Peter Saville


Peter Saville, British (1955 – )

                 Peter Saville(born 9 October 1955 in Manchester) is an English art director based in London.

Saville attended St Ambrose College. He studied graphic design at Manchester Polytechnic (later Manchester Metropolitan University) from 1975 to 1978.Peter Saville is famous for the design of record sleeves for Factory Records artists, most notably for Joy Division and New Order.

Influenced by a fellow student, Malcolm Garrett, who had begun designing for the Manchester punk group, the Buzzcocks, and by Herbert Spencer’s Pioneers of Modern Typography, Saville was inspired by Jan Tschichold, chief propagandist for the New Typography. According to Saville: “Malcolm had a copy of Herbert Spencer’s Pioneers of Modern Typography.  The one chapter that he hadn’t reinterpreted in his own work was the  cool, disciplined “New Typography” of Tschichold and its subtlety  appealed to me. I found a paralled in it for the New Wave that was  evolving out of Punk.”

Saville entered the music scene after meeting Tony Wilson, the journalist and television presenter, whom he approached at a Patti Smith show in 1978. This resulted in Wilson commissioning the first Factory Records poster (FAC 1). Saville became a partner of Factory Records along with Wilson, Rob Gretton and Alan Erasmus.

Saville’s album design for Joy Division’s last album, Closer, released shortly after Ian Curtis’s suicide in May 1980, was controversial in its depiction of Christ’s body entombed. However, the design pre-dated Curtis’ death, a fact which rock magazine the New Musical Express was able to confirm, since it had been displaying proofs of the artwork on its walls for several months.

Saville’s output from this period included reappropriation from art and design. Design critic Alice Twemlow wrote: “…in the 1980s… he would directly and irreverently “lift” an  image from one genre—art history for example—and recontextualize it in  another. A Fantin-Latour “Roses” painting in combination with a colour-coded alphabet became the seminal album cover for New Order’s Power, Corruption and Lies (1983), for example.”

In the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People based on Tony Wilson and the history of Factory Records, Saville is portrayed by actor Enzo Cilenti. His reputation for missing deadlinesis comically highlighted in the film.

In 1979, Saville moved from Manchester to London and became art director of the Virgin offshoot, DinDisc. He subsequently created a body of work which furthered his refined take on Modernism, working for artists such as Roxy Music, Duran Duran, Wham! and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.  Saville founded the design agency Peter Saville Associates (still  designing primarily for musical artists and record labels) before he  was invited to close his office in 1990 to join the partner-owned Pentagram, one of the most respected and very few truly multidisciplinary design consultancies/agencies in the world.

In 1993, Saville left London and moved to Los Angeles and joined the ad agency Frankfurt Balkind with his longterm collaborator Brett Wickens. Saville soon returned to London. For a brief period, he founded The Apartment for the German advertising agency Meiré & Meiré from his modernist apartment in Mayfair that also doubled as the London offices of the agency. (The same apartment is depicted in the record sleeve of Pulp’s album This Is Hardcore). The Apartment produced works for clients such as Mandarina Duck and Smart Car before he returned to freelance under his own name and consider other  collaborations (including John Warwicker at the Soho based Tomato). In  1999, Saville moved to offices in Clerkenwell to re-start Peter Saville Associates (later renamed Saville Parris Wakefield)

Saville grew in demand as a younger generation of people in  advertising and fashion had grown up with his work for Factory Records.  He reached a creative and a commercial peak with design consultancy  clients such as Selfridges, EMI and Pringle. Other significant commissions came from the field of fashion. Saville’s fashion clients include(d) Jil Sander, Martine Sitbon, John Galliano, Yohji Yamamoto, Christian Dior and Stella McCartney. Saville often worked in collaboration with his long time friend, fashion photographer Nick Knight. The two launched an art and fashion website SHOWstudio in November 2000. Notably the Belgian fashion designer, Raf Simons was granted full access to the archives of Peter Saville’s vintage  Factory projects and made a personal selection of Saville-designed  works to integrate them into Raf Simon’s “Closer” Autumn/Winter 2003-4  collection.

The above image has to be the one I like the most from his work, I love the creativity and the typography i think it is an excellent combination idea for a rock/art record cover.


About bonny83

I am currently studying at Glyndwr University, North Wales School of Art and Design. Design Communication is the main subject body while also looking at a large variety of the many forms of Art. My main interest is illustration and I am considering illustration for children's books for the future. Art and Design has always been a huge part of my life and i am enjoying taking things further for a possible career.

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