Q

Unknown Pleasures: Peter Saville on the interstellar origins of Joy Division's debut album artwork

This month marks the 40th anniversary of Joy Division's debut album, Unknown Pleasures. With help from the artist who designed the original cover, Peter Saville, we explore the origins of the enigmatic image.

Saville says the enigmatic image is ‘a dead star whose signal seems to transmit forever’

The cover art for Joy Division's debut album Unknown Pleasures, which was released on June 15, 1979. (Factory Records)
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This month marks the 40th anniversary of Joy Division's debut album Unknown Pleasures. The influential post-punk album featured an enigmatic cover image — a graph of white overlapping lines on a black background. Over the years, the image has been remixed and reinterpreted in pop culture, adapted countless times as T-shirts, running shoes, oven mitts and internet memes. With help from graphic designer Peter Saville, the artist who designed the original cover, we explore the true origins of the image and why it still moves us.

— Produced by ​Chris Trowbridge

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