Last month, legendary graphic designer Storm Thorgerson passed away after a lengthly bout of cancer at the age of 69. Storm is responsible for many of the most groundbreaking and timeless album covers in the history of rock music. Most people know him from his extensive work with Pink Floyd, designing all but three of their albums, but his work extended far and wide to a whole host of prominent artists, including Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, The Mars Volta, Audioslave, and many more.
Storm was one of the big game changers in the world of album design. He was never into the basic photos of the artist with the name slapped on top of it. He treated his covers like a proper art form, as a visual representation of the music inside the package.
Though his work reached far and wide through an array of artists, his best known work is by all accounts his work with Pink Floyd. Having been school friends with Roger Waters and Syd Barrett, he was a natural choice to design the band’s second album, A Saucerful Of Secrets. This set his long career with the Floyd in motion, and became a launchpad for Hipgnosis, the design company he ran with Aubrey Powell until their dissolution in 1983, designing many of rock’s most defining images. With the Floyd, though, he created an image for the band separate from the band themselves. When people think Pink Floyd, the image of the four guys usually doesn’t come to mind. Instead, Pink Floyd conjures images of flying pigs, prisms refracting light, businessmen on fire, men in lightblub suits, and giant stone heads in a field. These images became the “face” of this band that thrived on being faceless, and they had Storm Thorgerson to credit for this.
Below are some of my favourite album covers by Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis. Not all of them are Floyd, but naturally many of them are. For a thorough glimpse at Storm’s life of genius graphic design, check out his website. RIP Storm Thorgerson.