Monday, 27 December 2010


Underworld's "Cowgirl" was released as a single in 1994 and is from their 1993 album dubnobasswithmyheadman. The video was produced by the design collective Tomato. Members of the collective are also members of Underworld.
Tomato is one of a number of design collectives that emerged in the early 1990s. Formed in ’91, Tomato is a “multidisciplinary studio and creative collective of designers, writers, typographers, film makers and musicians” (Livingstone, 2003 p.210).

It was established by “Steve Baker, Dirk van Dooren, Karl Hyde, Richard Smith, Simon Taylor, John Warwicker and Graham Wood, Jason Kedgley joined in 1994 and Michael Horsham in 1996” (Livingstone, 2003 p.210). Catherine McDermott also names Greg Rood and Steve Baker as members (1999 p.278).

Tomato. Dubnobasswithmyheadman by Underworld, 1993. Album cover.

Tomato has produced a number of record cover including the above one for Underworld. The style has been defined as “Grunge” design (Eskilson, 2007 p.374-375). While the band and the album’s name are legible the rest of the text is either reversed or overprinted. My interest here is with the energy of the design. The design seems to be full of mistakes and any “geometric clarity” is disrupted by the handprint” (Eskilson, 2007 p. 375). It’s layering, like that in collage and the combine (one thinks of cubism, Schwitters or Rauschenberg, or the computer graphics of Greiman), of type suggests a three-dimensional sculptural element that belies the flat surface of the cover” (Eskilson, 2007 p. 375). Does this point to a kind of a resolution to the issues of type and its representation in my own work?

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