An extraordinary collision between P.G. Wodehouse and Spinal Tap

Client

Bauer

Brief

Design and launch the world’s best music magazine.

Approach

If tone is everything, then the launch of Q Magazine had it all. Created to give the regular Englishman an alternative to the tribal rock press of the day, it quickly became a publishing phenomenon. Bitingly funny, beautifully written and with a presentation to match, the brand gave male readers in particular a sense of identity that few contemporary titles have yet to equal. I drew the Q, designed the first 29 issues, and over the next ten years designed thirty-odd more covers along with several major redesigns.

Outcomes

Q delivered its promise to become the UK’s biggest and best music magazine. It won innumerable awards, sold by the bucketload and made the careers of many of its contributors. In particular, it established founders Mark Ellen and David Hepworth as the pre-eminent writers of their generation. Mark’s excellent biography Rock Stars Stole My Life is out now, as is David’s brilliant musical history of 1971.

An extraordinary collision between P.G. Wodehouse and Spinal Tap
This is the launch marketing campaign. Well, less of a campaign and more of a bunch of logos plastered over U2's The Edge.
An extraordinary collision between P.G. Wodehouse and Spinal Tap
Q usually shot their subjects, so this was not a typical issue, relying as it does on found imagery and a big homage to Russian constructivism.
An extraordinary collision between P.G. Wodehouse and Spinal Tap
This was more usual, lots of access, lots of eye contact and lots of tone. 'Suck on this, son'.
An extraordinary collision between P.G. Wodehouse and Spinal Tap
New Q Gothic, drawn by Andy Cowles for the exclusive use of the brand. This font replaced Grotesque No.9 sometime around Q80
An extraordinary collision between P.G. Wodehouse and Spinal Tap
The spine was a vital part of the design. Driving collectors everywhere to make certain they didn't miss an issue.
An extraordinary collision between P.G. Wodehouse and Spinal Tap
Q established the careers of many fine photographers. This picture of Lemmy is by Ken Sharp.
An extraordinary collision between P.G. Wodehouse and Spinal Tap
Prince, by Andy Earl
An extraordinary collision between P.G. Wodehouse and Spinal Tap
The irreplaceable writer Tom Hibbert was the extraordinary talent behind Who The Hell, Q's first and best franchise.
The Q editorial team, some of whom are wearing wigs. From left: Andy Gill, Paul DuNoyer, Adrian Deevoy, Robyn Doreian, Mark Ellen, Andy Cowles, John Bauldie, Nicki Whenham and Claire Kendall.