Unknown Pleasures

Cover art by Peter Saville for the Factory Records release of Joy Division’s  Unknown Pleasures

Cover art by Peter Saville for the Factory Records release of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures

A fun anecdote from Peter Hook, co-founder of Joy Division and New Order, on founding member Bernard Sumner’s influence in the creation of the band’s first album cover, from Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division:

He was always on the lookout for images to put on our stuff; and looking through a book, The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy, he saw a diagram of a pulsar, showed it to [designer] Peter Saville, and that was it. Bernard doesn’t get nearly enough credit for that, because he couldn’t have made a better choice: that image is now forever associated with Joy Division and Unknown Pleasures the record. […] Either way, Peter went off, applied his magic and turned it into Unknown Pleasures, putting all his great little touches on it: the textured paper, the text on the reverse and the light and shade of having the outer sleeve black and the inner sleeve white. 

Stories like this are one of the big reasons why I enjoy books that give space to process over those that simply reproduce and catalogue images. Nothing wrong with them, of course, but for students especially, a little bit of context goes a long way in demystifying the job and showing how collaborative even the most celebrated design work actually is.