60s Psychedelic drug posters

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On my travels round the web I ran across these late 60s parody drug posters – the following info was cribbed from the Worthpoint website:
Vintage Psychedelic Poster ‘Cocaine Candy’ Limited Print
Published by The Esoteric Poster Company in 1967
Hand-Pulled Serigraph on Thick Stock Paper, Semi-Gloss Finish
Original Art by Robert Wendell, after Roland Crump
Printing by Gawdawful Graphics / Wendell & Klopp
20″ x 13″ Black Light Sensitive
The Esoteric Poster Company, founded by Howard Morseburg in California during the early 1960’s, had a brief run before folding for good in 1968. The beatnik satirical ‘drug’ parody posters achieved popularity from the community they sought to mock. Owner and founder Howard Morseburg hired artists Roland Crump (acclaimed Disney animator) and Robert Wendell to produce the designs. Very limited printing, less than 300 (as low as 100) printed.. among the most collectible and prized of all 1960’s psychedelic era posters.
Guaranteed original from very limited back stock, from Howard Morseburg’s gallery in Alhambra, California.

Fly HeroinSniff GlueGlue credit 2Glue creditTry Opium

A bit more history:
Howard Morseburg (1924-2012) began his career in the art business in the 1950s. He was a World War II veteran who had served in the Merchant Marine and later worked in the book and magazine business. As a young officer during the war, Morseburg was on the “Murmansk Run” to the Soviet Union and other perilous wartime voyages through the submarine-infested North Atlantic. It was one of Morseburg’s friends from this time, a young skipper named Jim Greenberg, who was to introduce him to the art business.
After the war, this friend became a ship’s captain on the Atlantic route, and began importing paintings by European artists to the United States. In Europe, which was still suffering from the economic after effects of the war, there was no appreciable market for these artists’ work. During the 1950s Greenberg began selling the paintings he imported to galleries, furniture stores and interior designers who were then developing a wider consumer market for art than had existed before the war. From his base in Seattle, where he and his young family were then living, Howard Morseburg followed suit, and he began selling paintings imported from Europe throughout the western United States.
In addition to the European paintings he received, Morseburg began representing young American artists. He also became involved in the West Coast printmaking movement. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he started to represent young artists like Wayne Thiebaud, Elton Bennett and Mel Ramos, who created their own hand-pulled prints. It was this interest in printmaking that helped lead to his next venture.

The Beatnik Posters: About 1960, Morseburg became interested in creating humorous and satirical posters. At this time, the “beatnik” movement was in full swing and coffee houses and jazz clubs were full of beatniks spouting free-form poetry to the beat of bongo drums. To Morseburg, the beatnik movement found in Greenwich Village, Seattle, San Francisco and the East Bay was ripe for satire. He met a talented young Disney artist and Imagineer named Roland Crump at a gift shop in the San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles. Crump was a brilliant and eccentric young artist and designer who became one of the most important Disney “Imagineers.” Crump was already producing some hand-pulled beatnik posters before he met Morseburg, but once the association began, Morseburg had larger quantities of some of the posters published using the photo-offset process.

Crump designed a series of images that satirized the drug culture that was developing among the Beats, which Morseburg took on the road, travelling down the coast from Seattle to San Diego. In that era, drug use was not widespread and they were chiefly popular with musicians and beatnik hipsters. So, Esoteric Poster’s first releases were “Smoke Marijuana,” “Fly High, Fly Heroin Airlines” “Cocaine” and “Opium.”The next posters were which poked fun at a Beatnik club, and “Big Liz,” which was a colorful poster of a Beatnik princess. Those 30″ x 24″ posters were silk screened in three colours and for posterity’s sake they cost $0.50 to produce, were sold to book stores for only $1.00 and retailed for $1.95.

the Green GasserIn the course of his frequent sales trips to visit art galleries, Morseburg personally distributed Esoteric’s posters. His primary outlets for the posters were the book stores along the west coast that catered to college students in Berkeley, Stanford, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego. These posters were produced as very early critical parody of the drug culture by the Esoteric Poster Company, but the message was so subtle that they were popular among the very community they sought to mock.

Below are a few more I’ve run across although details about dates and print houses are scarce but I’m reasonably sure they’re from the same era.

Drug guide for heads
Poster Prints credit

Original vintage black light ultra violet poster designed by Dominick Jago, 1969.
Depiction of the pharmacopeia of the era.
Publisher: Poster Prints, Plymouth Square Center-Conshohocken, PA.
Dimensions: full sheet: 21″ x 31.5″
Hake's National Institute of Mental Health
Printed by The US Department of Health, Education and Welfare; Public Health Services and Mental Health Administration, possibly 1969 although other sources say 70’s.

