Unknown Origins

Malcolm Garrett on Design

October 22, 2020 Malcolm Garrett Season 1 Episode 19
Unknown Origins
Malcolm Garrett on Design
Chapters
00:02:57
What inspired and attracted you to becoming a Designer?
00:06:36
What does being a Designer mean to you?
00:10:39
How has the industrial north impacted your view of the world and work?
00:17:08
What is your Creative Process to make the invisible visible?
00:23:56
What are the key skills needed to be a Designer?
00:27:03
If you were 18 again and know what you do now, what would you do differently, if a tall anything?
00:35:07
What is your vision for the future of Design?
00:40:07
What are you most proud of from the work you've produced?
00:45:17
What is your most favorite record sleeve that you have created?
Unknown Origins
Malcolm Garrett on Design
Oct 22, 2020 Season 1 Episode 19
Malcolm Garrett

Design influences society by provoking action that changes minds, inspiring new opinions, instilling values, and translating experiences across space and time by enabling people to communicate with each other through images, sounds, and stories. It is an expression of the soul that connects emotionally with a lasting lifetime impact.

Professor Malcolm Garrett MBE RDI is a graphic designer who has mastered the art and science of creativity manifested through a diverse portfolio that spans four decades, creating landmark designs for musicians and bands including Buzzcocks, Duran Duran, Simple Minds, Boy George, Peter Gabriel, Oasis, and Pulp; numerous innovative digital projects for clients such as Apple, Virgin, Warner Brothers, Transport for London, Christian Aid, and Design Manchester; and with publishing, film and TV companies to reimagine their businesses through new media platforms and immersive technologies.

Malcolm is currently Creative Director of the design consultancy Images&Co. Founder and Artistic Director of the annual Design Manchester festival. He was one of the first 10 designers to be inducted into the Design Week ‘Hall of Fame’ in 2015, and in 2017 he was nominated as one of Creative Review’s 50 ‘Creative Leaders.’ He is an Ambassador for Manchester School of Art, a BAFTA member, and a Fellow of the Institute of Typographic Designers. In 2020 Malcolm was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for ‘services to design.’

Twitter @malcolmgarrett 
Instagram @beingmalcolmgarrett 
Websites www.malcolmgarrett.com
Design Manchester www.designmcr.com 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Design influences society by provoking action that changes minds, inspiring new opinions, instilling values, and translating experiences across space and time by enabling people to communicate with each other through images, sounds, and stories. It is an expression of the soul that connects emotionally with a lasting lifetime impact.

Professor Malcolm Garrett MBE RDI is a graphic designer who has mastered the art and science of creativity manifested through a diverse portfolio that spans four decades, creating landmark designs for musicians and bands including Buzzcocks, Duran Duran, Simple Minds, Boy George, Peter Gabriel, Oasis, and Pulp; numerous innovative digital projects for clients such as Apple, Virgin, Warner Brothers, Transport for London, Christian Aid, and Design Manchester; and with publishing, film and TV companies to reimagine their businesses through new media platforms and immersive technologies.

Malcolm is currently Creative Director of the design consultancy Images&Co. Founder and Artistic Director of the annual Design Manchester festival. He was one of the first 10 designers to be inducted into the Design Week ‘Hall of Fame’ in 2015, and in 2017 he was nominated as one of Creative Review’s 50 ‘Creative Leaders.’ He is an Ambassador for Manchester School of Art, a BAFTA member, and a Fellow of the Institute of Typographic Designers. In 2020 Malcolm was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for ‘services to design.’

