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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


1 Top Class Manager


1 Top Class Manager is a book bearing the subtitle “The notebooks of Joy Division’s manager, 1978–1980″ published this week by Anti-Archivists, Manchester. I’ve been working on the design for this on and off since March although we actually started putting it together this time last year.

Rob Gretton, manager of Joy Division and later New Order, died in 1999 so this is something of a memorial to his work in giving Joy Division the status they have today. Rob’s widow, Lesley, oversaw (and paid for) the production. She and editor Abigail Ward contributed much to my design efforts which underwent considerable back and forth adjustment until we had something everyone was happy with. Some spreads from the book follow below and when I get the time I’ll add larger page views to the book design section of the main site. Music critic and historian Jon Savage wrote the foreword. This was an exciting and fascinating project to be involved, not least for the wealth of rare documentary material which it reveals.

1 Top Class Manager is available via mail order from the book’s website.










Posted in {books}, {design}, {music}, {work}.

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9 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by charity


    beautiful work Mr. Coulthart!

  2. #2 posted by John


    Thanks Charity. :)

  3. #3 posted by DeZ Vylenz


    Beautiful, sharp and crisp as always. Love it. You never stop surprising

  4. #4 posted by Malcolm Enright


    Hi John, greetings from Brisbane Australia (Brisvagas – downunder) . . . I’ve enjoyed your postings for ages. Seeing the Howard Phillips Lovecraft post last night, I was pushed to mention your blog in my blog post today as I managed some time to kick-start an older entry of mine on my old (no-design) viewer directory.

    . . . also in response to “first class manager” – great! I love it when as (older) designers often do, we sit back and listen intently instead of rushing in to take control. Clients sometimes say the best headlines, manage to articulate the brand strategy more clearly, push a solution in a direction that was never anticipated . . . if we treat a client as a working partner. It seems all of the above might have taken place in this interesting solution?
    Cheers from mal E – Malcolm Enright

  5. #5 posted by Malcolm Enright


    . . . here’s the blogroll address for today’s two posts, they will be ffurther down come tomorrow.
    mal E

  6. #6 posted by Malcolm Enright


    ok so the urls are being stripped out of the comments?!* – you could email me and I’ll provide those John.
    mal E

  7. #7 posted by John


    Hi Malcolm and thanks for the comments. Not sure what happened to your URLs; the WordPress default is to hold two or more in moderation as part of the spam filtering but yours seem to have vanished altogether.

    Regarding design: much of what I do involves a to and fro of ideas unless I’m left to my own devices. The hazard there is straying into a “too many cooks” situation but generally the approach is a good one.

  8. #8 posted by homo superior


    Really beautiful design. Just shared on FriendFeed.

  9. #9 posted by John








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