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Artwork for Parklife courtesy of Stylorouge

Blur’s Parklife : The Story behind the Sleeve with Rob O’Connor

Rob O’Connor started his career as in-house designer at Polydor Records but left to start Stylorouge in 1981 taking some of his existing clients with him such as Kirsty MacColl, Stiv Bators (The Dead Boys), Level 42 and Siouxsie and the Banshees.  Attracting more work as it developed, Stylorouge employed at one point over sixteen people working on mostly music related design but also marketing campaigns for films. First in a series leading us through the process of designing iconic covers, Rob O’Connor describes how it went designing one of the most significant UK LP’s of the 1990s.

You know, from my experience, socially, nothing’s changed. You really get your best work when you’re working with a client who really cares. There’s lots of time wasted trying things out that end up being dead ends, and you have to come back and go again and again. But if you’re prepared to take that journey with them, you get really good stuff.

Rob O’Connor
  1. Blur photographed at a promotional visit to Walthampstow Stadium to promote the release of Parklife.

    All photos by Paul Postle, courtesy of Stylorouge.

The cover sort of set the ball rolling though and we thought we were going off to do more in that pop art direction. And in a way I suppose we did because pop art is about appropriation of consumer imagery and re-editing it – taking the piss out of the fact that it’s commercial imagery and elevating it to an art level which it was never destined for. Artists like Peter Blake were just so clever at doing that. So in a way, if we go back to the visual campaign for Parklife, it ends up being a complete distillation of advertising visuals for gambling, drinking and sex basically.

Rob O’Connor