Trip Without DrugsTrip without drugs details

Humanoid – 7 Songs mini LP out today

DE034 front cover Humanoid – ‘7 Songs’ on De:tuned (black and coloured vinyl editions) is out today!
Artwork by yours truly, cover includes a spot varnish finish on the circles too.
Listen on SoundCloud:

DE034 back cover

Humanoid -Cover- Black mockupOrder now: Black vinyl
Bleep: https://bit.ly/2S0SGsF
Phonica: https://bit.ly/3opugVP
Red Eye: https://bit.ly/3omvp0z
Norman: https://bit.ly/3ydoyej
Juno: https://bit.ly/3hqTdyN
Horizons: https://bit.ly/3by4pWq
Deejay: https://bit.ly/2RZiTIc
Decks: https://bit.ly/3wcqz8S
HHV: https://bit.ly/3hADjSF
Clone: https://bit.ly/3wf67UN

Humanoid -Cover- Pink mockupColored vinyl (Limited Edition)
Bleep: https://bit.ly/2S0SGsF
Phonica: https://bit.ly/2SY8DQX
Red Eye: https://bit.ly/3ojM6cI
Juno: https://bit.ly/33Oo1kU
Deejay: https://bit.ly/3yhwon2
Decks: https://bit.ly/3uRdvp6
Clone: https://bit.ly/2Ro5B7V

East Village Other covers pt.1

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Perusing the Wisconsin Historical Society G.I. Press Collection I came across a stash of East Village Other papers, all scanned in high res, (much higher than here) and started going through them. Here’s a selection of things that caught my eye from the covers and back pages.

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Possibly Susan Morris‘ work above?

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Is that an early Spain Rodriguez inking the figure above? The clouds don’t look like his work but the darker ink work doesp15932coll8_57300_full p15932coll8_57353_fullp15932coll8_18538_full

Clocolan – This Will End In Love LP

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Another bit of sleeve design I did last summer emerges from the vinyl log jam. I was asked by Clocolan to illustrate the cover of his 3rd album (second for Castles in Space), ‘This Will End In Love’. Out Aug 6th in pink Nebula vinyl and red or blackberry purple cassette housed in a rave tape case.
No pre order on this but the label has them in hand I’m told so look out for it in a month’s time, I’ll be posting a process video of the cover then too. In the mean time you can get his previous album and single here.

clocolan - TWEIL Pink Nebula Vinyl Clocolan cassette

Krash Slaughta & Phill Most Chill – Rebel Base 7″

CARD
Sure, Star Wars packaging has been done before, not least by I Love Acid for their Rave Wars 7″s (including original figure sealed to each cover). But this new 45 from Krash Slaughta featuring Phill Most Chill has nailed it and stuck a 7″ to the cover of a 12″ sleeve. Love the Snowspeeder spiral detail on the label. There are even some still left on his website!

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Also on the retro Star Wars tip – now that The Mandalorian has at least restored some of the old school faith in the franchise – modern and retro Mandos.

Mando x2

Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ vinyl out today!

Finally released on vinyl today on Utter – Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ LP – a soundtrack to the
Rian Hughes novel, ‘XX’ published by Picador Books (paperback released Aug 9th)

Music by Celestial Mechanic – a collaboration between DJ Food, Saron Hughes, Robin The Fog (Howlround) & Peter Harris

Yellow vinyl LP + 7″ + print + info sheet – designed by Rian Hughes with silver spot print and inner sleeve – this is limited so don’t sleep as it will be out in shops too.
Pre-order https://bit.ly/3y5C7eK

Animation generated at ASCII Playground
*un-mute for sound!

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CM packshot full

Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ vinyl sting 3

Finally released on vinyl tomorrow on Utter – Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ LP – a soundtrack to the
Rian Hughes novel, ‘XX’ published by Picador Books (paperback released Aug 9th)

Music by Celestial Mechanic – a collaboration between DJ Food, Saron Hughes, Robin The Fog (Howlround) & Peter Harris

Yellow vinyl LP + 7″ + print + info sheet – designed by Rian Hughes with silver spot print and inner sleeve – this is limited so don’t sleep as it will be out in shops too.
Pre-order https://bit.ly/3y5C7eK

Animation generated at ASCII Playground
*un-mute for sound!

