Another year of creative collaborations and late nights over the (pre-computer era) drawing boards.
The smell of Cow Gum and lighter fuel lingers...Stylorouge design sleeves and campaigns for Orange Juice, Brian Eno and the Robin Of Sherwood TV soundtrack album which found a comfortably fitting home for the music of the increasingly popular Clannad. They also continued the long standing relationship with the Creatures, who had spent some time esconced in a Hawaii studio recording their first album. The cover for Feast featured shots of Siouxsie and Budgie looking primeval, moody and magnificent amidst the verdent undergrowth. The sleeve for the highlight single from the album, Miss The Girl, used another Stylorouge transparency sandwich – (someone really needed to invent the Apple Mac and Photoshop pretty damn quick).
Claustrophobia and too many less than nutritious meals in a Kilburn High Road all-night-cafe indicated that it was time to move on. Stylorouge re-located to converted garages in Brook Mews North close to Paddington Station, and the freelance cohort was boosted by the arrival of three more talented individuals; one typographer, one illustrator, one photographer. Still awaiting the invention of the Apple Mac, much attention was paid to the location of the archaic looking repro camera and the fitting out of a proper darkroom.
This creative community of pooled resources and shared overheads prospered as commissions for all parties came in freely. New clients for Stylorouge were Virgin Films and Island Pictures, both of whom set the company on the road to film poster design. Meanwhile, CBS Records became regular and loyal clients with a variety of projects.
Another exponent of the politally motivated new wave made something of a comeback in 1983; Tom Robinson, formerly of The Tom Robinson Band (TRB to their friends – 2,4,6,8 Motorway and all that) commissioned Mick Lowe at Stylorouge to put together a sleeve for his solo return War Baby, which became an unexpected hit and paved the way for a new album deal with RCA.
The label that would be Sony, CBS, poured forth the compilation albums in numbers, and among the projects that fell towards Stylorouge were various disco anthologies - the only one worth a listen being Love Train; The Best Of Philadelphia, just for it's inclusion of its two classic O'Jays singles. Music For Pleasure had made two or three fine singles (Time and Light) in support of their eponymous debut album, but despite their live appeal and their musical potency and credibility they failed to dent the charts enough for the major label, and soon they would be back to operating as a cottage industry.In the year that wheel clamps invaded London's streets and Neil Kinnock was elected leader of the (then socialist) Labour Party, the music industry welcomed The Smiths and the movie world bade farewell to David Niven, the archetypical charming man.