1. The Beatles vs. London vs. The Future

    I love this photo of the Beatles’ final live performance, in 1969 on the roof of the Apple offices. I love it because of the London skyline at the top of the photo. Grey, grotty, dusty… quite the antithesis of the psychedelic Fab Four below (or perhaps a reflection of the state of the group at that point?) The 1970s are literally on the horizon, and things are about to get grim. OK - glam, then grim, but you take my point.

    And in this day & age there can be no greater plaudit for a photograph than this: I have it as the lockscreen on my iPhone.

    standarddesigns.etsy.com

     
  2. Flight Stripes

    One from the Natural History Museum, one from the Science Museum. 

     
  3. David Bowie’s Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane - As Books

    Hot on the heels of my set of Berlin Bowie prints - Low, "Heroes" and Lodger - and my slightly unusual Space Oddity print, here come three new ones that re-imagine Bowie’s albums as books instead of songs. This time I’m going early 1970s, starting with Hunky Dory, above. As ever, I’ve picked books where the colours of the spines together echo the colours in the original album artwork.

    The next print is Ziggy Stardust, or to give it its full title, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars:

    Appropriately enough, I’m using a majority of early 1970s Penguin Books in these prints.

    Finally, here’s Aladdin Sane. This one comes complete with reference to the red and blue lightning bolt make-up across Bowie’s face on the album cover:

    Nice, eh?

    All the prints are available in the Standard Designs Etsy shop right now.

     
  4. Kate Bush: All Her Studio Albums As Books

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    I’ve finally completed my project - a whole year in the making - of reimagining all 10 of Kate Bush’s studio albums as collections of books. The image above is the The Red Shoes print. But the project began this time last year with Hounds of Love (below).

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    When I made this print, of my favourite Kate Bush album, I thought I’d leave it there and carry on making other prints of my favourite albums by various artists. But no, I couldn’t resist making a print of The Sensual World:

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    But then, why not make a print of The Kick Inside too? And so…

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    I think it was at this stage that I began to think about covering all of Kate Bush’s studio albums. I like sets of prints, I like the way they sit together or maybe don’t, I like noticing differences between prints in groups, and so a group of ten prints became an enticing prospect. Aerial was next:

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    I decided that I’d take the colour cues for these prints from each album’s artwork (Aerial's bright oranges, umbers and yellows being, I think, a particularly successful example). At the same time, I wanted them all to hold to a kind of central palette. What better way to test this than with perhaps the most grey/black album cover in the Kate Bush oeuvre, 50 Words For Snow:

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    Here I was able to keep in enough warmth (through the agedness of the books and the way sunlight on them over the years has in some ways warmed them) that it fitted in with the rest of the prints. Back to direct warmth, though, with Lionheart, which includes one spine that directly alludes to the pattern on the wallpaper in the background of the cover photograph (well, an approximation thereof anyway):

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    After this, it had to be Never For Ever:

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    The Red Shoes came next (but you’ve already seen that at the top of this post). Two more to do: Director’s Cut and The Dreaming. With Director’s Cut I wanted a set of colour rhythms that would echo the sprocket holes in the celluloid film seen in the cover photo, as well as its cold-warm-ness:

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    The last print was The DreamingHow appropriate that, for an album that caused Kate Bush such problems in production, this print was an absolute devil to balance. I went through at least 10 proofs trying to get the close tones of the books I’d photographed to relate to the sepia-plus-orange-plus-green of the original album cover photo. But perseverance pays off:

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    …and the whole thing has a slight late-1930s look to me, which I like.

    So there you are. A year’s work. The prints are available in the Standard Designs Etsy shop.

     
  5. Working = Tinkering With Books

    These might eventually turn into a series of Brian Eno prints.

     
  6. Standard Designs in Stylist Magazine

    Yes, there on the top shelf in this photo from today’s Stylist magazine is my Stone Roses print.

    Should you wish to style your room in a similar fashion to the above, and I strongly suggest you should, the print is available here.

     
  7. The Drummer’s Recommendation, aka Mike Joyce Likes My Stuff

    Very gratifying to see that Mike Joyce, drummer with The Smiths, likes my Smiths posters.

    (Pssst - they’re available in my Etsy shop.)

     
  8. New Print: Morrissey’s ‘World Peace Is None Of Your Business’ As A Collection Of Books

    My new print, now available in my Etsy shop, is Morrissey’s World Peace Is None Of Your Business as if it had been written as a series of books.