IMG_0820CM packshot full

Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ vinyl sting 2

Finally released on vinyl this Friday on Utter – Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ LP – a soundtrack to the
Rian Hughes novel, ‘XX’ published by Picador Books (paperback released Aug 9th)

Music by Celestial Mechanic – a collaboration between DJ Food, Saron Hughes, Robin The Fog (Howlround) & Peter Harris

Yellow vinyl LP + 7″ + print + info sheet – designed by Rian Hughes with silver spot print and inner sleeve – this is limited so don’t sleep as it will be out in shops too.
Pre-order https://bit.ly/3y5C7eK

Animation generated at ASCII Playground
*un-mute for sound!

IMG_0815CM packshot full

Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ vinyl LP out this Friday

Finally released on vinyl this Friday on Utter – Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ LP – a soundtrack to the
Rian Hughes novel, ‘XX’ published by Picador Books (paperback released Aug 9th)

Music by Celestial Mechanic – a collaboration between DJ Food, Saron Hughes, Robin The Fog (Howlround) & Peter Harris

Yellow vinyl LP + 7″ + print + info sheet – designed by Rian Hughes with silver spot print and inner sleeve – this is limited so don’t sleep as it will be out in shops too.
Pre-order https://bit.ly/3y5C7eK

Animation generated at ASCII Playground
*un-mute for sound!

CM packshot full

Grunt Free Press

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I was sent a link to the Wisconsin Historical Society G.I. Press Collection online which is a treasure trove of alternative and free press publications surrounding the US military 1964-1977. One of the best finds was a monthly paper called the Grunt Free Press, full of counterculture news and graphics from the hippy years including colour double page spread posters in the psychedelic style. Here are some of my favourite details.

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Loki title graphics and design

Marvel‘s new TV series, Loki, started this week on Disney+ and the title animation and design is fantastic, playing on ever-changing fonts, presumably to highlight the different facets and sides to the main character’s personality. Marvel have had some superior title work going on with both Wandavision and Falcon & The Winter Soldier recently, the former having individual, time-specific intro themes created for each episode. With Loki, this has stepped up a gear.

*slight spoiler alert!!* In the debut episode that appears to be a set up for a time travel chase caper where Loki may be both the good and bad guy, most of the ‘action’ is spent inside the TVA, a processing centre / court for those who disrupt The Sacred Timeline. The whole design of the Time Variance Authority has shades of Terry Gilliam‘s ‘Brazil’, with retro-modern tech, yellow tungsten lighting and 50’s styled public info posters adorning the walls.

TVA room TVA room 3 TVA room2TVA lift TVA console TVA console 2
TVA poster 1TVA poster 3+4TVA Miss Minutes

One of the highlights is a short animation, voiced by TVA mascot Miss Minutes, explaining what the agency does – for the audience’s benefit as much as Loki’s. It’s beautifully realised in what starts out as an 80’s Ulysses 31 homage before slipping into a 50s style similar to Charley Harper or some of the Halas and Batchelor cartoons like ‘Automania 2000’.

TVA film1 TVA film2 TVA film3 TVA film4 TVA film5 TVA film6 TVA film7 TVA film8
The TVA identity is nearer a 60’s/70’s airline / IBM look with employees wearing enamel badges, belt buckles and uniforms bearing the insignia as well as using headed notepaper and retro tech. Just like the work they do, design timelines seem to converge from different eras at the Authority.

TVA badge TVA scanner
But the icing on the cake is the end credits, beautiful short focus close ups of many of the production details yet with contemporary typography details that you’ll miss if you blink. Everything is saturated but sepia-tinged for that nicotine-stained, low lighting look. Forgive me such a graphic-heavy post but this is all so tastefully done, so many great details like the clock with multiple hands.

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Posted in Comics, Design, Film. | 1 Comment | Tags: , ,

Openmindesign Instagram

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Thanks to Coldcut sharing my Openmindesign account on Instagram yesterday we just went over the 1000 followers mark, thanks guys. I’ve been saving this entry for just such a milestone.IMG_1009

I remember well, setting up the huge flight case that would become the toy box on the cover of this album in Matt Black’s Spacelab studio at Ninja Tune HQ in Clink St one sunny spring morning. Matt and Jon More had pulled out various items that they felt were part of the Coldcut story for inclusion and Hex’s Rob Pepperell had created a game box with graphics of the duo and added a copy of his book, ‘The Post-Human Condition’ too. I’d made a set of assembly instructions with the album title on it the night before as we’d decided on no obvious typography on the front cover.

IMG_1010Suzi Green was in charge of photography and we arranged the box a number of different ways as well as shooting the underside for the back of the sleeve. You can see all sorts of items in and around the box; badges, CDs of samples, previous records, a portable turntable, a flyer for Stealth, tapes of studio sessions, a toy Ninja and the Journeys By DJ mix tape. Hex – including a pre-Hexstatic Robin Brunson – computer generated the ‘toys’ of Matt and Jon and perfectly photoshopped them into the cover image afterwards.