Twitter @malcolmgarrett 
Instagram @beingmalcolmgarrett 
Websites www.malcolmgarrett.com
Design Manchester www.designmcr.com 

Roy Sharples:

Hello, I'm Roy Sharples, and welcome to the unknown origins podcast series, the purpose of which is to provide inspirational conversations with creative industry personalities on entrepreneurship, pop culture, art, music, film and fashion. Today's topic is design, for which I am elated to be chatting with the one and only Malcolm Garrett design influences society by provoking action. That changes means inspiring new opinions, instilling values, and translating experiences across space and time. By enabling people to communicate with each other. Through images, signs and stories. It is an expression of the soul that connects emotionally with a lasting lifetime impact. Professor Malcolm Garrett MB RDI is a graphic designer who has mastered the art and science of creativity manifested through a diverse portfolio that spans four decades, creating landmark designs for musicians and bands, including the Buzzcocks, Duran Duran, Simple Minds, by George Peter Gabriel, Oasis, Pope and numerous innovative digital projects for clients such as Apple, Virgin, Warner Brothers Transport for London Christian aid, design, Manchester, and with publishing film and TV companies to reimagine their businesses through new media platforms and immersive technologies. Malcolm is currently creative director of the design consultancy images and co founder and artistic director of the annual design Manchester festival. He was one of the first 10 designers to be inducted into the Design Week Hall of Fame in 2015. And in 2017, he was nominated as one of creative reviews 50 creative leaders. He is an ambassador for Manchester School of Art, a BAFTA member and a fellow of the Institute of typographic designers. In 2020, Malcolm was awarded an MBE, and the Queen's Birthday honors for services to design. Hello, and welcome, Malcolm.

Malcolm Garrett:

It's an absolute pleasure to be here.

Roy Sharples:

Thank you. Great to hear that. Thank you. Welcome one spired and attracted you into being a designer in the first place?

Malcolm Garrett:

That's that's a that's a really tricky question to to answer. Um, somebody asked me a similar question a couple of days ago. And it made me think quite hard about it. And and because he asked me, What was the first piece of graphic design I ever noticed? Well, given that I didn't really know the term graphic design until I was in my teens, you know, the answer could go two ways. But the reality is, I started to notice things that were designed, you know, from the age of about seven or eight onwards? Yes. You know, I was I was a Beatles fan. I grew up in the early 60s. The first single I bought was Hard Day's Night, by by The Beatles in the first film I went to see at the cinema was Hard Day's Night. So I was already a music fan, you know, huge music fan very early on. And just all of the toys and the games that I played with as a child were quite visually orientated. They were quite constructive. And, you know, I played with I don't know, they had Lego over in the States. Or are you at GI Joe, we called him action man. And I was as much interested in in the graphics of the packaging, and the so the uniforms of the of the soldiers and the color of the bricks in Lego, you know, bright red, bright, young, bright yellow. So I was noticing designed things. And I was beginning to notice architecture, you know, whether it was the medieval architecture that I saw in North Wales near where I grew up as a child on, you know, on some of vacations, or whether it was that the brand new buildings that were going up, you know, throughout the UK, you know, the, the the tallest building in the UK, the post office towers, it was known it was this is a round telecommunications tower, not dissimilar to the Seattle Space Needle, yes, which was built in 1963, or 1964. And I was just mesmerized by that as a, as a piece of architecture. And I actually wanted to be, you know, I thought I was going to be, or I wanted to be an architect, right up until the age of about 15 or 16. When I was taking, you know, the final high school exams before going to university, and the art teacher pointed out that the kind of work that I was doing and the kinds of things I was interested in it And I was interested in record sleeve design even then the art teacher said, Malcolm, you should look at graphic design. And, and I said, Well, what's graphic design? And so, so I've sort of grown up through, you know, you know, eight to 10 years thinking about visual terms, but thinking about bad designed things in the real world. And then that kind of turned back on looking at surface graphics and then looking at communications media and and that will be hold I, you know, I went after to study graphic design and, and here we are now,

Roy Sharples:

what does being a designer mean to you?

