EDIT: As of 11:22am EDT, I am signing off. Thanks to everyone who tuned in! Learn more about my new project CP1919 here.

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/FzWdplk

My name is Peter Saville and I’m an artist / designer, and the creator of Joy Division’s 1979 Unknown Pleasures album artwork. I am here to talk about my new project CP1919, a collaboration with founding Joy Division member Stephen Morris. You can read more about it here: https://verso.pacegallery.com/project/cp1919-peter-saville-stephen-morris-and-the-joy-division-archive/05c4596a-4739-4ec1-a91a-51966a972907/8d797c90-4617-4826-825e-f906f4d16926.

Ask me anything!

Comments: 78 • Responses: 10  • Date: 

baltinerdist54 karma

What is the most minor, uncelebrated, "just doing this for a friend" design you've ever done that you are most proud of? Like "I did a logo for my kid's cub scout troop" kind of thing.

PeterSavilleOfficial104 karma

I have a favorite sandwich bar in central London, run by a man I now refer to as my friend, Jimmy. A couple of years ago he asked if I could help with a new paper bag… what could I say? I had to engage one or two associates to help me on that one. They were amused too. Obviously there wasn’t a budget, but I think I got a free espresso that day.

North_Ad_510131 karma

If you could redesign any logo out there, which would it be and why do you want to redesign it?

PeterSavilleOfficial46 karma

The most difficult is always one’s own. In fact I had a business card debate with a gallery director the other evening when we exchanged cards.
Regarding the rest of the world, I’m trying to not look and care too much anymore. The state of the visual environment used to really unsettle and disappoint me, but after 40 years of trying to help to make things better, I realized it’s something of a losing task.
It always seems to be one-step forward, one-step back, and I’m very happy now for the next generation to take up the challenge.

PneumaOA19 karma

Unknown Pleasures is in my top 5 album covers (and albums)! That said, do you have any all time album cover favorites?

PeterSavilleOfficial37 karma

It’s difficult to nominate favorites because they change with time and I forget anyway, but the most influential cover in the context of my own work was the UK edition of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn, which was released in 1979. The use of a simple line-image on a monochrome background was my introduction to semiotics.
For me, Kraftwerk’s music – and particularly the title track “Autobahn” – encompassed the European canon of music, culture, history, and place. It made me realize the potential that an image or icon could release in one’s imagination.
My choice of the USE HEARING PROTECTION symbol for the first Factory poster was inspired by the Kraftwerk cover.

smashey16 karma

Why did new order choose to be so enigmatic in their public persona? If I remember correctly, the only album with images of the band was low life, where the faces weren't recognizable. Secret messages scratched into the inner groove of the record, secret codes in the color combinations on the edge of a record. I'd buy the records second hand in the 90s like I was collecting pieces of a puzzle. I didn't even have a record player.

As a teenager I found this artwork to be really influential, and to me it portrayed an emotional remoteness which I then carried out in my own artwork. At the same time, a secret code asks the viewer to pay even more attention, it pushes you away but draws you in, which in retrospect was exactly what I was trying to do.

Today I don't really listen to that music anymore, and that cool, remote style is something I've turned away from. Has your experience been similar?

Apologies for the disjointed comment. I never expected to see your name pop up here, and you were a huge influence on me.

PeterSavilleOfficial25 karma

I listen to very different music now, i.e. other than contemporary pop, and I think that’s normal and healthy. There’s a thousand years of music to learn about. How could one possibly stay on auto-repeat? We seek the atmosphere around us that suits our time and place.

PeterSavilleOfficial22 karma

I believe that they chose to remain enigmatic because they wanted to make music far more than they wanted to be a “pop” group. They have never seemed to me to be interested in courting any kind of celebrity. They just wanted to be in a band rather than in an office job.

It was the unique circumstances of Factory Records that enabled them to explore music without the burden of marketing that music. Their enigma created its own form of charisma.

RunDNA6 karma

G'day Peter,

The Orion Nebula photo on the cover of the Transmission 7" comes from the same book as the Unknown Pleasures cover: The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy.

Where does the photo on the Transmission 12" cover come from?

PeterSavilleOfficial10 karma

The original photograph was seen by Joy Division’s manager, Rob Gretton, in an exhibition. Rob really liked the photo of a treeline in a snow-covered landscape, and proposed it to the group for the cover Transmission. It was one of the rare moments that they came to me with something visually beautiful.

Mcshiggs4 karma

If you were a hotdog and you were starving, would you eat yourself?

PeterSavilleOfficial33 karma

We’ve all tried.

xandra8213 karma

What is CP1919?

PeterSavilleOfficial22 karma

CP1919 is the original designation of the first ever pulsar discovered. The letters and numbers refer to a geo-position in space.
I always refer to the source of our imagery as CP1919. The image on the cover of Joy Division’s album Unknown Pleasures is a data map of the signal or energy wave emanating from this pulsar.
It is effectively a diagram showing the symmetry and frequency of this signal over a period of time. Therefore, we can see the data map as a landscape of time itself. It was this interpretation of the data as a landscape that led to the imagery for this current project.

Heavy_Paramedic74683 karma

How did you create the original cover for Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures?

PeterSavilleOfficial17 karma

The group gave me the image of CP1919 which Bernard Sumner had seen in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy and a brief credit sheet of tracks etc.

It was the first album cover that I had responsibility for, and I found it intimidating. Had I actually heard the record I would have found it IMPOSSIBLY intimidating. But at that point I hadn’t, and I spent an evening in a local graphics studio trying to figure out how to do it. I thought the image was wonderfully complete in its expression of the title Unknown Pleasures, and it didn’t really feel necessary to include those words alongside the image. I didn’t even like seeing ‘Joy Division’ on the front either because that made it look like a record cover, and I didn’t want to make a record cover - I wanted to make an object, a possession. I always knew the covers of my own records in their own right as images. I didn’t need the titles to find them - nor had I ever needed the title on the cover in a record store to find something that I wanted. As Factory Records was an entirely independent disruptive venture, I felt free to make the cover that I wanted to have.

theJVB1 karma

I don't care for the term "guilty pleasure" because we should never feel guilty about the things we love. That being said, what is your unknown (to us) pleasure?

PeterSavilleOfficial12 karma

It’s better left unsaid…