Friday, July 20, 2007

Joy Division: Logo #8

Illustrated by an as-yet unknown hand and found by Joy Division drummer Stephen Morris in 1979, this frontspiece for the "Unknown Pleasures" LP comes from an edition of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy. The image was originally presented as a black lines on white space, but on a hunch, designer Peter Saville flipped it. Eureka! What you see are 100 successive bursts - go ahead and count, we'll wait - from CP 1919, the first known pulsar. The more gothy reference texts refer to this as "the scream of a dying star", but we all know that in space, no one can hear you scream. In September 1979, "Alien" premiered in the "United" Kingdom and bore that chestnut out completely. Another instance of an image assuming de facto logo status, if only because for the past thirty years it has been reproduced incessantly on badges, patches, stickers and knickers. Joy Division contemporary (and no slouch in the design department, he) Jon Wozencroft has a nice "secret origin" story about the cover in the summer 2007 issue of Tate Etc. Magazine.

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