Très tôt dans
leur carrière, les Pet Shop Boys se sont distingués par le style dépouillé
et raffiné qu'ils ont adopté en matière de design. C'est probablement
cette combinaison de sobriété et d'élégance qui leur a permis de régulièrement
mettre en pratique des idées radicales ou saugrenues (la pochette de Introspective,
le boîtier et les tenues futuristes de Very, les tenues de samouraïs et
le décor des concerts à l'époque de Nightlife) sans jamais se ridiculiser.
domaine, le graphiste Mark Farrow est le collaborateur historique du duo.
Originaire de Manchester, Farrow fait ses débuts de graphiste aux côtés
de Peter Saville, le fameux directeur artistique du label Factory. La
pochette minimaliste que ce dernier réalise pour l'album Unknown Pleasures
de Joy Division, en 1979, va profondément influencer son style. En 1985,
Farrow entame sa collaboration avec les Pet Shop Boys. Depuis, il a réalisé
les pochettes de tous leurs albums (Release excepté) et de nombreux singles.
Il a reçu plusieurs récompenses pour ces réalisations, dont celles de
meilleure pochette de single pour Yesterday, When I Was Mad et Somewhere.
Parmi ses autres collaborations dans le domaine de la pop figurent Kylie
Minogue, The Manic Street Preachers et Spiritualized.
version of “West End girls” was released on April, 1984 when Neil
was working on the Smash Hits magazine and Pet Shop Boys was a new band
without money and without a record company for support. The artwork was
designed by XL Design using a photo taken by Eric Watson, old friend of
Neil who was working with him on Smash Hits, using 'NewYork style' wardrobes
because by that time, Neil & Chris thought of Pet Shop Boys as a “British
rap group” and they wanted to look with an ‘American style’. Both the
7” and 12” vinyl singles had the same design, a black and white pattern
in the background with a black rectangle with the “Pet Shop Boys Logotype”
and the photo of Neil & Chris; the only difference between the two was
the type color, yellow for the 7” and pink for the 12”. The singles included
the B Side “Pet Shop Boys” and the 12” single featured Extended Versions
of both tracks.
O’s version of “West End girls” wasn’t a great hit in America and
barely known in the UK and Europe… Belgium released its own version with
different cover artwork with black background and the same logo+photo
treatment in a bigger size; Germany was the only country that supported
the release with multiple versions of the single, based on the Belgian
cover design but adding some green bars and the title “West End girls”
inside a triangle; the first edition of the single included the same tracks
as the UK version, the second release added an orange bar with the legend
“Original Hit-Version, Produced by Bobby Orlando” and the 12” single included
a 5 minute Edit, instead of the 7:50 Extended Version. Later that year,
a mash-up version of “West End girls” with Corey Heart’s “Sunglasses at
night” was released as “West End Sunglasses” including a Dub Version of
“One More Chance”, another song originally produced by Bobby O and launched
as a separate single also in 1984. In 1986 there was another release of
Bobby O’s “West End girls” with a new version labeled as ‘Remix ’86’ by
Tess. In 1992 there was another release of Bobby O’s “Wes End girls” including
seven unreleased versions of the song.
End Girls (2nd Release) cover was designed by XL Design & Chris Lowe
inspired by the aesthetics of Scritti Politti covers and the intention
of resembling high-end perfume brands -actually the cover is very similar
to Cristian Dior's Diorella packaging created in 1976- but refined to
use only geometrical elements and making the background a little bit 'industrial-style'.
The 7" cover showed a photo taken by Eric Watson and some geometrical
shapes to include the name of the group and song title. For the 12" cover
there were 3 different versions: One without any photo, just graphic elements
and text, a second version included a 4" die cut on the front sleeve to
show the vinyl label and a 3rd limited edition version included a 6" label
vinyl with a larger die cut sleeve.
West End Girls - Remixes vinyl, XL Design put a new designer to
work on the evolution of the cover, here's when Mark Farrow started working
with the band as their main designer along their career. Farrow hated
the original cover because the use of different font sizes and types,
instead he decided to use only geometric elements and vivid colours following
italian designers like Ettore Sottsass. There were 3 different version
of this 12" as well: One without any photo, just graphic elements and
text, a second limited edition version included a 6" yellow label vinyl
with a larger die cut sleeve and a third version included in the sleeve
a 6" yellow circle as an additional element of the design.
Farrow designed a Collector's Edition 10" vinyl using a circular packaging
with some design elements previously used as the 'industrial'style'
background and the yellow circle used as a sticker to close the cover,
because of a template defect provided by EMI. New photos were included
in the inner sleeve and the catalogue number -also used on the 7" and
12" versions- started to became an important element of the design of
the Pet Shop Boys career. International editions of this single followed
the original art adapting just the language in some countries. With
this 10" Collector's Edition vinyl started the never-ending task for
collecting items among the devoted fans that were growing very fast.