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DSCN3333No it is not about politics but about graphic design!

The British design studio Hipgnosis was formed in 1968 by two partners initially Storm Thorgenson and Aubrey Powell, later joined by Peter Christopherson. Initially, the studio was interested in only making record covers. They produced some of the best record covers of the era until 1983 when the studio disbanded. There is virtually no famous Rock group for whom they did not design. A partial list includes Pink Floyd for whom they designed the iconic cover of Dark Side of the Moon in 1973, after which they met with more and more success.

In rapid pace they designed for groups like UFO, 10CC, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, and Paul McCartney. Hipgnosis designed the cover for the first record by the group Bad Company titled Bad Company. This 1973 record, the first by the group, made the Billboards Pop Album charts and reached first place. The group disbanded in the original formation in 1983. The 1979 album, the groups sixth album is featured here.

DSCN3334The car on the back cover here is a forties or fifties Cadillac, the entire album design is entirely in keeping with the car loving culture of America and the landscapes influenced by it. Photographed in the late 1960’s and 1970’s by a number of famous photographers who dealt with it in different photographic ways, but the desolate view below is in keeping with those photographic traditions of displaying decay and desolation. The album features all the highlights of a typical Hipgnosis design, like the full use of the gate fold below with only one photograph.

The square format of the record cover is well served by the Hasselblad Medium format camera they used. The designers used a number of tricks, learned as film students, like multiple exposures, cut outs, cut and paste techniques and they did it very well.

They also use the inner sleeve for their photographs both front and back.

DSCN3335

DSCN3336Iconic record covers form the absolute basis of the new graphic mass pop design culture, more so than prints or even posters and some of these belong in museum collections as first rate examples of the marriage between graphic design and photography. In my opinion, this is one of those covers. The Hipgnosis Design Studio pioneered many of the techniques that decades later would be used by the entire graphic design world, better known as “photoshop”.

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