Adrian Shaughnessy interviewed Mark Farrow on the occasion of him being voted "the best graphic designer working today" in Creative Review's annual Peer Poll [October 2004 issue]. An extract follows:
AS: Peter Saville has won the Creative Review peer poll of the past two years. Tony Wilson [Factory Records founder] has said that Saville refers to you as the "apprentice", and Wilson also reckons that you are the only person Saville feels threatened by? Is this Wilson myth-making, or is there something in it?
MF: Yeah, I've heard all this. And the story about Saville presenting a sleeve mock up to New Order for Technique, and someone saying to him, 'have you seen Farrow's design for Introspective [Pet Shop Boys album]? It's the same design.' I know all about that. I remember him and Malcolm Garrett coming into a record shop I worked in on Saturday mornings in Manchester. He and Malcolm would buy loads of stuff. And I've said many times that Unknown Pleasures had a huge effect on me. It changed my view about what record covers should be.
I always want to know what Peter's doing, and I rarely dislike what he does. I liked the exhibition and the book. So yes, he's an influence. But am I his apprentice? Well, there are worse people to be apprenticed to, but no, I;m not his apprentice. Besides, I'm a lot more successful than he is [laughs].