electronic pursued the ‘upbeat beautiful track’ by blending their production expertise with an implicit musical instinct, fusing technology with the human spirit in a unique and powerful way. the only inconsistent aspect to the band was their outside image, reflected by the anonymous artwork and their reputation as an on-off ‘side-project’. given the solemn iconology of the smiths and new order sleeves that’s certainly an irony, yet electronic’s commercial impact seemed to be more transient.
it was almost as if each record was an individual entity: the singles were perfectly packaged with great b-sides and remixes, and each album was self-contained and aurally distinct from its predecessor. electronic didn’t have an identity because each of its members was so well-known! so much had been written about them, so much mythology had been perpetuated, and they had simply achieved so much, that the only concern marr and sumner had was to make great music together. they aimed for the direct and ignored the peripheral — a luxury tempered by their own high standards.
the only regular aspects to the sleeves were the logos, five in all. the first was the electromix/panasonic writing from the second getting away with it 12", also used for the north american releases (1990) and echoed for the dna get the message 12" a year later. 3a’s stars logo for feel every beat could have been used a lot more, though it is a very early ’90s creation. the next best one was by paul barnes, used for raise the pressure and forbidden city, while the sleek, square design for until the end of time, for you and the second nature 12" was slightly too generic. the other memorable lettering was for the first album, modified from wim crouwel’s stedelijk museum alphabet.