Garbstore: You are perhaps best known for your work with music magazine Ray Gun, where you oversaw the design of 15 issues. With the music that was coming out at the time and the artists gracing the covers, it must have been an exciting place to work. What was your experience of working at the magazine?
When I left design college in 1990 it was an incredibly exciting time for music and design. Electronic music was evolving towards an ultimately Nirvana-inspired alternative guitar-driven scene and a handful of UK designers/studios including Why Not Associates (Next Catalogues), The Designers Republic (Warp Records) and the west coast-based Rudy VanderLans (Émigré) and David Carson (Beach Culture Magazine) were spearheading a graphic design revolution fueled by experimental typography.
So when I cut my teeth in the north of England on graphic design work for lo-fi youth culture events it gave me an avenue to explore my own vision of what the revolution I found myself immersed in might be – and this experimentation ultimately landed me what was literally my dream job at Ray Gun Magazine. I designed 15 monthly issues, starting each from scratch – no grids or approach carrying over from one to another – burning three out of every four weeks including weekends pouring my heart and soul into designing the magazine.
Can you imagine being given advanced copies of music that was being featured in the mag – to play in my studio whilst I designed layouts to it…here’s a snapshot of what came out when I was there…Ultra, OK Computer, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, Urban Hymns, New Forms, The Fat of the Land, Dig Your Own Hole, Vanishing Point, Homework, In It For The Money, Portishead, Blur, Be Here Now, Homogenic, Dots and Loops…
Petrol/Gas Station Sign, Cle Elum, WA, USA.
Photograph by Chris Ashworth.