“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.

Have you heard? Communication is a two way word.

The most remarkable thing about Industry’s Mini LP is the album art. It’s hard not to admire the clear graphical study that has been given to it. What could have otherwise been a simple photograph of the group in period garb has been stripped of it’s essential elements and reduced to pure geometric forms. Cover art designer Norman Moore was perhaps influenced by Piet Mondrian or Theo van Doesburg.

Photo of the band Industry. Circa 1983

“Everything, living or not, is put together from basic building blocks evolving towards consciousness.”

This is a fundamental tenet of Theosophy; a doctrine of religious philosophy which holds that all religions are attempts by the “Spiritual Hierarchy” to help humanity evolve towards perfection. Each religion therefore holds a portion of the truth. Was Moore a Theosophist like his predecessor Mondrian? Unknown. While this remains a fantastic piece of cultural residue from the 1980’s, let me be clear: the music itself is trash.

Glorious spliff-burnin’ beats from the year 1982 that have nothing to do with the wonderful cover art. Album produced by ‘Junjo’ Lawes. Mixed by the one and only Scientist and vocals backed by the well-known Roots Radics.