Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures: 1979

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One of the most famous album covers in the whole universe originates from PSR B1919+21, a “pulsar with a period of 1.3373 seconds,and a pulse width of 0.04 second.” Picked up by Peter Saville, one of the best graphic designers in England, he transformed something extremely scientific into a design so famous people can recognise it without having any idea what it is.

Technically the design was initially the bands idea because they had handed him a folder of astronomical images from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy and all Peter Saville had to do was pick the correct one and go with it. The choice was perfect – he picked the design because it demonstrates both technicality, sensuality, rhythm and a shape like that of a heartbeat.

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The pulsar originates from the constellation Vulpecula, shown above.

Peter Saville and the band also decided against putting the bands name on the front due to the post punk movement and the band not wanting to become “pop” stars at the time.

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New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies: 1983

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Peter Saville is the brains behind this album cover, or rather his girlfriend is. Whilst looking for a machiavellian painting (to fit the title) at the National Gallery, Peter Saville wandered into the gift shop and picked up a postcard of the painting shown above. His girlfriend came up behind him and questioned whether he was going to use it as the cover and without a shadow of doubt he decided on it there and then.

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Peter Saville is the creative genius behind the infamous Joy Division album Unknown Pleasures and many other great album covers, but despite how iconic the Joy Division cover is, I still love the Power, Corruption & Lies design more. The way he has taken the colour palette from the image and collated it into a little key in the corner as if to say the artist has painted by numbers or cheated, pointing towards the title of the album.

With one of the best graphic designers in England, it’s hard to go wrong, and Peter Saville has proved his worth once again.