By the following year, Stylorouge was a loose arrangement of three freelancers;
Rob O'Connor had recruited old college friends Mick Lowe (recently returned from extended travels abroad) and childrens' book illustrator Nick Ward. At last some diversity on the Stylorouge stereo - Lou Reed, Dusty, Billy Fury, Humble Pie, Big Youth and Sonny Rollins.
The newly enhanced creative team handled a lot of work - still defiantly music related - and new working relationships were built up with several companies; Island Records, A&M, Chrysalis, EG and CBS among them.
EG brought a number of projects to Edgware Road, perhaps the most challenging being Killing Joke, who by now had become a major force on the UK live music scene. Bassist, Youth would go on to be one of the most sought after record producers of the '90's, and the alarmingly scary and unpredictable frontman Jaz Coleman has become a highly respected orchestral arranger.
Design commissions this year included sleeves for The The, King Crimson, Clannad, The Chameleons and a re-packaged box set of the collected albums of Bob Marley, who had died the previous year, tragically young, a victim of cancer. The Clannad album sleeve job was something of an overnighter, or to be precise, an over-weekender. This was par for the course in these days. The band had wanted a shot of the spiritual Irish beauty spot Newgrange, but somehow the record company had conspired to deny them it due to the fact that no decent photos seemed to exist in various photo library sources. In a flurry of direct action, photographer and flights were booked and following a risky bit of fence-jumping, snapper and art director returned with the shots that would provide the album sleeve the band had originally wanted. Not perhaps the most artistically challenging solution, but an enjoyable exercise in orienteering and assertive behaviour.
Music For Pleasure, a powerful, Joy Division influenced four-piece from Leeds were championed by Polydor, and Rob O'Connor, who had started working with them on their initial self-released material, continued the fruitful relationship.
In World Cup year, Island indulged alternative stand-up comedian Alexei Sayle, the hero of their unexpected spoken word album success The Fish People, as he manufactured his own fictitious football theme for the Albanian World Cup Squad. Island Records had become something of a regular port-of-call for Stylorouge – a number of projects necessitated trips to their Hammersmith HQ, where in those days it appeared the sun always shone. Much of the work undertaken at this point required hand lettering, something which Stylorouge were becoming well known for. Island also supported some of the most adventurous exponents of dance music, and their Rip, Rig and Panic inspired act Raw Sex, Pure Energy released an unlikely re-working of the Edwin Starr original Stop The War, which was by way of a protest at the Falklands War.
The use of a stock image of a llama for the cover was an obtuse geographical reference to this, but was probably more relevant as a tentative opening of the door of visual reappropriation,that Stylorouge would use to greater effect in years to come. Island Records also introduced Stylorouge to Jean-Paul Goude, the creative mind behind many advertising campaigns and art director and sometime partner of Grace Jones, whose career he helped lift from the mire of New York disco. This collaboration was to prove something of an education for Rob and Mick in particular, who watched and learned the art of rhetoric, playful irreverence and wayward destruction of priceless transparencies at the hand of the master Jean-Paul.D&AD featured a few music related projects in 1982, among the Stylorouge work was the album sleeve for John Cale's Music For A New Society.