Andrew Golub has been collecting Duran Duran memorabilia for a very long time—well over 30 years—and has probably (definitely?) amassed more, well stuff relating to their career than they’ve even got themselves. It’s hard to keep track of posters, lunch boxes and promotional key rings when you’re off gallivanting around the world shooting big budget music videos with supermodels on yachts made of pure cocaine, isn’t it? Careless memories? Thanks to Andy’s archival efforts—the results that can be see in his book, Beautiful Colors: The Posters of Duran Duran, gallery exhibits he’s mounted and his website—Duran Duran can relax, he’s got them covered.
Duran Duran emerged at the height of the New Romantic movement. Inspired by the escapist fantasies of Bowie and Roxy Music, and motivated by the do-it-yourself credo of bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash, for Duran the scene was a natural fit. As Nick Rhodes would reflect many years later in 1998, talking to Boyz magazine, “Of course [New Romanticism] was camp and over the top, but we felt very comfortable with that. It seemed very natural to put something forward that had a great visual aspect. It grew out of glam and punk, both of which were incredibly stylish movements.”
—Text above and below from Beautiful Colors: The Posters of Duran Duran by Andrew Golub. Here’s a selection of posters from the group’s early years.
On September 12, 1981, Duran Duran played a show at Amsterdam’s most famous concert venue, Paradiso. The poster below is among Paradiso’s collection of over 1000 silkscreens designed by Martin Kaye. As the concert hall’s in-house designer from 1972 to 1983, Kaye perfected a signature style of bright, attention-grabbing colors and unique lettering that helped define Paradiso’s reputable image for many years.
This poster advertises a Manchester gig on the band’s first UK tour. The artwork incorporates elements from the ‘Planet Earth’ 7” single sleeve, designed by Malcolm Garrett, who engineered Duran Duran’s graphic work and packaging up until 1985. Garrett’s close attention to detail and the importance he placed on interconnectivity between record sleeves, advertisements, and merchandise would play a huge part in realizing the band’s visual identity: “I was looking to have a kind of consistency, so that everything that might come out with the words ‘Duran Duran’ on it felt like it had come from the same family, the same visual floor.” Helping to usher in postmodernism, Garrett’s use of fonts was a conscious effort to create something new by looking back: “There was a feel in the graphics of the early ‘60s that they were really futuristic. So, if you like, I was looking backwards to move forwards. It felt right and it felt contemporary—but it also felt timeless.”
In November 1980, an English singer-songwriter and actress named Hazel O’Connor had just starred in a critically acclaimed film called Breaking Glass. She also penned the film’s soundtrack and was about to tour the UK in support of her album. For an opening act, O’Connor enlisted a then-unknown group from Birmingham called Duran Duran. Michael Berrow, one of the band’s managers, sold his flat to purchase the support slot on the tour, taking advantage of the media interest O’Connor had generated from her film. Duran Duran enjoyed valuable exposure on the Megahype tour, earning 10 GBP a week and spending nights sleeping together in the back of a van. On the road, the band got an opportunity to hone its live performance and test a brief catalog of material with large audiences. Requests for encore performances and emphatic approval from females in the audience gave Duran a first glimpse of things to come.
More early Duran Duran posters plus some very early videos of the band, after the jump…