Peter Saville

Peter Saville is an English art director and graphic designer who gained popularity after designing multiple record sleeves for the independent record label ‘Factory Records’. Saville was born in 1955 in England and grew up in Manchester, where he would eventually attend Manchester Polytechnic to study graphic design. He entered the music scene when he met with Factory Record’s owner Tony Wilson who would commission him to create artwork and album sleeves for the record label. Some notable bands he worked with were Joy Division and New Order. The album covers he is most well known for are Joy division’s: Unknown Pleasures (1979), Closer (1980) and New Order’s: Power, Corruption & Lies (1983). Unknown Pleasures was the first of Joy Division’s albums and is probably the most recognisable, the sleeve features an image of the radio waves of 100 pulses emitted by the first pulsar found in space, taken from the ‘Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy’. The cover famously didn’t feature the bands name, album title or even the track list because it was deemed unnecessary as members of the post-punk movement, they didn’t want to be pop stars. The album Closer followed and due to circumstances with the band, the artwork featured on the album took on another meaning. The sleeve features a picture of a tomb in Genoa that was picked out by the band members but before its release, band member Ian Curtis committed suicide and this tragedy whilst not influencing the covers imagery would inevitably influence its perception. The third was the New Orders second album Power, Corruption & Lies. New Order was formed by Joy Divisions surviving members after Ian’s death and continued to create music. Their second album features a picture of a painting of flowers by Henri Fatin-Latour, which was controlled by the National Heritage Trust. The trust allegedly refused to allow the image to be used but after the trust admitted to Tony Wilson that the painting was technically owned by the British public, Tony allegedly told them that ‘the British people now want it’. The image is another juxtaposition of an older antique piece of art being featured as the sleeve for modern contemporary music, something that Peter Saville liked to do in a lot of his work. Peter Saville continued to create album artwork for New Order as well as other bands along with other pieces of work.

Unknown Pleasures, 1979

Closer, 1980
Power, Corruption & Lies, 1983