 7″ | 1981 | EMI 5254

The 7″ was a four color mechanical design: black, burgundy, cream and that dazzler, metallic gold. When printing in less than four colors, the impact of metallic inks or foil stamps cannot be underestimated! They really make a low-color job pop. The breakdown of influences here suggests to me that the color scheme may have been at the hands of Saville. At the same time his “Rage In Eden” design for Ultravox used a very similar palette: reflex blue, burgundy, ecru, and metallic gold.

The typography was all serifs which typically pointed to Saville, as Garrett had a penchant for Modernism. But that was manifest here by the notion of flush right alignment. A pure Garrett touch. Let us keep in mind that the all lower case, serif typography was part of the upcoming design vocabulary for the “Rio” album, of which this early version of “My Own Way” was technically the first single.

duran duran my own way front cover 12
EMI | UK | 12″ | 1981 | 12 EMI 5254

The 12″ single still used gold on the label art but the cover swapped the band’s name for turquoise. And the 12″ A-label used a different illustration. The elephant in the room was the scratchboard illustration itself; framed with hand drawn cream inserts echoing the unsteady line of the illustration. Neither Garrett nor Saville had been known for this style of illustration earlier, making this design decision a real surprise. making this sleeve an intriguing balance between the formalism each designer was already known for and something approaching spontaneity. Not a trait I’d ascribe to either designer.

Next: …The Most Dazzling Album Cover Ever

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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5 Responses to When Titans…Collaborate: Malcolm Garrett + Peter Saville Sleeves [part 1]

  1. uofsc93 says:

    I own this as well, wish the song was as good as the cover. This was one of those cases of buying some thing “song unheard” hoping for an amazing version of what was on the Rio album..


  2. negative1ne says:

    hi mr monk,

    great article and excellent hilights about the design.
    two of my favorite designers.

    i love the single, and strings on the remixes. definitely a
    tribute to the disco remixes of the late 70s. one of my

    some notes:
    1 the portugese 7 inch version had completely different artwork
    with the same font. a group cover shot, and pink and yellow
    colors on the back

    2 the japanese 7 inch version had an alternate nagel image, which is one
    of my favorites also. uses different fonts and imagery also

    3 the spanish 7 inch had a different picture cover, but more regular back on the

    4 the french 7 inch also had a different cover picture, but the same style back sleeve

    5 the rare uk white label (actually) blue promo, has the rare instrumental remix
    which has shown up digitally on the reissues, but not on cd

    Duran Duran – My Own Way (Night Version)

    Label: EMI – PSLP 348
    Vinyl, 12″, 45 RPM, Promo, White Label
    Country: UK
    Released: 1981
    Genre: Electronic
    Style: Synth-pop
    A My Own Way (Night Version)
    B1 My Own Way (Short Version)
    B2 My Own Way (Instrumental Version)



    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – At the time I was very down on the Disco strings on the first version, which I immediately bought on import in 1981. I felt that it was too close to 1978 for that…at the time. Now I’m a little better with it. I really thinned out my Duran Duran collection almost a decade ago. I only have the German 7″, Japanese 7″ and UK 12″ of “My Own Way.” Bought a lot of great travel around the time of my 50th birthday with the proceeds from those “excessive” records!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Deserat says:

      That Japanese cover is luscious. It seems to me the Japanese versions many times have the bet cover art – I wonder why that is. I also love my Japanese crochet books and their sense of visual design is top-notch.


  3. Pingback: The Rob Preuss Interview [part 1] | Post-Punk Monk

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