Welcome to the official website for the 1970s British vocal group DESIGN
DESIGN was a British six-piece vocal harmony group in the early 1970s and its members were Barry Alexander, Gabrielle Field, Kathy Manuell, Jeff Matthews, John Mulcahy-Morgan and Geoff Ramseyer.
Their music has been described as ‘sunshine harmony pop with a light hippy vibe’ and ‘melodic folk-pop with a shimmering, almost psychedelic, West Coast feel’. Design released five albums and thirteen singles in the UK and appeared on more than fifty television shows before they split up in 1976.
Singer and songwriter Tony Smith formed Design while he was working at the BBC in London in December 1968. The group then signed a recording contract with Adrian Kerridge of Lansdowne Studios and recorded their first album Design during the summer of 1969. This led to a two-album deal with Epic Records in the USA.
In November 1970, shortly before the first album was released, Tony Smith left the group and he was replaced by guitarist Jeff Matthews, who had been with John and Geoff in the group Free Expression.
This was Design’s most successful line-up and after their appearances on The Morecambe and Wise Show in 1971 they became one of the most televised groups in the UK, guesting on dozens of programmes with The Two Ronnies, Val Doonican, Benny Hill, Tommy Cooper, and many others.
They toured with Gilbert O’Sullivan, starred in cabaret and at the London Palladium, and recorded the albums Tomorrow Is So Far Away, Day of the Fox and In Flight before Gabrielle Field and Geoff Ramseyer left the group in October 1974.
Barry, John, Kathy and Jeff carried on as a four-piece group and recorded one more album By Design before finally splitting up in October 1976. Since then, Design’s albums have become much sought after by record collectors and they have been highly praised by music critics in magazines and books such as Mojo, Record Collector, Shindig! and Galactic Ramble.
In 2011, RPM Records reissued Design’s first four albums on two double CDs, followed by a collection of singles and unreleased tracks called One Sunny Day: Singles and Rarities 1968–1978. To celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary, Market Square Records released the compilation CD Children of the Mist: The Best of Design in 2019.
In March 2021, Vacancy Records released Design: 50th Anniversary Expanded Edition, including 12 bonus tracks of unreleased recordings and new tracks by members since leaving the group. All Design’s albums are available on CD and to download.
The music magazine Mojo has given four stars to the new Design: 50th Anniversary Expanded Edition, praising its ‘creamy harmonies, soaring melodies and often jazzy approach to songwriting . . . 1971’s Design is their highpoint: a lovely shower of sumptuousness’.
Tomorrow Is So Far Away
Day of the Fox
One Sunny Day: Singles and Rarities 1968-1978
Children of the Mist: