Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey - catalogue front cover
Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey - Working With Wim - Hamish Muir (ex-8vo)
Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey - Working With Wim - Mark Holt (ex-8vo)
Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey - C
Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey - bag
Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey - stickers
Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey - Vormgevers postcard
Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey - Kinderspel postcard
Working With Wim - Design Museum talk with Hamish Muir, Mark Holt and Tony Brook, Monday 9 May 2011
Former 8vo partners Mark Holt and Hamish Muir joined Tony Brook, the curator of the Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey exhibition at the Design Museum in London for a conversation about their work with highly influential graphic designer/typographer Wim Crouwel.
The second part of the evening featured Adrian Shaughnessy talking to Ben Bos.
MuirMcNeil's poster for the exhibition is available from the Design Museum Shop.
Highlights from the Mark Holt and Hamish Muir talk
Hamish Muir: We often used to tear jobs up at the proof stage because sometimes we couldn't see past our own making process. If you're looking at a collage and it comes back as a two-colour silkscreen there's a period of first of all terror, when you open the tube up and then you just want to leave it alone and not look at it.
How were you with deadlines?
Mark Holt: Brilliant. We were a very well behaved professional office and we took deadlines seriously. And with something like this which was pre-Mac we'd get three or four weeks to do a poster and sometimes it was the only one in the office. So it would be three people working on it at the same time. But we never missed a deadline, it was just part of being a design office.
The Durutti Column live at The Astoria
HM: That Haçienda 4 poster took us three or four weeks to do, this (Durutti Astoria) we had to do in a weekend because we got a call from Tony Wilson on the Friday evening saying "we want a Durutti Column poster at the printer on Monday morning". So we phoned up the typesetters and they said sorry we're not working this weekend. We had the PMT (Photo Mechanical Transfer) camera, which for you "New Money" people is a machine where you can enlarge and reduce. So, this was done in a weekend because we had to get it out on the Monday morning and all we had was the office typewriter to typeset with.
On becoming two
HM: We were three people until the end of 1988 and Simon Johnston, one of the founding principals and the person who founded the concept of Octavo with Mark, decided that life in London was no longer tenable because his girlfriend lived in California. As he said, when the phone bills start costing more than plane ticket he thought it was time to emigrate!
HM: ... the first job that Mark and I did as two people was quite a difficult thing for us to do because we'd always been used to working with three and that had a certain dynamic and then suddenly it was just the two of us on our own. We kind of felt we had some points to prove but to ourselves, not to anybody else.
The fights became easier because you knew where the punches were coming from! There was never anyone creeping up behind you so in that sense it did help focus what we did.
On Factory / The Durutti Column
HM: Factory were the client who weren't a client really because they never gave you a brief. It was difficult to even extract basic information from them, about what the tracklisting for an album might be. We did a number of album sleeves for The Durutti Column over a seven or eight year period.
MH: Factory or The Durutti Column never saw the artwork until the sleeve turned up printed in their Manchester offices. That was fantastic freedom as a designer but very quickly by about the second sleeve in it became very quite a strain because we were trying to repay that level of trust in some way each time. We wanted to better the sleeve we'd done last time.
The Guitar and Other Machines
HM: The Haçienda poster you saw earlier and this album sleeve are quite important in terms of the way that we connected with Wim and his brief for the museum. We started to see space as being not just two dimensional but we started to see a half dimension in the depth of the page. So, this particular album cover was constructed as four layers in space, three on glass and one on board. The whole thing was designed on that 5 by 4 camera you can see in the foreground with a photograph being taken to form the final album cover. So that klnd of layering of type and information and the manipulation of 2D space into almost the third dimension was I think something that Crouwel saw in our work and it kind of connected.
MH: It was important for us, although we didn't realise it at the time, was the level of naivety we had. We were photographers taking our own photos for artwork. On some jobs we were copywriter. We were pretty much doing a renaissance job
Vini Reilly rejected sleeve
That's the sleeve that Vini rejected. He gave us that photograph and he'd just had his hair done and he sent us that image as a Polaroid and I think he expected us to use it as the sleeve. But did our usual thing as 8vo and put the image in small. And he threw a complete wobbly when it turned up at Factory. It was the only time he saw a proof because Wilson had to go back to Manchester. He threw it out and got some local guys to do it. So that never saw the light of day.