The cover artwork for Joy Division’s classic 1979 album Unknown Pleasures has become almost as iconic as the music itself. (The second Google Image result for “joy division unknown pleasures” is not an album cover, but a t-shirt.) As a part of next month’s Visualized Conference in New York City, graphic designer Peter Saville, who created the album art, talked about the image’s origins. Saville said that the young members of Joy Division “knew what they wanted on the cover.” The image they gave Saville was “this page from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy”, an image that Saville calls a “wonderfully enigmatic symbol.” Sort of like Ian Curtis himself.
The squiggly white lines are a “comparative path demonstration of frequency from a signal of a pulsar,” in fact the first pulsar ever observed. If you’d rather not hear Saville talk all things graphic design and data representation and rock legendry, just skip to 1:50 and watch the Unknown Pleasures pulsar measurement actually start to pulsate. Whoa. [Fact Mag]