Designers on the club night graphics which stood the test of time

The graphics of clubbing has been celebrated in a new book by designer Rick Banks. Now, designers reflect on their favourite nightclub identities from over the decades.

John Foster, founder and designer, Bad People Good Things

“For pure style and class the gold standard for club graphics will always be The Hacienda, but the best identity ever created for a club night is far away the logo for Cream designed by Rob Petrie and Dolphin. First unveiled in 1994, the versatile and rock solid mark was a shocking brush of mature branding at a time when rave culture had already reached its visual tipping point. This was a level above next level shit – the real deal. It worked in every application and to this day still stands as an unbreakable piece of logo joy, as it helps Cream continue to be a global force over three decades later.”

Sam Freeman, art editor

“Paper club flyers may seem obsolete these days, but back in the 1970s and 1980s when hip-hop block parties were emerging, flyers were the main medium for communicating information and promoting an event. Drawn by hand and using Letraset, Xerox and stencils, these are artifacts of the pre-Apple Mac days and showcase real cut and paste techniques. Graffiti artists like Phase 2 and Buddy Esquire were largely responsible for the style, which was dubbed ‘neo-deco’ — borrowing heavily from the Art Deco styles of old movie posters. There’s a real beauty in the raw, DIY, lo-fi aesthetic of these examples, which will always fascinate me.”

Ian Anderson, founder, The Designer’s Republic (photo by Shaun Bloodworth)

“Objectively and subjectively, I think The Designer’s Republic’s (TDR™’) work for Gatecrasher – if not the club universally from 1999-2003 – has been the most effective and influential over time. We made our own space and created a playground for ourselves to push a wilfully coherent brand, which was uncontaminated by the minimal input or interference from the client. We amplified elements hinted at by The Hacienda 15 years before, harnessed warning and rescue graphics to reference the club’s sirens and strobes (later reclaimed by the RAC), and reappropriated Jamie Reid’s Never Mind The Bollocks colourways to celebrate the technicolour trance punk of the Crasher Kids.”

Jimmy Turrell, graphic artist

“It has to be The Hacienda right? The dream team of Peter Saville and Ben Kelly tore up the rulebook when it came to the actual ‘branding’ of a nightclub. It is simple, modern and beautiful. In the more modern era, I really like Village Green’s early work for Fabric.”

Simon Bird, vice president of live experience, Sunshine

Studio 54 was the original and the best – bold, simple and iconic. Like the club itself, its logo stands out from everything that came before or after it, whether it’s on a flyer, a neon sign, or an Andy Warhol-designed drinks token. Founders Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell owe much of their success to choosing unexpected collaborators. From the cutting-edge lighting to elaborate sets, they always sought creative partners from outside of their traditional field. It was no different when it came to the logo. Designer Gilbert Lesser was best-known for creating theatre posters. Glowing brightly above the door, it is no wonder that the entrance to the club felt more like a gateway to another world. Studio 54 sparked a revolution in music, sexuality and celebrity; there has never been another nightclub to rival its glamour, energy and wild creativity.”

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