Barney Bubbles

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Colin Fulcher aka Barney Bubbles (30 July 1942 - 14 November 1983) was a radical English graphic artist, whose work primarily encompassed the disciplines of graphic design, painting and music video direction. He is most renowned for his distinctive contribution to the graphic design associated with the British independent music scene during the 1970s and early 1980s. His symbol-laden and riddle-laden record sleeves were his most visible output.


Early life

Colin Fulcher was born in Tranmere Road, Whitton, Middlesex in July 1942 and attended Isleworth Grammar.

In 1958 he embarked on a retail display course for a National Diploma in Design (NDD) in the art school of Twickenham College of Technology.[1] During his five years at the college Fulcher received a multi-disciplinary education which included training in cardboard design, display and packaging (exploited later in his record sleeve work).

Initial career

After leaving college in 1963, Colin Fulcher started his career as an assistant at design company Michael Tucker + Associates, London,[2] whose clients included Pirelli. In a rare interview,[3] Bubbles described Tucker's discipline as "very Swiss; very hard; unjustified; very grey. He taught me everything about typography". Tucker's studio produced the posters for Hugh Hudson's 1967 Pirelli-sponsored film The Tortoise & The Hare (for which Fulcher designed the poster lettering on a freelance basis).[2]

In May 1965 Fulcher was recruited by The Conran Group as senior graphic designer alongside such designers as Stafford Cliff, Virginia Clive-Smith and John Muggeridge. Here he produced a variety of commercial designs, including the Norman archer logo for Strongbow cider and items for Conran's new homewares chain Habitat. Fulcher also established an association with Conran director Justin de Blank which blossomed when de Blank exited to launch his upmarket provisions company and restaurant business in 1968.

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