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I used old children’s play blocks for the lettering on the labels and a 3D box typeface for the Let Us Play titles, also finding an image for each track. There really wasn’t an inch of space that wasn’t used on this, a crazy amount of information. I’d do it differently these days of course but I think it was what was needed given the smorgasbord of contents inside.

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There was so much info to go into this album, it was never going to be a minimal design. Suzi had taken various shots around the Ahead Of Our Time studio which featured around the edges of the inside sleeves and gatefold, then there was a freaky ‘chakra’ inner sleeve, lyrics, loads of collaborator credits and info. Then there was the CD with bonus enhanced disc of games and digital toys, the cassette, the video and multiple press ads, posters and more, it went on and on, one of the biggest album campaigns of the label’s history up until that point and quite rightly.

Then there was the remix album ‘Let Us Replay’ in early 1999… read and see more at www.instagram.com/openmindesign and give us a follow as there are daily postsIMG_1014

UFO Club adverts from International Times magazine

IT_1966-12-12_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-5_012

Recently researching light shows in London around the mid 60s I was perusing the International Times archive online and noticed that the UFO Club had various ‘flyers’ present in each issue around its tenure at the Blarney Club and The Roundhouse during ’66-’67. It’s no surprise as UFO initially gave money to IT and you’ll notice the first event was called Night Tripper / UFO as they couldn’t decide on a name.
There was no format, some had to be decoded and the 27th October ’67 issue featured a piece stating that UFO is Dead! Reading between the lines you can detect some general annoyance that some promised cash flow had been cut off. The final image here maybe or may not be connected but it was on the same page as the club obituary and features lights in the sky.

IT_1967-01-16_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-6_016
IT_1967-02-13_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-8_016 IT_1967-02-27_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-9_016
IT_1967-04-28_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-12_012 IT_1967-05-19_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-13_014 IT_1967-06-02_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-14_015IT_1967-06-16_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-15_012IT_1967-06-30_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-16_016IT_1967-08-31_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-18_020IT_1967-10-05_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-19_020IT_1967-10-27_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-20_013
There was a posthumous analysis of what killed UFO in IT nearly a year after it closed, comparing the audience’s locations as the popularity grew.

IT_1968-04-19_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-29_003 UFO is Dead

Steven Rutter – Close Your Eyes And Breathe

Steve Rutter 12 front + shadowIt’s a busy day for releases I’ve been involved with today, Blood by The Real Tuesday Weld is officially released today with artwork by myself, the Celestial Mechanic I co-wrote with Saron Hughes album went up for pre-order this morning (see other post) and now Steven Rutter‘s (B12) solo release on De:tuned is available to pre-order.
It’s a really excellent 3 track EP and I designed the release with a die cut cover that reveals the inner sleeve and inside printed cover – available in black and ‘safari’ vinyl versions.

Steve Rutter 12 front + shadow + inner safariSR v5 mock up 3 Safari SR v5 mock up 1SR v5 mock up 2SR v5 mock up 3 Steven Rutter 12 back
Listen and pre-order now (full links are on the Soundcloud page) – out Friday, 25 June 2021.

Celestial Mechanic – Citizen Void vinyl pre-order

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Online today is the vinyl version of the Celestial Mechanic album, ‘Citizen Void’, that I co-wrote with Saron Hughes last year. The album is a soundtrack of sorts to Rian Hughes‘ book, ‘XX – a novel, graphic’ after he tasked us with created the actual music for a fictitious album review featured in the book.

The release which is immaculately designed by Rian, is a lavish package featuring an LP and 7″ on yellow vinyl with inner sleeves, 12″x12″ print and original album press release. The cover is finished with silver ink and features a slightly reworked version of the sleeve that appears in Rian’s book. Part of the book focusses on an alien signal from space that is detected on Earth and is used at one point to make an album, a QR code inside takes the reader to a Bandcamp page with the music on it. For more info see my original post about the book.

Upon release we were contacted by Alex Egan of Utter who was excited to put it out on vinyl to compliment other multi media entries on his label. We had a problem in that ‘side 1’ of the album on the digital release was 30 minutes long and an LP can generally only cram 24 mins tops onto one side before the sound deteriorates. After unsatisfactory edits and deleted track line ups the solution was to snip the final two tracks and place them onto a bonus 7″ – more artwork for Rian! The whole package is a perfect visual companion to the book and differs slightly from the original digital version in that side 2’s side-long epic, ‘The Signal’ is the remixed version from the follow up digital EP.

