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Peter Saville

Peter Saville

  • Graphic Designer
  • United Kingdom

Born 1955, Manchester, United Kingdom

Peter Saville exists in a territory of his own, his practice can be located somewhere between art and design – merging aspects of both, his unparalleled approach has resulted in a unique contribution to culture.

This hybrid position came into being partly through the unprecedented autonomy afforded to him aged 22 as co-founder and art director of the legendary independent UK label Factory Records. Unlike most ‘commercial artists’ of the time and indeed since, Saville was free to design without approval. Making his art in the context of mass production he accessed an audience through cult pop music, best exemplified in the series of record sleeves he created for Joy Division and New Order between 1979 and 1993.

His radical designs seemed to break all the rules, sometimes omitting information about artists or titles, or employing visual codes, fundamentally questioning modes of consumption and communication. He cites Factory’s idealism, rather than any commercial objective that allowed him, and other influential Factory artists to communicate ideas, aesthetics and ultimately values to a formative audience.

The influence his work has amassed today may be anchored in its consistent invitation to interpret and think critically about the significance of what you are seeing in the visual information presented, arguably extending the scope of literacy, commonly only associated with the interpretation of text rather than image.

His achievements were celebrated in The Peter Saville Show at the Design Museum in London in 2003. His first major show in a contemporary art museum was at the Migros Museum in Zurich in 2005 and he continues to exhibit internationally.

His first monograph was published by Frieze, 2003. Saville has an honorary doctorates from Manchester Metropolitan University and University of the Arts London, is a Royal Designer for Industry and in 2020 he was the recipient of the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) bestowed in recognition of the positive impact of his work.

Saville’s work is included in the collections of MoMA, SFMOMA, The V&A Museum (London), The Government Art Collection (UK), Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris), FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (Reims).

Saville lives and works in London.