kottke.org posts about Joy Division

The origin of the Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album cover artFeb 26 2015

Joy Division Unknown Pleasures

For Scientific American, Jen Christiansen tracks down where the iconic image on the cover of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures came from. Designer Peter Saville found the image, a stacked graph of successive radio signals from pulsar CP 1919, in a 1977 astronomy encyclopedia but it actually originated in a 1970 Ph.D. thesis.

By now I had also combed through early discovery articles in scientific journals and every book anthology on pulsars I could get my hands on to learn more about early pulsar visualizations. The more I learned, the more this descriptor in the 1971 Ostriker caption began to feel significant; "computer-generated illustration." The charts from Bell at Mullard were output in real time, using analogue plotting tools. A transition in technology from analogue to digital seemed to have been taking place between the discovery of pulsars in 1967 to the work being conducting at Arecibo in 1968 through the early 1970's. A cohort of doctoral students from Cornell University seemed to be embracing that shift, working on the cutting edge of digital analysis and pulsar data output. One PhD thesis title from that group in particular caught my attention, "Radio Observations of the Pulse Profiles and Dispersion Measures of Twelve Pulsars," by Harold D. Craft, Jr. (September 1970).

When a star gets old and fat, it explodes in a supernova, leaving a neutron star in its wake. Neutron stars are heavily magnetized and incredibly dense, approximately two times the mass of the Sun packed into an area the size of the borough of Queens. That's right around the density of an atomic nucleus, which isn't surprising given that neutron stars are mostly composed of neutrons. A teaspoon of neutron star would weigh billions of tons.

A pulsar is a neutron star that quickly rotates. As the star spins, electromagnetic beams are shot out of the magnetic poles, which sweep around in space like a lighthouse light. Pulsars can spin anywhere from once every few seconds to 700 times/second, with the surface speed approaching 1/4 of the speed of light. These successive waves of electromagnetic pulses, arriving every 1.34 seconds, are what's depicted in the stacked graph. Metaphorical meanings of its placement on the cover of a Joy Division record are left as an exercise to the reader.

Playmobil Joy DivisionFeb 09 2011

A nearly shot-for-shot version of Joy Division performing Transmission live in 1979...with Playmobil characters.

Original version is here. (via hello typepad)

These are not the fonts you are looking forJun 21 2007

Peter Saville, the British designer closely associated with Factory Records, is offering free downloads of some of the fonts he used in designing record sleeves and other work for New Order, Joy Division, and other Factory Records artists (see update below).

Saville Fonts

(thx, mark)

Update: Several Peter Saville fans from around the world have written in to say that the above site is not Peter Saville's official site (this is). It's also unclear whether those fonts were indeed made by Saville (probably not) or ever offered for download free of charge (probably definitely not). But they're still neat fonts, so download at your own risk.

Update: Kai has identified some of the fonts offered as shoddy versions of the following:

Joy Division Closer - Trajan (Adobe)
Blue Monday - Engravers Gothic (Bitstream)
New Order 1981 - Futura (Bauer)
New Order 1993 - Handel Gothic (Linotype)
New Order Ceremony - Albertus (Mecanorma)
New Order 316 - BT Incised 901 (Bitstream) = Antique Olive (Linotype)
New Order Regret - Rotis Serif (Agfa)

In this case, you get what you pay for, I guess.

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