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Mick Jagger briefing Andy Warhol on the Sticky Fingers cover is the brief we all want to get

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

This design brief to Andy Warhol is the stuff that dreams are made of.

It’s the spring of 1969.

The Rolling Stones is one of the most sought-after bands in the world and they’re just about to release their 9th British and 11th American studio album, Sticky Fingers. The famous album that gave us Brown Sugar.

Mick Jagger, like so many mere mortals before him (and in today’s gig-economy that keeps growing, like so many mortals after him), needed a design and had the perfect provider in mind. His team reached out but given how important this new album was to the band, he decided to get involved himself.

Yes, it’s over-simplified but in a nutshell, that’s what happened, ok? Jeez…

So he figured… “I’m going to write Andy a note and explain what I want” - so what some might call a brief.

Side note - I wonder how a brief for Hemingway would sound and how he'd react to getting one.

I digress...

He sat down on his sofa, bent over the coffee table, brushed all kinds of things off the table with his hand to make some room (I imagine his living room very unorganized for some reason…), pulled a pen and paper and started writing…

“21st April, 1969

Dear Andy,

I’m really pleased you can do the art-work for our new hits album. Here are 2 boxes of material which you can use, and the record.

In my short sweet experience, the more complicated the format of the album, e.g. more complex than just pages or fold-out, the more fucked-up the reproduction and agonising the delays. But, having said that, I leave it in your capable hands to do what ever you want………..and please write back saying how much money you would like.

Doubtless a Mr.Al Steckler will contact you in New York, with any further information. He will probably look nervous and say “Hurry up” but take little notice.




Let’s break that down into 3 important ideas a reader (and, in this case, his future collaborator) takes from this:

  1. Keep it simple - Gotcha, Mr. Jagger, Sir. You’re more of a “less is more” kinda guy. That and he knew Andy Warhol tends to over-complicate things. I digress…

  2. You have complete creative control - Can I hear a HALLELUJAH?!

  3. Charge me whatever you want - I mean… Who here has ever heard that in their freelance / independent contractor / agency-owner life? To that I say: “Bless. We wish nothing but happiness to you and your family, and may all employers learn from you.”

Few (if any) will reach Andy Warhol status and those that are at that level already are clearly used to hearing this but, in general, this is not something you come by too often.

During my copywriting years. I've been lucky enough to have worked with some amazing people so far that gave me a lot of creative control and were flexible when it came to budgets, so here’s to you!

You know how you are.

Well… until I become the next Andy Warhol, it’s back to work cause there’s no “I leave it in your capable hands and charge me whatever” without a lot of damn hard work.

But that’s just me… thinking out loud.


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