Malcolm Garrett (born 1956) is a British graphic designer, who has worked for music artists such as Simple Minds, Magazine, Duran Duran and Peter Gabriel. He was an early convert to exploring the opportunities and challenges of design with digital technology, and his London studio was the first amongst its peers to go totally digital in 1990. Garrett's work is widely regarded as a key influence on the development of contemporary UK graphic design. Along with other key figures working in the UK music industry he helped establish and promote a new design-driven culture which has defined today’s youth media market.
In November 2013, Garrett was elected as the Master of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry (MRDI), previously to this in the year 2000, he was the first recognised Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) in the field of interactive media. He is a Fellow of the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD), and a fellow of the Royal College of Art, a Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts London  and holds honorary Doctorates of Design from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, and University of the Arts London. In 1998 he received a Prince Philip Designers Prize nomination in recognition of his achievements in design for business and society. In 2003 he was named by Design Week as one of the "Hot 50 people making a difference in design" for his work as design ambassador.
Garrett continues his design practice as Creative Director of IMAGES&Co based in London, UK, and heads a team which develops leading-edge communications in lifestyle, culture, manufacturing, healthcare and education, through a connected approach to design and technology.
Life and work
Malcolm Garrett was born in Northwich, England, and attended St Ambrose College. He studied typography at the University of Reading from 1974 until 1975 and graphic design at Manchester Polytechnic from 1975 until 1978. A fellow student of Garrett's at Manchester Polytechnic was Peter Saville, a graphic designer who would also design prominent record sleeves in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
His first important professional work was design for the punk rock group Buzzcocks, including the iconic cover for the their 1977 single Orgasm Addict. Until 1994, Garrett was the design director of Assorted iMaGes the design company he had formed in 1977. His work there included "graphic identity, exhibition design, television graphics, and literature design."  His work for musical artists included Magazine, Duran Duran, Boy George, Simple Minds and Peter Gabriel.  The sleeves that Garrett designed for Duran Duran (from 1981 until 1986) include their first four albums (Duran Duran, Rio, Seven and the Ragged Tiger (together with Keith Breeden) and Arena) and their associated singles such as Planet Earth, Is There Something I Should Know? and The Reflex.
In the early 1990s Garrett was increasingly attracted to working solely with digital technology and in 1994 he teamed up with Alasdair Scott to form AMXdigital (later called AMXstudios), an interactive media production company.  Garrett left AMX when that company merged with Zinc to form Arnold Interactive in 2001.  He then worked at I-mmersion  in Toronto, Canada art directing interactive cinema, but returned to London in 2005 to become Creative Director at Applied Information Group (AIG) , subsequently collaborating with X-Communications  in Dublin, and Cogapp  in Brighton on a variety of projects. He left AIG in January 2011 to form the interactive media design consultancy 53K  with Kasper de Graaf, his former partner at Assorted iMaGes. In January 2013 53K merged with Foreground Digital to form IMAGES&Co. .
He has served on numerous committees including BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Committee and FontShop Type Board in Berlin.  He currently sits on the RDI Executive Committee, Eye Magazine Editorial Board, the Science Museum Advisory Board, and the Sir Misha Black Awards Committee.  He was creative director of Dynamo,  an online showcase and forum for the interactive media industry, and of the i-Design interactive media conference held at the London Design Festival from 2007 until 2009.  and is founder member of the 5D world builders at 5D Institute at USC in California. He is noted for his collaborative approach to design and his commitment to design education. Malcolm is an official ambassador for both the Manchester School of Art and the Design Manchester festival.
Articles by Malcolm Garrett
- "A Dearth of Typography" Baseline 13, edited by John Simmons, Chris Gray and Domenic Lippa, Esselte Letraset, 1990.
- "The Book is Dead?" Graphics World, 1991.
- "Multimedia, Who Needs It?" Baseline 18, with Alasdair Scott, edited by Mike Daines, Esselte Letraset, 1994.
- "The Widescreen Career of Alex McDowell" Eye, Number 60, Volume 15, edited by John L. Walters, 2006.
- "Conversation with Bill Moggridge" Eye, Number 66, Volume 17, edited by John L. Walters, 2007.
- "Apple iPhone" Design Week, edited by Lynda Relph-Knight, October 2007.
- "Why the iPad matters"  Creative Review, CR Blog, edited by Patrick Bourgoyne, February 2010.
- "Out of Print" The Craft Council, October 2010.
- "The Legacy of Steve Jobs" State. October, 2011.
- "A Refreshing Return to Clarity" Creative Review, CR Blog, edited by Patrick Bourgoyne, September 2013.
- Eye, Number 12, Volume 3, 1994, edited by Rick Poynor.
- Eye, Number 49, Volume 13, 2003, edited by Rick Poynor.
- "RDInsights" , RSA website, interview by Mike Dempsey RDI, August 2008.
- "In Depth" , Computer Arts, interview by Nick Carson, March 2010.
- "In Conversation: Malcolm Garrett" , Gute Luft, interview by Dale Marshall, March 2011.
- Fuse 95 biography
- Typo Berlin 98 biography
- Adobe profile of AMX Studios: Garrett and Alasdair Scott
- 2007 interview with Garrett
- Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen
- 5D Institute
- Design Manchester
- Interview with Garrett on YouTube for the DBA The Edge conference 2009
- Review of "The Book is Dead?", MagCulture, edited by Jeremy Leslie, February 2010
- "Out of Print", online exhibition curated for the Crafts Council, October 2010
- The Legacy of Steve Jobs
- A Refreshing Return to Clarity