Malcolm Garrett:

Oh, being a designer, it sort of changed over the years, when I started out as a young designer, then I was interested in making a mark, if you like, or seeing producing things that looked the way I would like them to look, or taking things that I liked from other areas, you know, whether you know, whether art movements or other design, other designers, and reinterpreting those in the in the things that I created, but as time has gone on, um, you know, your perspective on what you're doing changes, you know, now now, I found myself, you know, it's 40 years on, since since I first started working in the music industry, and the music industry is is a useful profession. Yes. It's many people, you know, find themselves through identifying with the music and the musicians they'd like as a teenager. But I'm 40 years in on I could probably found myself and, and now I kind of really look at, okay, what does it mean now to be a designer? Well, what it means now is to encourage, or try and support and help develop a world where design is, is better respected, and more understood, and support those young designers who were who are, like I was when I was their age. And so having set up with, with some, some colleagues, having set up the design, Manchester festival, seven or eight years ago, then a big focus for us is reaching out to students of design, and young creatives at the beginning of their careers and, and giving them support and guidance and introducing them to things that they might not know about, or that we, you know, the so using, if you like my years of experience, and and the people that I've met, and the people that I admire, and try to bring them to the festival, and, and inspire other young designers. So it's all in short, so being a designer has gone from creating things, I guess, to making a difference, tried to have an impact on on the design community. You know, as a designer, I am a communicator, yes, job of graphic design is to communicate. And so I have slowly and surely over the years taught, taught myself how to do two things better than I used to do them. I'm not saying I'm good at them yet. And that is to try and write clearly and succinctly and say what I mean, which I sort of mastered more quickly or earlier. So I say, then what we're doing now, I'm now trying to master be enabled to speak clearly. And and the biggest challenge I find that I have is actually just marshaling my thoughts. Yeah, trying to remember all of the things that might need saying in response to a question or in response to a situation, making sure I don't forget any of them, and then putting them all in sequence. And I do actually still find it a challenge. I mean, a real challenge, but I guess we're not talking about me. Yeah, and, and my life, then, theoretically, I shouldn't get that wrong. I should have more information to have so so it's, it's not quite as difficult when I'm talking about me. So thank you for asking about me. Manchester,

Roy Sharples:

has always been a fascinating hub when it comes to creative output in terms of graphic designers, designers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and so forth. And given it's the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, do you feel that that's really contributed toward its creative ethos and also that maker Dewar mentality and the strong attitude that comes out of the the northwest of England as well and has that impacted your view of the world and also your work?

Malcolm Garrett:

I absolutely think it has. And again, it's it's taken me a while to come to an understanding of that, to actually realize it. Yeah, you've done the work. saying, you know, the last creatures to see the water or the fish. Because Because Because if you're surrounded by something you don't notice it, you almost have to step outside to see it. And although my parents are actually from Liverpool, which is a different city altogether from Manchester, I mean, literally a different city, the the, the social dynamics within those two cities, even though they're close to one another, and in geographic terms, they're quite different from one another. But I grew up my parents moved out of Liverpool after the Second World War. And so I grew up closer to Manchester. I was born in mid Cheshire, in within Greater Manchester, and then I went to school and then University in Manchester. So I grew up through my formative years in Manchester. And it's a weird thing for a long time. I really took Manchester for granted. Yeah, I just thought that's how places are, I think the term in the state is vanilla, it seems like a vanilla city. And, and so I moved to London, and then you know, done some traveling around the world, as a professional, you know, people have invited me to conferences, and we've had international clients, I've done some traveling around the world. And it took me quite a while to realize to come back and realize and look more closely at that city that I grown up in and realize, actually, either how little I knew about it, or where I had holes in my, my understanding of the city and its history, and where I took things for granted. And I eventually came to a real understanding of the city, and of what it stood for, and why its people were the way they way they are and how I fit it into that. So yes, I mean, I think he's had a huge influence on me. There's a kind of solidity to Manchester, a sort of pragmatic, get on with it. Yeah, let's do it. A sense of, of the celebration of the ordinariness of it, which, if you're not noticing it, it can come over as sort of ordinary, but a better word is natural. It's a natural environment. And yeah, that that's that attitude that actually, we're Yeah, we're ordinary and natural in Manchester, but but we're also quite special. Yeah, you know, we do have that heritage, as you say, you know, the original industrial city, Manchester itself doesn't have a huge, you know, unlike most cities in the UK, have a heritage and a history that goes back hundreds of years. Yes, you know, another city that's close by is Chester, you know, and that was built in Roman times, that's, that's, you know, 1500 years ago. But Manchester, if you go go back only as far as 200 or 250 years, that wasn't to Manchester, it sort of grew out of its location on the the the edges of a range of mountains called the pend nines, which supplied water to supply the steam engines and the water powers and the canals, which built the Industrial Revolution. So Manchester, literally grew out of nothing, and didn't have that that medieval or Roman heritage at all. And that does give it a sense of, of, you know, the people that kind of just get on with stuff and just feel they have an inner confidence that if you want to make it, you can make it. Yeah. And that's just sort of built in to the people who come from Manchester.

