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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Please” is the first Pet Shop Boys’ studio album released in March, 1986 after the success of their two first singles, “West End girls” and “Love comes quickly” in both, Europe and North America. The artwork was designes by Mark Farrow and PSB and it was as minimal as its title. Farrow wanted to use reversed marketing by creating a big white cover with a very tiny picture (barely bigger than a postage stamp) and title in the middle, when every other sleeve in a record store would be full photos and information. The idea of using a tiny photo came from a previous design he did for the group Section 25, from Factory Records but wanted to use it in a cleaner way with the Pet Shop Boys. The photo used on the front cover was taken by Eric Watson, old friend of Neil since college and who will became one of the lead photographers for the band along his career until he passed away in 2012.
The picture showed Neil & Chris in white t-shirts with towels around their necks that worked perfectly well with the white background. The back cover had all the tracks and credits creating a small block of text in the middle that echoes the design of the front. A first promotional vinyl of “Please” with the catalogue number ‘PSB1’ was released with an exterior tri-fold wraparound sleeve that once opened could read ‘please’ on the front and included a biography of the band and two photos (previously used for the 10” Single of “Love comes quickly”) in b&w on the reverse; it also included a set of 8” x 10” promotional photos in b&w and the standard UK release LP.
The commercial release of “Please” in the UK used the big white cover with the tiny photo in the middle and the name of the band and title below for the outer sleeve and, for the inner sleeve, a selection of 98 photos of the exact same size as the one in the cover were placed on both sides of the sleeve and taken by a fair amount of photographers including Eric Watson, Paul Rider, John Stoddard, Brian Aris, Joe Shutter, Ian Hooton, Chris Burscough and Chris Lowe. For the CD cover, instead of reducing the LP sleeve proportionately, Farrow decided to maintain the original size of the photo and text, reducing the amount of white space around. For the European releases, a new cover artwork was designed using a rectangular crop of the original photo in half of the sleeve with the name of the band and title in one line at the top; depending on the country of manufacturing, the legend “Incl. Hit singles West End Girls, Love comes quickly and Opportunities” was also printed or included in a sticker (i.e. in Spain this legend was traduced to Spanish so it reads ”Incluye los éxitos…”).
Most of the releases outside Europe used the original white cover with the tiny picture but moving the text at the top of the sleeve and also included the “hit singles” legend in different ways… the US release with a big sticker at the left hand corner; the Japanese release with the classic OBI Strip and the Mexican edition with a printed black label in Spanish that reads “Incluye ‘Chicas Vagabundas’ (West End girls) | No. 1 en Inglaterra | No. 1 en Estados Unidos”. The Argentinean release used the European cover but translating the title to its Spanish meaning “por favor”. In 1997 a Box Set compilation including the first three studio albums of the Pet Shop Boys (excluding Introspective) was released including the original LP artwork printed in Cardboard Sleeves instead of plastic jewel cases commonly used for CDs. In 2001, a digitally re-mastered edition of “Please” was released including a bonus disc with additional tracks, mixes and unreleased songs and housed on a double plastic jewel case with an external 36-page booklet with interviews, lyrics and exclusive photographs; both, the CD and booklet, were packaged in a spot varnished slipcase with the original LP cover image without any text on top and instead placing it on the left hand top corner and reading from top to bottom, same as the other 5 CDs on the “Further Listening” Series.