UPDATE: It’s come to my attention that the pre-order from Bandcamp now adds tax onto the record and shipping total for the LP – seemingly as a result of Brexsh*t continuing to shaft us in all sorts of ways we never could have foreseen in the name of ‘taking back control’. If you pre-order via the Phonica link you should be able to get around this. It’s limited to 300 copies so be quick if you want one – release is early July.

Ninja Tune x AIAIAI Headphones

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I saw these announced today and just had to share – Ninja Tune have teamed up with AIAIAI to produce a version of their modular TMA-2 headphones. Not only are these great headphones, I’ve used them myself at home for listening, but the difference with these is that some of the parts are made from recycled Ninja vinyl records! They’re not cheap but they are great quality, completely modular so you can change parts or replace one if it wears or breaks. More info and pre-order here BLEEP

ReleaseProduct-228764-134136ReleaseFormat-715867-134523ReleaseFormat-715867-134515 ReleaseProduct-228764-134142

Posted in Design, Ninja Tune. | No Comments | Tags: ,

The Real Tuesday Weld ‘Blood’ and ‘Tape Dust Memories’ albums

Blood front cover red vThis has been a long time coming but… ‘There will be Blood!’. More specifically The Real Tuesday Weld‘s ‘Blood’, the first in a trilogy of albums under the umbrella of ‘Swan Songs’, the final bow of Stephen Coates‘ 20 year+ recording career under this name. ‘Blood’ is the first, to be followed by ‘Dreams’ and ‘Bone’ over the next 18 months and each will be supplemented by cassette versions with completely different tracks in sympathetic packaging to each main title.Blood back cover poster DLBlood red contents

The whole design concept was started over a year ago, pre-lockdown, but stalled like everything for months mid year until we picked it back up in the summer, reworked the concepts and mapped out the whole set. With the benefit of hindsight it was worth the rest and the design is better for it as we went through various stages and ideas, coming back to it with fresh eyes. There’s a small books-worth of unused elements and ideas that never made it for this series, a huge folder of work that was slowly honed into shape over months as the artwork formed.
Blood red contents back Blood splatter contents Blood splatter v light TRTW

The ‘Blood’ vinyl comes in red or red & black splatter vinyl versions, has an inner sleeve with a short story (a feature of all the albums), die-cut back and inner covers and download card. Depending on how you insert the record / inner sleeve or poster you can have different back covers.

Blood back poster Blood back Stephen Blood back Blood

If you pre-order direct from the Real Tuesday Weld Bandcamp page you get an exclusive target print and beermat with the 10 track album plus there you can also find a bundle with the 11 track cassette companion, ‘Tape Dust Memories’ which is housed in a blood bag with medical-style lyric sheet and download card. This is a completely different album of extra tracks from the same sessions and possibly not available anywhere else. I’m extremely pleased with how these have both turned out and we’re forging ahead with the follow up, ‘Dreams’ for the end of 2021.
TDM blood bag TDM Blood bag 2TDM tape ATDM contentsTDM contents 2

For those wanting a CD version, there may be something at the end of the trilogy that collects them all, we’ll see…

Blood red v stamp

King Gizzard Fuzz Club Bootleg series

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Like many others last year King Gizzard raided their tape archives and pumped out live sets via their Bandcamp page to fill the void of cancelled gigs. Of course these were digital only releases and they later offered the recordings to anyone who wanted to press them up on the condition that they sent them a portion of the stock to sell. Fuzz Club have stepped up and taken eight shows plus a demos set and a teenage pre-Gizzard collection and made some of the best looking releases I’ve seen in a while. Grab these quick if you want them, they’re selling out fast, some independent shops have them on pre-order like Norman Records, and Resident Music. King Gizzard have form on this, giving away their ‘Polygondwanaland’ album to everyone to do their own versions in 2017, there are nearly 300 versions on Discogs as I write.
KGLW Auckland KGLW Brussels KGLW London KGLW Paris KGLW Rats Live KGLW TeensKGLW Demos 1 KingGizzardDemo_24

Under The Covers 001: Sleevenote interview

Openmind selectionI did a very enjoyable interview with Tom Vek from Sleevenote about design for music past and present with an emphasis on my work for Ninja Tune and how things have changed in the digital age. It’s the first in what will be a series of interviews with designers and features an example of how the Sleevenote site is digitising LP artwork for the streaming generation to preserve the art of the sleeve in the age of the thumbnail.

Read the interview here and have a look at Sleevenote too, you can browse cover art and play tracks by clicking the interactive sleeves which are linked to Spotify and Apple Music, work on desktop or mobile.

Sleevenote page