Peter Saville (artist)
9 October 1955|
|Occupation||art director, graphic designer|
|Known for||Design of record sleeves and CD covers.|
Saville entered the music scene after meeting Tony Wilson, the journalist and television presenter, whom he approached at a Patti Smith show in 1978. The meeting resulted in Wilson commissioning the first Factory Records poster (FAC 1). Saville became a partner in Factory Records along with Wilson, Martin Hannett, Rob Gretton and Alan Erasmus.
Influenced by 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 parallel in it for the New Wave that was evolving out of Punk."
Saville's album design for Joy Division's last album, Closer, released shortly after Ian Curtis' 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 New Musical Express was able to confirm, since it had been displaying proofs of the artwork in its offices 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, which is based on Tony Wilson and the history of Factory Records, Saville is portrayed by actor Enzo Cilenti. His reputation for missing deadlines is 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, producing work for artists such as King Crimson, Roxy Music, Duran Duran, Wham!, Ultravox, Peter Gabriel and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. He was paid more to design Gabriel's 1986 album So than for any other record sleeve in his career; he received £20,000. Saville founded the design agency Peter Saville Associates (still designing primarily for musical artists and record labels), which included Brett Wickens, before he was invited to close his office in 1990 to join the partner-owned Pentagram.
Work after Factory Records
In 1993 Saville left London and moved to Los Angeles, to join ad agency Frankfurt Balkind with Brett Wickens. Saville soon returned to London, however, where he asked designer Howard Wakefield to restart the design studio. For three years they became known as "The Apartment" for the German advertising agency Meiré & Meiré, and worked from Saville's modernist apartment in Mayfair that also doubled as the London studio. (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. In 1999 Saville moved to offices in Clerkenwell, later renaming the studio in 2002 as Saville Associates. In 2005 it was renamed again as 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 have included Jil Sander, Martine Sitbon, John Galliano, Yohji Yamamoto, Christian Dior and Stella McCartney. Saville often worked in collaboration with longtime friend, fashion photographer Nick Knight. The two launched an art and fashion website SHOWstudio in November 2000. Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons was granted full access to the archives of 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.
In 2012 Saville collaborated with Dovecot Studios Edinburgh in celebration of their centenary to create a large scale tapestry of his work After, After Monach of the Glen. This new tapestry commission is Dovecot Studios re appropriation of Peter Saville's appropriation of Sir Peter Blake's appropriation of Sir Edwin Landseer's 1851 painting Monarch of the Glen.
Exhibition, book and soundtrack
Saville's reclaimed status and contribution to graphic design were firmly established when London's Design Museum exhibited his body of work in 2003. The exhibition, The Peter Saville Show, was open from 23 May through 14 September 2003. A book by Rick Poynor, Designed by Peter Saville, accompanied the exhibition. The Peter Saville Show Soundtrack for the exhibition was performed and recorded by New Order, and was available to early visitors to the exhibition.
Selected record and CD covers by Saville
- Joy Division — Unknown Pleasures, 1979
- Joy Division — Transmission, 1979
- Joy Division — Love Will Tear Us Apart, 1980
- Joy Division — Closer, 1980
- Martha And The Muffins — Metro Music, 1980
- The Monochrome Set - Strange Boutique, 1980
- Roxy Music — Flesh and Blood, 1980
- David Byrne and Brian Eno - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, 1981
- Joy Division — Still, 1981
- New Order — Ceremony, 1981
- New Order — Movement, 1981
- Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark — Architecture & Morality, 1981
- Section 25 — "Always Now", 1981
- Ultravox — "Rage in Eden", 1981
- King Crimson — "Discipline", 1981
- New Order — Temptation, 1982
- New Order — Blue Monday, 1983
- New Order — Power, Corruption and Lies, 1983
- Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark — Dazzle Ships (album), 1983
- New Order — Low-Life, 1985
- Peter Gabriel — So, 1986
- Wham! — Music from the Edge of Heaven, 1986
- New Order — Brotherhood, 1986
- New Order — Bizarre Love Triangle, 1986
- New Order — True Faith, 1987
- New Order — Substance, 1987
- Joy Division — Substance, 1988
- New Order — Technique, 1989
- New Order — Republic, 1993
- Suede — Coming Up, 1996
- New Order — Video 5 8 6, 1997
- Pulp — This Is Hardcore, 1998
- Gay Dad — Leisure Noise, 1999
- The Other Two — Super Highways, 1999
- Pulp — We Love Life, 2001
- New Order — Get Ready, 2001
- New Order — Waiting for the Sirens' Call, 2005
- Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark — History of Modern, 2010
- Designed by Peter Saville, by Rick Poynor, Frieze, 2003. (ISBN 978-0-9527414-2-8)
- Eye, No. 17, Vol. 5, edited by Rick Poynor, Emap Construct, London, Summer 1995
- SHOWstudio, 2003
- Peter Saville Estate 1-127, by Heike Munder, JRP|Ringier, 2007. (ISBN 978-3-905701-66-1)
- Official Peter Saville Website
- Official Peter Saville Gallery Website
- Design Museum biography of Saville – includes timeline
- comprehensive archive from former colleagues
- Sleeve designed by Peter Saville - Japanese site
- A selection of Factory designs, primarily New Order
- Peter Saville @ Cerysmatic Factory
- Spike Magazine Interview
- Filmed interview on SHOWstudio
- Video Interview on I love Design
- Peter Saville Discography on Discogs