Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back when Photoshop was a baby

The studio - what a mess!
Back in the 1990's I was working as a graphic designer in what was, at the time, the ground breaking field of digital design. The studio I worked for was one of the first to adopt the new Power Mac 7100s - the best computers available for graphic design in 1994. From memory they had a speed of 88mHz, 8MB RAM and a staggering 250MB hard drive.

The awesome Power Mac 7100 - Feel the power!

We created large magazines and had to continue to use old technology along with the new to do our job simply because what we were doing was so cutting edge. This was true of all agencies around this time. Every design team was retraining. Digital cameras were still in their infancy. I remember trialling one that took about a minute to 'scan' the object and several more minutes to put the image onscreen. It's cost a mere $12,000! Needless to say all agencies stuck with film for many more years. Photoshop was an integral part of the new design process and it didn't take much to impress people. A simple 'extrude' filter was enough to blow the mind of most folk.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking 'Hang on, I thought this was a blog about music' - well it is - in a round-about way. During this time I had friends who were in Christchurch's much loved band Barnard's Star so I became the obvious and CHEAP choice for band posters, album covers etc. Digital print was also new at this time so being able to produce short runs of full colour posters and covers was pretty fancy too.

Here's an archive of the Barnard's Star album covers and posters created when Photoshop was a baby:
A3 poster for first EP release at Venus Cafe, Lichfield Street.

The first 7" ep. Pressed in Geraldine.
About Barnard's Star

The second 7".
"A wonderful, now-defunct, 4-piece shoe-gazer band out of the garden city that put out 2 singles, along with a few college radio songs and a stunning 5-track EP that turned out to be their parting recording some 2 years later.

Comparisons could be drawn to My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and "Nowhere" era Ride but Barnard's Star took a decidedly more etheral approach - distilling the shoe-gazer sound to a fine pulsing tone, which was quite a spectacle live.

Playing coffee houses and small gigs in sporadic fashion, they became quite the cult act - especially due to their apparent lack of recorded material. So when they broke up in 2002 their recordings became as scarce as the musicians themselves.

Guitarist Marcus has gone on to form The Undercurrents, whilst bass player Helen and guitarist Nick went on to perform material with a synth-drone focus under various names . Finally their drum programmer Tyrone (who replaced original drummer Frazer) moved to Sydney, forming electro outfit Swingingtastybag. He now resides in London. "

From an article by Chris Andrews 

The 5 song EP released 1999
A2 poster

The Barnard's Star EP is available at
Read more: 
Barnard's Star


  1. Hi Nick! Thanks for doing this. I gave away my 7 inch EPs when I was really drunk. What a dick. Good to see a little archive going here.

    Marcus x

  2. I never thought to ask what that Barnards Star poster was about!! Whoops,looks like I missed out again!