Heinz Edelmann dies at 75; art director for the 1968 Beatles film ‘Yellow Submarine’

Heinz Edelmann, a graphic designer who went on to teach at a German art academy, conceived the bright, surrealistic aesthetic and two-dimensional characters for “Yellow Submarine,” the 1968 film revolving around Beatles songs.
(MGM Studios)
From Times Wire Services

Heinz Edelmann, a graphic designer best known for his work as art director of the 1968 Beatles film “Yellow Submarine,” died Tuesday at a hospital in Stuttgart, Germany, according to the city’s State Academy of Art and Design. Edelmann was 75.

No cause of death was given.

Born in 1934 in Aussig in the former Czechoslovakia, Edelmann studied at the Dusseldorf Art Academy and became a freelance graphic designer in 1958.

Heinz Edelmann obituary: The obituary of graphic designer Heinz Edelmann in the July 22 Section A said Ron Campbell did the animation for the 1968 Beatles film “Yellow Submarine.” Campbell was one of many animators who worked on the film. Additionally, Edelmann’s quote that he had never taken drugs was said to have been from an interview in the magazine Design Week. The quote originally came from a 1994 interview with author Bob Hieronimus for his book “Inside the Yellow Submarine.” —

Edelmann was a poster artist who created the psychedelic, surrealistic look of the animated film revolving around Beatles songs. He made the original drawings for the Blue Meanies, Apple Bonkers and other characters, casting them in a flat, two-dimensional style that popped with vivid colors. Ron Campbell did the animation for the film, which was produced by Al Brodax and directed by George Dunning.

Some viewers incorrectly assumed Edelmann was calling up his own experiences with hallucinogenic drugs.

“I had never taken any drugs,” the artist said in a 2004 interview with the British magazine Design Week. “I’m a conservative, working-class person who sticks to booze . . . so I just knew about the psychedelic experience. . . . I guessed what it was.”

In addition to his work on “Yellow Submarine,” Edelmann designed many book covers, including the first German edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.”

In 1989, he won a competition to design the mascot of the Expo ’92 world fair in Seville, Spain, beating 23 other entries with his illustration of a pudgy bird with a rainbow plume and conical beak named Curro.

He had been a professor at the State Academy of Art and Design until 1999.