Roy Sharples:

There's a certain melancholy within industrial towns such as Manchester, Glasgow, Detroit, and that my uncle, he inspires creativity. And it fuels the genius of people with extraordinary intellectual ability, mental toughness, grit, creative productivity, and instill some insatiable drive for self actualization, your earlier point about being inside of somewhere, and not being able to see it for what it is, and it's not until you come out of there, and you look back, and your aperture just seems to be that much more clearer. And you can really pay attention to the things that really did matter that was maybe ingrained in you maybe took for for granted somewhat. And I think that is a nod towards the general human condition in that most people can get used to things too quickly. You know, when you first arrive somewhere, you notice all the little details, such as the design of buildings, the color of the sky, that the streets, the fashion, the cars, the smells, the way people look. And then as you get used to that new place, you usually don't notice those details anymore. So sometimes by coming over somewhere and then going back to it you can kind of get that same kind of sensation or you can see it for for what it is is how do you make the invisible, visible through coming up with ideas? developing those ideas and concepts, implementing those concepts into actualization?

Malcolm Garrett:

You're asking me, you're asking me a question that takes 40 years to answer in for minutes. And I think if you ask any creative where they get ideas from, they'll just say they throw their hands up in the air go, I don't know, they just come. And I'm going to name drop. Now, I recently had a conversation with Brian Eno, one of my one of my all time heroes, and we were talking about a similar thing. And what came out of that conversation is we both had this view, that if you wanted to have an idea, don't try and think of it, don't try and find an idea, go and do something else. And the idea will find you. So when I'm first given a, you know, a new brief or a new challenge, or a new project, my first response used to be to sort of panic and go, Oh, my God, I've no idea what to do about this. And sort of, you know, as you know, in my 20s, I kind of thought, Oh, my God, I hope I don't ever run out of ideas. And of course, he's, you know, you do it year on year, and you realize, you don't actually run out of ideas, you may not have have as good ideas as you would like, or you may not have good ideas all the time, but you do have ideas, and you do have ways ways of approaching it. One of the things I do do is I quite consciously think twice and act once. So I try and I work things out in my head, rather than working them out on paper, or even on computer now, which is good, because I think like many people or many creative, certainly, you wake up in the middle of the night, if you wake up at 4am, you can't get back to sleep. And you're and you're just worrying about all the things you've got to do the next day and all the things you don't have answers to all the things that that people are going to problems that people are going to send to you that lying in bed at 4am in the morning, you can't address. So I have two kind of ways of of dealing with that way. Number one is just to get up and read a book. And reading a book at night has become Pavlovian, I can't read more than a page or more than half a page before I go back to sleep again. So that's one approach. But the other approach is actually just lie there and think about the problem. And remind myself that actually, whilst I'm there lying in bed thinking I'm working, so I don't have to feel guilty about not getting up, you know, I, I've learned that as I'm thinking about a problem, or as I'm kind of, you know, turning it over in my mind, I'm at work. And then when I do get up or when I do sit down at the drawing board or a computer and pick up a pencil and start writing or start drawing, then I will have worked out one or more good starting points. And it's a snowball effect or a you know a domino effect. Once you start making marks, then on paper, once you start doing that, you keep on doing it. And you keep on refining and you keep on or going off at tangents. So there are two stages if you like to, to the process. One is to think a lot about the problem. Whilst going to do something else, you know, go to a football match, you'll go to the cinema or do something else and have this in the back of your mind. And then we add connections start to be made. Then the second thing is just sit down and start drawing. Because once you start drawing all of those things you've thought about start to influence the directions your drawings take. I'm not quite sure if that was if that's advice you can pass on to people. It works for me, you know and and and i think it does work for many creatives. They do you know, the communist answer I've heard, too, you know, where do ideas come from? It's like, no bloody idea

