“Plagiarism in graphic design means the unauthorized use or close imitation of existing artwork and the representation of it as one’s own original work […] Appropriation in art and art history refers to the practice of artists using pre-existing objects or images in their art with little transformation of the original”

~ ethicsingraphicdesign.org

Typography Cool

Someone somewhere called this cover art for New Order’s Confusion 12″ single “typography cool”, which designer Peter Saville was a pioneer of. The color combination represents a code of numbers that corresponds to the letters of the alphabet. One would need the color wheel included on New Order’s 1983 release of the same year Power, Corruption, and Lies for decoding.

New Order Movement Album Cover

Plagiarism or Appropriation?

Although the cover art for Confusion is an exception, Saville was dinged on more than one occasion for his “graphical appropriations” in his other designs for New Order. Take for example the cover art for New Order’s 1981 debut studio album Movement. This is a clear reference to a 1932 poster by Futurist painter Fortunato Depero.

Futurist Poster by Fortunato Depero

Comments from Saville

When asked to comment, Saville explained that it seemed more appropriate to “quote Futurism verbatim rather than parody it ineptly.” By making such an obvious statement about the origins of the Movement design, Saville believed that no one would think he invented it.