Pet Shop Boys icons

Left to my own devices

Few musical artists have fused audio and visual as artfully as Pet Shop Boys. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s use of design to project the band as a brand has been in evidence almost from day one. With backgrounds respectively in magazine publishing and architecture, it’s no surprise that an eye for visual detail would permeate everything for Tennant and Lowe. …

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Value for money

Today in the UK we get a fresh design for one of our bank notes and the worthy £50 image is apt for Pride month as it now features a man whose legacy should never be forgotten: Alan Turing – a leading mathematician, developmental biologist, and a pioneer in the field of computer science. Alan Turing helped accelerate Allied efforts to …

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Episode 17 – Bill Smith

In this episode of Art on your sleeve, I speak with graphic designer and art director, Bill Smith. Since the 1970s, Bill has been one of the busiest designers servicing the music industry and he’s worked on so many record sleeves that a book has been published celebrating his amazing portfolio. In the introduction to the show I read from …

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Episode 16 – Eurovision Song Contest

I’m back, Back, BACK! A new season of Art on your sleeve is upon us as we all gradually emerge from hibernation and remember what life was like before Zoom. This episode is a slight diversion from the usual format, but all is explained in the show introduction. I am joined by Eddie De Souza and Lucy Percy to dissect …

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Liverpool 8 against apartheid

31 years ago today, Nelson Mandela was released from prison. In 1990 the world was a very different place; I was not long into my first job and aggrieved about local and global injustices. I’d just ‘come out’, discovered animal rights and gone vegetarian, there was an unequal age of consent, the AIDS pandemic was raging and Liverpool was just …

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Hope and resistance

At the start of 2020, Soft Octopus Design Studio was commissioned by Liverpool Hope University to work on a collaboration with Tate Liverpool. Titled Hope and Resistance, the exhibition’s aim was to present the artefacts, stories and artwork of young people living on the Palestinian West Bank who had responded to the question – What do you want to tell the …

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Episode 15 – Simon Halfon

This episode is an audio supplement to a six-page Pop Art feature I wrote for Classic Pop magazine, issue 27, published February/March 2017. This issue of the magazine is now out of print but it is available to purchase in digital format from: https://pocketmags.com/classic-pop-magazine/febmar-17 From the horse’s mouth, or the designers website: Simon Halfon has been designing artwork since the …

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