Roy Sharples:

over those two parts of your process there. A large part of it is about the manifestation of how you feel inside, but also the things that you observe in everyday life, like you say, go to a football game or something and then correlate that or by going so far away from the domain, it gives you clarity about the domain. Yeah,

Malcolm Garrett:

it's all about me making connection. Yes. I mean, I kind of learned that that's not so much as a designer as a connector. You know, I connect people to information or collect people to people or I, you know, I connect things. And if you look at many of my design solutions or my design work over the years, quite often you'll see a combination of two or more seemingly disconnected ideas or thoughts. That seemed to me that you can bring them together to create a third thing. And making those connections, I think is what it's all about. And to go back to your previous question, you know, design for me is now in, you know, in, like the start of my career, it was trying to connect me and my ideas to the world, because I felt, you know, as a young designer, I had things to say, but but later in life, now, it's, it's about helping to connect other people, you know, and connect designers to one another, to connect clients, to designers, and to connect, just to make all sorts of connections between professionals and young designers, and vice versa. And, and, and that's the beauty of having 40 years of experience is there are many connections that I can now make, you know, I I've got, if you like, a wealth of potential that I can help realize, and, and that's what I tried to do.

Roy Sharples:

What are the key skills needed to be a designer?

Unknown:

Ah,

Malcolm Garrett:

really varies. Obviously, it sort of varies, but I, but the bottom line, I think, is empathy. Yeah, is, is understanding why you're doing something. And and I've come to understand more, that, that what I do is never my work. If you are designing you are, if you're a graphic designer, you are, by default, trying to say something for somebody else, to somebody else. Even if it's just a simple, you know, information side, you're still trying to convey the information that that you know, belongs in that environment, to the people that need to see it, need to read it. Or if you're, you know, if you're, if you're if you're designing a record sleeve, you're trying to convey the sense of the music that that's within or the attitude, and, and voice Yeah, of the musicians. And you're trying to translate that and connect that directly to an audience that that wants to hear it or doesn't yet know that they want to hear it. And so the better that you do your job, in my view, the more invisible you as a designer becomes. Because if you see the design, then that's interrupting the communications process. Yeah, exactly. Communication just has to work without thought. So actually, you mentioned the phrase making the invisible visible. In a way I'm keeping the invisible, invisible, yes, and making trying to make connections. And if those connections are cerebral, then, for instance, if I say to you, dark side of the moon, what do you see light refracting from a triangular prism upon a black sleeve, that visual icon, and it just the words dark side of the moon, that they're indelibly interlinked? Yes. And that's what the designer does. The designer doesn't draw a triangle with light rays go through, the designer creates something that represents something else, something beyond its own. But it's also to a degree it remains invisible, or it really it remains unnoticed, I guess. Yeah, it just, it just becomes implicit.

Roy Sharples:

If you weren't 18 again, now, and you know, what you do today? What would you do differently? If I told anything?

