PSB DESIGNING par Alex Camarillo
Alex Camarillo explore en détail la créativité faite autour des albums et singles des Pet Shop Boys au cours de leur longue carrière ,la personnalisation des différents formats et la participation d'artistes très talentueux , photographes, créateurs de costumes et graphistes tels que Mark Farrow ,Eric Watson ,David Fielding et Jeffrey Bryant parmi ceux qui ont contribué au design des Pet Shop Boys comme une icône visuelle de la culture pop.
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So Hard” was launched in 1990 as the first single of “Behaviour”, the fourth studio album of the Pet Shop Boys. The artwork was designed by Mark Farrow using a photo taken by Eric Watson. According to Farrow, he was a lot more bothered about what the remix sleeve would looked than the actual main sleeve would looked because by that time he was designing a lot of ‘dance’ sleeves for ‘Deconstruction Records’, where there no photos of the bands and the whole design was typography based. So the actual main photo was integrated into the sleeve after having the type design finalised with different sizes and styles. The photo with Neil wearing a long coat and Chris eating an apple was used in all formats (cassette, 7” & 12’ vinyls and CD) and the back sleeve was completely in red with all the tracks and credit info at the bottom with the catalogue number in a very big size, first time in the history of the band where this number became a very important element of the overall sleeve design.
The first commercial release of “So Hard” included the original version and the B Side “It must be obvious” as well as the “Extended Dance Mix” included in the CD & 12” Single and the “Dub Mix” included in the 12” Single only. For the second commercial single, released in 12” vinyl in the UK only and later in CD only in Germany (version that was not planned since the beginning and just adapted the artwork from the 12" vinyl and didn't change the catalogue number, using 12rx instead of cdrs, as it happened later on), Farrow went to far by using only typography: in the front sleeve there was the title “So Hard” in almost the same size as the sleeve with the catalogue number above the word ‘hard’ and the rest of the credits below in a very small type size, while the back cover just showed the word “REMIX”; this release included a remix by The KLF and the “UFO Mix” for “It must be obvious”. A third commercial single was released in Germany only with a completely different sleeve showing a photo of Neil & Chris from the “Behaviour” session with a graphic treatment using green and blue colours and including three remixes by David Morales for the 12” singles and a fourth remix available in the CD only.
For the international releases, the US started producing more Pet Shop Boys singles with “So Hard” by releasing 3 different 12” vinyls, corresponding the 3 European versions: the first one was the commercial release, same as the UK version in design and content; the other two were released as 12” Promos in generic die-cut sleeves with a sticker designed on the same style as the second UK release but with different color combination in each. The US CD included also a remix of “Paninaro” and a Promotional CD included an edit of the “Extended Dance Mix” titled “So Hard - 9” Edit”, also available on the Promotional 7” Single released in Mexico. The only different international version was released in Brasil with a Promotional 12” Single with an artwork similar to the “Behaviour” cover: the white background with one photo (chair and flowers) instead of four photos and the title below in the same typographic style that reads “So hard - Pet Shop Boys” and included just the original version in both sides.