THE EVOLUTION OF JOY DIVISION TO NEW ORDER
Elapse is an album release promoting a theoretical song by Joy Division/New Order. Utilizing the color code designed by Peter Saville for the two band’s original album artwork, the audience is presented with a coded timeline to decipher the name of the never-before released song. The objective of this approach is meant to engage the user with the product in an intellectually stimulating way, resulting in a more rewarding discovery.
MUTE RECORDS (THEORETICAL)
The challenge for this project was to design and illustrate a musical promotional package to be sent out to radio stations or music producers as an introduction to a new recording. Through the genre of electronic music, I put a focus on the subgenre of post-punk, new wave, electropop music, specifically promoting the band/bands Joy Division and New Order. Since New Order came about at the fall of Joy Division due to the death of lead singer, Ian Curtis, this promo aims to bring attention to their evolution and somewhat resurrect their lost member.
Post-punk (originally called new musick) is a broad type of rock music that emerged from the punk movement of the 1970s, in which artists departed from the simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock to adopt a variety of avant-garde sensibilities. Inspired by punk’s energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock clichés.
Joy Division were a British rock band formed in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester. They were originally named Stiff Kittens, then changed their name to Warsaw and finally became Joy Division before recording and releasing their first 7” EP “An Ideal For Living.” As the band’s popularity grew, singer Curtis suffered from personal problems that included depression, a failing marriage, and epilepsy. He found it increasingly difficult to perform live concerts, during which he sometimes suffered seizures. In May 1980, on the eve of the band’s first American tour, Curtis committed suicide, aged 23. After Curtis’s death, the remaining members continued as New Order and achieved critical and commercial success. Although Joy Division’s career spanned less than four years, the band continues to exert an influence on a variety of artists.
The bands' created their signature sound using self-built synthesizers and a six-string bass for more melody. Their lyricism evokes imagery and words revolving around “coldness, pressure, darkness, crisis, failure, collapse, loss of control." Their distinctive album sleeves and “non-image” (the band rarely gave interviews and were known for performing short concert sets with no encores) reflected the label’s aesthetic and their long-term collaboration with designer Peter Saville.
Album covers designed by Peter Saville for "Disorder" by Joy Division and "Power, Corruption & Lies" by New Order.
The group’s record sleeves by Saville caught attention in the 1980s by rarely showing the band members or even providing basic information such as the band name or title of the release. Song names were often hidden within the shrink wrapped package, either on the disc itself (such as the “Blue Monday” single), on an inconspicuous part of an inner sleeve (“The Perfect Kiss” single), or written in a cryptic color code invented by Saville (Power, Corruption & Lies). Saville said his intention was to sell the band as a “mass-produced secret” of sorts, and that the minimalist style was enough to allow fans to identify the band’s products without explicit labelling. Saville frequently sent the artwork straight to the printer, unreviewed by either the band or the label.
The making of Saville's cryptic color code.
SAVILLE'S ORIGINAL COLOR CODE
REINTERPRETED COLOR CODE
By utilizing the reinterpreted color code, users can decipher the dates across the bands' careers throughout the accordion fold booklet until they get to the code for the song. Once decoded, users can scan the QR code on the CD jacket, which will bring them to the Mute Records landing page. After the name of the song is entered, they will be given the backstory of the song and how it was discovered after all these years of Ian Curtis passing. Users will also enter for the chance to win new Joy Divison merchandise and tickets to a secret New Order gig.