Unknown:

Roy has a terrible

Malcolm Garrett:

and most people say i would i would do all of the same. Exactly. And and in a way I would, I would answer the same thing, I guess. I can think of things that that, you know, details in my life where it's like, Oh, God, If only I'd done that better. Or if only I had spotted that at the time. Or If only I'd said that thing to that person that, you know, your life is littered with with those things. But I've been very, very instinctive. And I woke up in the middle of the night quite recently, thinking about ambition. Don't ask me why I was just thinking about ambition. Possibly somebody had kind of indicated, you know, suggested that I was an ambitious person. Because you know, I am where I am. You would Yeah, interviewing me here today if I was not where I am. And so so the the inference is that I'm a very ambitious person to get to where I'm going. But actually, I'm not ambitious at all. If you asked me what I'm going to do tomorrow, I'll go I don't know. I don't know. And I and that's one of the beauties of being a graphic designer, is that you don't really know who's going to walk through the door tomorrow and ask you to do something, yes, it's going to ask you to help them to communicate something, you know, roughly the type of thing that, you know, you've become known for doing. So you'd know roughly the type of thing you will be asked, but you've no idea what it will be, who will be asking, and, and to whom it's going to be addressed. And that's all that's always been my attitude is that I just expected, something would come along, that I would be interested in. Because at no point in my life, have I ever had more things to do, or that I would like to do, then there are hours in the day to do them. So my life has never never been spent planning and thinking, Oh, my God, am I you know, watch what I do tomorrow? My life has always been been a question of how the hell am I going to get all this done? and in what order? Should I do things? And, and, and I work instinctively, there's no, no five year plan for Malcolm Garrett, there's a there's a five minute plan, you know, do I have time to make another cup of coffee before I sit down and finish this piece of work? You know, that's about as far as I get with my planning, because I just did things as they have came up and responded and made myself available to do things, then I can't possibly have done anything differently. Because that's always what I would have done. Different things may have happened to me, or different things may have presented themselves to me. But I think, you know, I would have I would have been there responding in the same kind of way. Yeah. And trying to make trying to make the most of what opportunities presented themselves, a lot of the

Roy Sharples:

instinctive say the things and it seems as well as you've just been someone that's been guided by that, and your passion, your heart, your how you feel how you engage. Your other point as well, only around what's not LED, it's been consistent throughout the conversation is your ability to see patterns and clouds and to make connections and see the relationships between different things.

Malcolm Garrett:

It's funny, because, you know, as I say, I've always been instinctive. But I'm only now thinking analytically about that, you know, you start to start to think back on your life and how and what you did, you know, you know, how you went about things, and then realizing now that I was instinctive, but I kind of probably didn't think I didn't notice that, you know, as a 20 year old. Yeah, I just was instinctive rather than I thought, Oh, I'm acting in instinctively. Now I can go to look back and go. That's why I did things because somebody asked a question, and I put my hand up to give an answer. I think question not been asked, then I might have done something else. But I always put my I tried to put myself in the frame, you know, people said, Oh, Malcolm, you are so lucky. You've got to work with with a band like Buzzcocks when, when you were, you know, still at college? Well, yeah, I was lucky, you know, things happened. But there were, you know, 40 or 50 other students in my class, who could have been just as lucky as me, but they weren't. Yeah, they didn't, they didn't go out and and seize something, you know, take something, see something that inspired them, and then get involved. Yeah. And so so you do make your own luck in that regard,

Roy Sharples:

underpinning all of that, having the talent to deliver.

Malcolm Garrett:

