Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures Album Art Story
Let’s face it, the word iconic gets overused a hell of a lot these days, but it is definitely the perfect way to describe the striking artwork on the cover of Joy Division’s debut album Unknown Pleasures.
The cover began life when Joy Division’s Bernard Sumner found the basis for the pulsar wave image in a copy of the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy, which is obviously the must-read book for all aspiring rock stars!
The band then took the design to Factory Records co-founder and artistic genius Peter Saville and told him they wanted it to feature on the album cover.
Saville instantly knew the wave design was the perfect image to illustrate the cover and explains that he found the sharp lines to be in line with Stephen Morris’ tight drumming.
I have to agree. The technical yet sensual feel of the design certainly resonates with Joy Division’s stark, dark lyrics and atmospheric electronic sounds.
The cover has a local connection for the Mancunian band too – because the image was from the first pulsar CP 1919, it is likely to have emanated from the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics in Manchester.
Saville chose to do the cool thing and leave the album title off the cover, allowing the image to speak for itself. It was a wise decision that made it one of the most celebrated and loved covers of all time.
With its geometric design, the Unknown Pleasures artwork has a strong look that is instantly recognisable. It looks fantastic on a T-shirt and we think our unique ‘Love Tears us Apart’ twist makes our love will tear us apart Joy Division T-shirt stand out from the crowd. Hopefully you will find it as much of a pleasure as we do!