Quinn Stacey – Show & Tell Presentation

“Helvetica and LP Cover Art”

When I think about how visual design has influenced my tastes personally, inevitably LP covers and book covers appear in my mind. These forms of content/product design appeal to me because they are intended to enhance the experience of the art contained within the packaging. A layman’s view of packaging is often as analogous to garbage, a disposable item meant to be discarded when the real product has been consumed in some way. Effective packaging, like the examples I am about to give, really add to the desirability of the content.

Originally, I had intended to show a portion of a documentary by the English rock band Joy Division in which the graphic designer, Peter Saville, explains step-by-step the choices that he made and the direction given by the band. As I thought more about the project, I was drawn to album covers that don’t necessarily have the (current, at least) fame associated with their design. In 2015, Rolling Stone Magazine posted an article concerning the cover, which a valuable video featured Saville explaining the creation of the cover of Joy Division’s album Unknown Pleasures, as well as an explanation of the image featured. The Unknown Pleasures.

Peter Saville Video:


I chose for the focus of my presentation the album Free Jazz by the Ornette Coleman Double Quartet. I find its design to be absolutely engaging and powerful, particularly the typography, which leads me to the focus of my presentation: typography in the modernist era as embodied by the Helvetica typeface.

Link to Helvetica documentary:


The Helvetica documentary really showed me the power of a typeface/font and how integral typography is to graphic design. Helvetica is used on the cover of Ornette Coleman’s album, and I chose this album as my subject without knowing anything about it or its history. I intended to highlight elements of the Coleman album cover; however, when I realized that Helvetica was used, I realized how important and pervasive that typeface is/was.


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