Now, one of the things that you also have with hindsight, is that you look back and you think, How on earth did I get away with doing that, and you do really become hyper critical of your work. But the good thing is, is that people only choose to remember that the things that actually, you know, work like good, and, and, and the many things that weren't as good as that get forgotten, or get pushed by that because they weren't they know, because they weren't good. They weren't successful. So they get they get forgotten. But I did have to learn how to harness my talent, and I had to learn what it was I was talented at. So so at some points, I did think I could I could do all of the things that I thought of, and then I realized, actually, there are better photographers than me, there are better illustrators than me, there are there are people who can do the things that that I thought about in my head, you know, when I was laying in bed, you know, thinking of those solutions, there are people out there who can do the things I thought of better than I can do. And it's and it's taken me a while to to realize that and to be able to put myself in a position to both try and find people to work with who can do those things that I've thought of and do them better, but also give them space to develop them. make them better. But in parallel to that try work out well. What is it that I am quite good at? And let's try and refine that. Never to the point of, you know, I never been wanted to be known for being able to do one thing. So many successful artists or designers, you can see their hand you can see that see the way they make marks? The danger is you see the designer before you see the design? Yeah, and I never wanted to be like that. I never wanted to have a style if you like, inevitably you do, you know, you have you have a way of thinking and a way of doing things. But I never wanted to rest on that particular set of laurels and hone hone a craft to the point that that I get hired just to do that thing. Yeah, I always wanted to be hired to be for my thinking, and my attitude, rather than be hired for, you know, the quality of the paint brush bar, and make paper,

Roy Sharples:

what's your vision for the future of design?

Malcolm Garrett:

The The only thing I know, I know, for certain about predicting the future, is that whatever you predict, will be the one thing that doesn't happen. Because Because it The reality is the future is made by other people and by other circumstances. And it's an it's made by accidents. And it's made by things that are unpredictable. It's made by people connecting things in ways that that that you hadn't thought of. So what's going to happen? I don't know. I mean, I, I'm sure design can play a role. And and I'm, you know, I'd like to see what what extinction rebellion, for instance, are doing with design, and in a way, making that the the, the graphic design of rebellion, more corporate, in a way corporate and inverted commas. Yeah, that more sophisticated, I suppose is a better word than corporate because for a long time, protest, graphics, were rough and ready and DIY, you know, and I grew up through that with with punk and the counterculture. The graphic design of rebellion was was quite strict, and it was quite rough, and it's quite hard at hard edged. And what extinction rebellion are doing is much more sophisticated, it's, it's, it's appealing to, or using the tools of, of a sophisticated design world, to speak to a to an audience that is that is recognizes sophisticated imagery. So that's one thing I see happen. And I mentioned that because we're living in, we're living through and it's things are looking like they're getting worse, you know, the, you know, just looking at the way things are happening in over in the United States, you know, the the the view from here doesn't look healthy. You know, the the we're all worried about the the outcome of your presidential elections. And we're worried about it here in the UK, we're desperately worried about what's happening with a patently corrupt and self serving government that somehow got into into into power, that are tearing up laws and rules and and using their power to basically rape the country. Yeah. And so the, the scary thing, I guess, is so much of the enabling of things that are happening behind the scenes and happening invisibly or, or the clarity of what's happening isn't isn't apparent to too much of the population is from the monitoring and manipulation of data from social media use and the way that you can now target very specific and misleading pockets of information to small, you know, even down to the individual. Yes, no, not just groups of people, but to the individual that with power, that with the power and the control of what seemed to be on uncontrolled or uncontrollable media channels being used to subvert democracy. I'm sort of scared about what's happening. I'm not sure if you've seen a film called the social dilemma. I watched it a couple of weeks ago, it's just come out and interviews a lot of a lot of people who have high ranking positions at Facebook and software is designed, you know, somebody sits down and creates a piece of software to do something and design is being used for scary purposes, which which I predict severe social unrest in the Western world in the free world is no longer free. So yeah, how that's precisely how things are going to pan out. I don't No, I don't know anybody who is not concerned and worried

Roy Sharples:

about it as tentative things. Yeah. What's the single most thing that you're most proud of from the work that you've produced? What was the first thing that came to your mind that as I asked that question?