    If you’ve read Morrissey’s Autobiography you’ll know that this is a man who’s as clever, funny and incisive over 500 pages as he is over 3 and a half minutes. So the what-if element in my new albums-as-books print is I think quite possible: what if after writing the Autobiography Morrissey had said to himself, ‘I’m going to carry on with the written word’? This is how his brilliant new album World Peace Is None Of Your Business might have turned out.

    I have to say that over the past number of years I’ve greeted the arrival of a new Morrissey album with the same mixture of emotions as a parent watching their child take part in their first go-kart race - keenly hoping that they do something marvellously skilful, and secretly praying that they don’t end up in a heap of splintered wood and grazed shins. Luckily (well, maybe luck had nothing to do with it), this time Morrissey has swerved around all the guitar-riff-based oil-slicks in his path and crossed the line in triumphant style.

    His lyrics are his funniest and some of his most direct in years. But it’s the music that shows the most important shift here: its attention to detail and nuance in both instrumentation and production. Instead of being out of time, in a Morrissey universe all of his own, this for the first time in a long time is a contemporary recording. It is here, it is now. But it is also completely in the Morrissey universe too. It’s an amazing feat.

    I really enjoyed putting this print together, selecting books so that they worked together tonally whilst each retaining their own bump and lift of originality, just the same way as the songs on the album travel from place to place and style to style but stay within the bounds of the album.

    So do give the album a listen, you won’t regret it. And when you’ve heard it… there’s a very reasonably-priced print waiting for you in my Etsy shop.

     
  9. My Smiths theatre posters have received a nice write-up on brandish.tv today.

     
  10. image: Download

    Coloured pencils are vastly underrated, especially when doodling absolutely mindlessly as in this example. They really are the dill pickle in one’s aimless mental hamburger.

    Coloured pencils are vastly underrated, especially when doodling absolutely mindlessly as in this example. They really are the dill pickle in one’s aimless mental hamburger.

     
  11. The Ultimate Art Print for the Book-Loving Led Zeppelin Fan

    'Led Zeppelin IV' as if it had been written as a collection of Penguin Books. This print is available right now from the Standard Designs Etsy Shop. Click here for details.

     
  12. image: Download

    The sun sets on Literature. Goodnight, Literature.

    The sun sets on Literature. Goodnight, Literature.

     
  13. Peter Gabriel ‘So’ Album-As-Books Print

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    Here’s the latest addition to my series of prints of classic albums as if they’d been written as books instead of songs. It’s Peter Gabriel’s 1986 album ‘So’.

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    Listening to it now, almost 30 years after its release, it still sounds as musically interesting as it ever did. It has a denseness and a sparseness too. Simultaneously.

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    There’s some nice contributions from Kate Bush, and also from Laurie Anderson on the final track ‘This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)’, although I personally prefer the version on her album ‘Mister Heartbreak’. Ah yes, final track… this is a bone of contention…

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    There are various track orders, between the original vinyl release (which I owned, and which ended perfectly I’ve always felt with the spooky ‘We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)’). Then there’s the almost-simultaneous CD release, which has the Laurie Anderson track at the end - this is the track order I’ve chosen for this print, mostly because it’s the physical version of the album the majority of people will have heard it first on. Then there’s the reissue, and the whole thing about Peter Gabriel wanting ‘In Your Eyes’ to end the album, and… well, one can get tired of endless ‘definitive versions’ and ‘director’s cuts’ - in any medium. Hopefully this print will please you and ring true to your experience of the album. And if it doesn’t, it probably won’t be too far out I’d guess.

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    Anyway, the print is available now in the Standard Designs shop on Etsy. If you’re a Peter Gabriel fan, or if you know someone who is, this will be a nice and pretty unique addition to your or their collection.

     
  14. David Bowie ‘Space Oddity’ 45th Anniversary Print

    'Ground Control to Major Tom…' Can you believe it’s 45 years since ‘Space Oddity’ was released as a single? Crazy, eh? Released on 11 July 1969. And so now I wonder about Major Tom, and I wonder if, as the song still plays, he’s still up there, in the imaginary pop-osphere, floating in his tin can. So I made this print to commemorate the anniversary. It’s available now in the Standard Designs shop on Etsy.

    It’s simple but effective, with a little bit of the late Pop Art of the period in the way the Earth is heavily colour halftoned, and a touch of the Art Deco revival of the early 1970s in the typography.

    It’d look great on your wall. Treat yourself to one here.

     
  15. Waiter, there’s a mid-60s abstract on the floor. Would you kindly mop it up, please, as it’s putting me off my food.

    Waiter, there’s a mid-60s abstract on the floor. Would you kindly mop it up, please, as it’s putting me off my food.