Friday, 2 October 2009

Factory Records (OUGD101)

The Graphic Design of Factory Records have played a part in my view of Graphic Design for a while now. Particularly the design of Peter Saville who was probably one of the first Graphic Designers I heard of.

Saville is said to have been influenced a lot in his Factory Record days by road signage and Italian Graphics. Although I don't personally know a great deal about the latter, his influence of road signage is evident in his work:

'Fac. 1'

This image can be found at:

Road signage is general really clear cut to get across an instruction instantly and Saville uses this to his advantage. Simple is effective and direct. Just like a road sign.

Peter Saville was also partly responsible for designing the interior for the Haçienda nightclub - now non-existent - in Manchester at the height of the Madchester music scene created primarily by Factory Records artists. Although the design is generally credited to Ben Kelly. There was a heavy vibe relating to road works and roads in general in the design which clearly shows Saville's input whch can be seen in these images:

'Haçienda Nightclub Interior (Fac. 51)'

This image can be found at:

'Haçienda Nightclub (Fac. 51)'

This image can be found at:

I believe the Haçienda to be a fantastic example of how far the boundaries of Graphic Design can be pushed. In this case it has be pushed into interior design. This is one of the reason I like the Haçienda interior so much. It's a shame it's not around anymore!

Factory Records are well known for their host of album cover and sleeve designs which were produced by various designers and design companies. Here are some of my favourite:

'Happy Mondays - Pills N' Thrills And Bellyaches LP (Fact. 320)'

This image can be found at:

Designed by Central Station Design, they manage to communicate the manic lifestyle associated with the Happy Mondays very well here. The team of designers seem to have done everything they can to make this design as loud and exciting as possible. Large bold type, very bright colours etc.

'Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures LP (Fact. 10)'

This image can be found at:

In terms of the mood being communicated, Peter Saville communicates almost exactly the opposite in this design to communicate the general feel of Joy Division's music which has been described as, cold and dark. As opposed to Central Station Design's, Pills N' Thrills And Bellyaches, Saville uses small type rather than big and black and white instead of lots of bright colours. Unknown Pleasures is generally a lot more minimalist than Pills Thrills N' Bellyaches too. The two album covers are good examples of appropriate communication in Graphic Design in my opinion.

Here are a couple more of my favourite bits of Factory Records design:

'The Durutti Column - The Return Of The Durutti Column LP (Fact. 14)'

This image can be found at:

Designed by Dave Rowbotham, this sleeve was made entirely out of raw sandpaper. It was the record designed to destroy other records. A concept suggested by the band which also happens to be a concept I very much like. Contradictory to the aggressive nature of the design, the music itself, (according to the book 'Factory Records The Complete Graphic Album' by Matthew Robertson, as I have not heard the record myself yet) is "delicate and cerebral and far from aggressive."

'Happy Mondays - Rave On EP (Fac. 242)

This image can be found at:

This Central Station Design design stands out for me purely because of the 'Madchester' logo. It became the symbol for the musical movement which shows its impact. It is due to this impact that I see this as a respectable piece of Graphic Design.

'Factory Logo (Fac. 120)'

This image can be found at:

PSA designed the Factory Records logo. Simple and to the point, not much needs to be said about the effectiveness of this design. A great logo and a good example of image based graphics.

'New Order - True Faith 12" (Fac. 183)

This image can be found at:

A collaborative design between Peter Saville and Trevor Key. Saville was inspired by a leaf that fell on his cars windscreen at night. It is described in 'Factory Records The Complete Graphic Album' by Matthew Robertson as, "a poetic moment frozen in time". Something I like most about this design is Saville and Key's use of International Klein Blue as a tribute to Yves Klein of whom Saville and Key were fond of. This is why I see this as a nice piece of Graphic Design.

So that's why I see the graphics of Factory Records to be a good example of Graphic Design.



  1. Hiya. Hate to dampen your enthusiasm, but the Pills & Thrills cover (and all other Mondays graphics) are by Central Station Design, and not Saville. Also, while PS was definitely instrumental in some of the graphics for the Hacienda, I think it's overstating the case to credit him with the interior design. The architect, Ben Kelly, was responsible for its interior.

  2. Ah! Cheers for that. I'd rather be corrected than have false info on there. I'll be sure to change it.

  3. I've made the changes now so hopefully it's more accurate.