Malcolm Garrett:

Well, the first thing that came to mind was like, Oh, are you going to ask me about particularly What's my favorite record sleeve? And then it then it moved to? What are you most proud of? Well, well, I think what I'm most proud of is is why I'm doing now is and what I'm doing now I helped set up a platform in Manchester called design Manchester. Yes, which was intended to be a one day's event for effectively the students of Manchester School of Arts to celebrate the Manchester School of Arts 100 and 75th anniversary, because it's the oldest School of undergraduate School of Art in in the UK. It's one year younger than the Royal College of Art, which is postgraduate only, yes, which makes my just to the oldest undergraduate. And, you know, I'm an alumnus of the Manchester School of Art and that and I worked with it with the dean. David Crowe, as he was, you know, he was the dean then he's now moved on. But we work together and we put down an event to celebrate that and the event was was at a conference, which I think we had about 300 students, mainly students attend, and we put it on in the town hall so that we could remind the city council that we're based in the town hall, that design and design education were fundamental to the economic and social prosperity of the city. And that event was so successful, and we enjoy doing it that we did another one the next year. And it grew over seven years, until last year, it grew from that one afternoon's event to last year, we we had over 70 events in 30 or more venues across the city. And the festival lasted for almost two weeks. And so I'm what I'm proud obviously is working with other people, I didn't do it myself, but but you know, I put everything that I had, I was able to intimate, we created a platform to celebrate design in Manchester, for Manchester, but also for the world to both Connect Manchester to the world and to connect the world to Manchester through design and celebrate design from primary school age up to third age. And you know, with it with a with no one focus, you know, what our focus was was commercial it was you know, is for supporting the business community is educational, all levels. It's political. And, and it's social. And and the role I've been able to play in establishing design, Manchester, is probably the achievement I'm proudest of. This year, we're really struggling for all of the obvious reasons with the pandemic. And it's less than four weeks to this year's festival, dm 20 takes place. Here's a plug, it takes place the weekend of November the 12th to the 16th. But what we've done, what we've managed to do is because we can't have have any physical events, all our events are online, of course, but we've used our opportunity, we always saw ourselves as part of an international community and our events and now connecting, we're connecting with Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. We're connecting with Barcelona design festival in Spain, we're connecting with design festivals, other design festivals in the UK with with Birmingham design festival, and we're we are putting on if you put if you have an online event, then you don't have the physical restriction. So if you haven't got physical restrictions, then you can be International. And so so being able to put on on a workshop for 300 students in six European cities is a kind of, you know, that's a step towards what we'd like to be able to do in the future is utilize the new digital tools in good ways to communicate in in positive and helpful socially sound ways. So,

Unknown:

yeah, during my

Malcolm Garrett:

my proudest achievement is being part of building design, Manchester, because it's, it is genuinely about design, and it's about how design can and does impact pretty much every life on the planet in some way.

Roy Sharples:

Just when you thought you were going to offer them welcome. What is the favorite record sleeve that you've designed and why?

Malcolm Garrett:

Oh, um, it's all varies from time to time and I have different favorites for different reasons. Yeah. But I think one of the ones that the first record sleeve I designed that was totally mine. I hadn't worked with with other people. Yeah. All of the desert when they say, even that's not true. I worked with Richard Boone, the manager of Buzzcocks. And we worked things together but an ounce of something he said, which he doesn't remember, but he said something which gave me the idea for the single sleeve for what do I get? Yeah, I think is Pete Shelley's finest pop song, I think is fine. His song is I believe, which is on this on the third album, a different kind of tension. But the sleeve for what do I get is so stupidly simple, that I still love it. It's just two shades of green. One of the things I like about it is it is deceptively simple. It looks like there isn't an idea there that you know, it's just like, oh, you just want it half green and half green. But actually, I can in another podcast, I could I could give you a five minute explanation of how that design was arrived at.

Roy Sharples:

Thank you so much for the inspired conversation. Malcolm.

Malcolm Garrett:

No, I've enjoyed this conversation. It's been fantastic.

Roy Sharples:

To keep curren with Malcolm check him out o social media on his website Twitter, @Malcolm Garrett, nstagram, @beingmalcolmgarrett nd his website is malcolmgarre t.com. And also for design Manch ster. It's designmcr.com. For mo e inspirational conver ations with creative indust y personalities on entrep eneurship, pop culture, art, m sic, film and fashion. Please go to unknown origins.com

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