On Yellow Submarine

“Before selecting the artist for the 1968 animated feature film Yellow Submarine (starring the Beatles), producer Al Brodax approached [Milton] Glaser to design the characters and backgrounds of the legendary film. Glaser recalls turning the offer down ‘because it was an awful lot of work.’ Apparently, Brodax then contacted Peter Max, who had briefly worked for Push Pin in the early sixties. Ultimately, Heinz Edelman, a gifted German illustrator, was selected for the job. At the time there was considerable speculation on whether Edelman’s Yellow Submarine style, clearly rooted in an ambient psychedelic aesthetic, was influenced by Glaser’s work as it then appeared on covers of Time magazine and his first posters for WNEW-FM, a progressive rock radio station in New York. ‘How it informed his work is not clear,’ states Glaser. ‘Maybe it was possible there was something in the air that attracted both of us to the same thing. Edelman is not someone who would deliberately take things, but, as Glaser notes, ‘in an appropriate way borrowing influences are common in the graphic design profession.’ Nonetheless, some professionals believed Edelman’s interpretation was a curious combination of what [Seymour] Chwast and Glaser were doing at the time, but even if it were, Glaser says, ‘It was perfectly okay as long as people didn’t actually think we were taking ideas from the film.’ Ironically, Edelman once complained to Chwast that people often think that Peter Max did Yellow Submarine.”

— Excerpt from The Push Pin Graphic