Blast from the Past


While I was working today I was listening (half watching) a fascinating programme about Tubular Bells and its composer Mike Oldfield. About halfway through my ears pricked up at the mention of Nick Mobbs. Nick Mobbs was famous for signing the Sex Pistols and in the programme famous for not signing Mike Oldfield.

In 1979 Nick Mobbs left EMI and set up his own record label – Automatic. His office was just off New Bond Street and he needed branding for his new enterprise – basically a logo, stationery and record label. I can’t remember how I came to his attention – I was less than a year out of the RCA – this was a great project for a budding ‘soon to be (hopefully) famous designer’!

This was all so long ago and I’d forgotten all about it until my memory was jogged today. With little expectation of finding anything I went on to Google and did a search. Lo and behold, there it was, the label I’d designed back in 1979 – before Apple, when logos were drawn by hand with an ink pen called a Rotring Rapidograph on artboard (CS10). It was laborious, but part of the process and very rewarding when you finally saw the printed piece.

Automatic lasted for a couple of years. In 1982 CD’s were launched commercially in the UK. Reflections in record grooves were history!

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