Barney Bubbles
A Box of Bubbles

The definitive monograph on the maverick graphic designer, updated and repackaged for collectors

  • 91 of 500
    copies remaining in edition
  • $135.00


A Box of Bubbles celebrates a graphic design genius whose work linked the underground optimism of the 1960s to the sardonic and manipulative art that accompanied the explosion of punk. With his unique style, Barney Bubbles took the 1970s and 1980s British independent music scene by storm, and he remains a powerful influence on contemporary artists four decades after his death in 1983 at the age of forty-one.

His dazzling breadth of work encompasses designs for homewares pioneer Terence Conran, psychedelic light shows at countercultural venues and the art direction of the underground magazines Oz and Friends. He’s perhaps best remembered for the remarkable run of record sleeves, posters and ephemera he produced for Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, Depeche Mode, Ian Dury, Hawkwind, The Damned and Nick Lowe. Bubbles also collaborated with such artists and photographers as Derek Boshier and Brian Griffin, and created paintings, furniture, set designs and promotional music videos, not least the era-defining clip for The Specials’ 1980s hit ‘Ghost Town’.

Coinciding with what would have been his 80th birthday on 30 July 2022, this is the collector’s edition of Paul Gorman’s definitive monograph, originally published in 2008. It contains hundreds of rare and previously unpublished photographs, working sketches, notebooks and original artwork. Only available on Volume, the centrepiece of A Box of Bubbles is the revised and updated edition of the book, with an exclusive cover design, an essay by American designer Clarita Hinojosa and sixteen new pages of rare material painstakingly retrieved by the author, together with five specially re-created pieces of Bubbles memorabilia in a truly covetable celebration of one of the greatest creative minds in design history.

All artworks © Barney Bubbles Estate

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Paul Gorman


Graphic Design


280 x 230 mm
240 pages
Clothbound box with screenprinted design
Box contains hardcover book plus five collectible items
Signed by the author
Numbered and limited to 500 copies
Exclusive to Volume

A special collection

Limited to only 500 copies, this edition is presented in a clothbound pink solander box, featuring a screenprinted design taken from Bubbles’ legendary artwork for Ian Dury and The Blockheads’ smash hit single ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick/There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards’. The outer box design continues into the interior and the book itself, bound in a contrasting white cloth.

Included in the box is a folio of exclusive reproductions of selected Barney Bubbles ephemera: a ‘Dome Sweet Dome’ geodesic dome; a make-your-own pyramid printed on reflective foil stock; a ‘Hankie Pantie’ screenprinted cotton handkerchief; a high-gloss ‘Do It Yourself’ three-colour sticker; and a stunning twenty-one piece reproduction of Bubbles’ ‘Galactic Tarot’ set.

Each edition is individually numbered and signed by author Paul Gorman.

Nearly 40 years after his death, Barney Bubbles will finally receive the recognition he deserves. While he remains an enigmatic figure, thanks to the dedicated efforts of Paul Gorman, we can gain a little more insight into this complex and talented designer who gave us some of the most iconic and memorable album cover designs of the late 20th century.

Ryan Mungia, Print

Galactic Tarot set

‘The Galactic Tarot does not speak of the future or past, for all galactic time is contained in the present.’

In November 1971 Barney Bubbles created a cut-out-and-keep deck of tarot cards to promote Hawkwind’s album X In Search Of Space. The set consisted of twenty-one cards, printed across the centre spread of underground magazine IT. The design drew on references from Eastern mysticism to comic book characters to create an exciting and psychedelic keepsake that perfectly reflected the spirit of the London space-rock collective.

Fifty years later Volume has reproduced the Galactic Tarot in a beautiful set that captures the audacity and genius of the original pull-out, cut-out design.

A chance to appreciate this remarkable legacy.

Creative Review

Meet the author

Paul Gorman is a journalist, author and commentator on visual culture. His books include The Life & Times of Malcolm McLaren, The Story of The Face: The Magazine That Changed Culture, The Look: Adventures in Rock & Pop Fashion, Derek Boshier: Rethink / Re-entry and the first two editions of this monograph, which were titled Reasons to be Cheerful: The Life & Work of Barney Bubbles. Gorman has staged and contributed to exhibitions in the U.K., U.S., Denmark and France.

Photography by Toby Amies