Alan Fletcher / Colin Forbes / Bob Gill - Graphic Design: Visual Comparisons, 1963 (1969 reprint)
The vast majority of advertisements, posters, television commercials, booklets and other printed matter clutter our environment and insult our intelligence… And besides, they are so monumentally boring
Instead of sitting at your computer, and looking at books, go to a drycleaner, and sit there. The way to get an interesting idea is to go to the source. Stay there until you have thought of something interesting about drycleaning. Then, listen to that idea and it will design itself.
George Harrison, Cannes, France, May 1968, photographed by Ringo Starr (Photograph/ringostarrphotobook.com - via CNN)
George, Pattie, Ringo and Maureen were in Cannes for the premiere of Wonderwall on 17 May 1968.
“In January 1968 I was in Bombay, working on the soundtrack for the film Wonderwall - a Sixties hippy movie directed by Joe Massot. He asked me if I would do the music, but I told him I didn’t write music for films. Then he said that whatever I gave him, he would use. That sounded pretty simple, and I thought: ‘I’ll give them an Indian music anthology, and who knows, maybe a few hippies will get turned on to Indian music.’
I worked with Indian musicians at the EMI/HMV studios in Bombay. Mr Bhaskar Menon (later to become the head of EMI worldwide) brought a two-track stereo machine all the way from Calcutta on the train for me, because all they had in Bombay was a mono machine. It was the same kind of huge machine we used in Abbey Road; they’re called STEEDs. I’ve got one in the kitchen now - the one that we recorded ‘Paperback Writer’ on. I came back and added a lot more in Abbey Road, and put the music on the film. Wonderwall came out some time later, and probably died a death. Ringo came with me to the premiere in Cannes. (I know this because they’ve put out the CD and I’ve read Derek’s liner notes. I didn’t remember it until I saw the photos of us with a rather nice young lady called Jane Birkin who was in the movie.)” - George, The Beatles Anthology
"I decided to do it as a mini-anthology of Indian music because I wanted to help turn the public in to Indian music.” - George, Wonderwall Music liner notes
"It was fantastic really [in India]. The studio is on top of the offices but there’s no sound-proofing. So if you listen closely to some of the Indian tracks on the LP you can hear taxis going by.
Every time the offices knocked off at 5.30 we had to stop recording because you could just hear everybody stomping down the steps. They only had a big EMI mono machine. I mixed everything as we did it there, and that was nice enough because you get spoiled working eight and sixteen tracks.” - George, liner notes
"I had a regular wind-up stop watch and I watched the film [at Twickenham Film Studios] to ‘spot-in’ the music with the watch. I wrote the timings down in my book, then I’d go to Abbey Road, make up a piece, record it and when we’d synch it up at Twickenham it always worked. It was always right.” - George, liner notes
"I suggested we take a brick out of the wall to give the fellow on the other side a chance, just as the Jack MacGowran character had a chance. Bob Gill didn’t want to do it, but he did it.” - George, liner notes [x]
That’s the fun of being a creative person – it’s to have an opinion.
In this fantastic Design Matters interview, legendary graphic designer Bob Gill dishes on everything from working with The Beatles to why there is no such thing as a bad client – “only bad designers” – to how creating things that are beautiful but don’t have a point of view is the ultimate betrayal of the creative profession.
When you get a job – say an ad for a drycleaner – many images come to mind, we all have preconceptions. My suggestion is to forget every image that comes to mind, forget everything you know about drycleaning. Instead of sitting at your computer, and looking at books, go to a drycleaner, and sit there. The way to get an interesting idea is to go to the source. Stay there until you have thought of something interesting about drycleaning. Then, listen to that idea and it will design itself.
A conversation with the brilliant Bob Gill on freelancing in New York, leaving to London on a whim, forming what is now known as Pentagram, directing a hardcore porno, writing children books and preserving the work of Robert Brownjohn.