Pink Floyd album designer Storm Thorgerson dies

Storm Thorgerson, who designed album covers for Pink Floyd and others, has died at the age of 69.

Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973

Source: Design By Hipgnosis, Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973

Thorgerson was a childhood friend of the Pink Floyd band members, and created cover designs for albums including the Dark Side of the Moon and the Division Bell.

Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour says, ‘We first met in our early teens. We would gather at Sheep’s Green, a spot by the river in Cambridge, and Storm would always be there holding forth, making the most noise, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. Nothing has ever really changed.

‘He has been a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on and a great friend.

‘The artworks that he created for Pink Floyd from 1968 to the present day have been an inseparable part of our work.’

As well as his work for Pink Floyd, Thorgerson also designed albums for Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Muse, Biffy Clyro and many others.

Pink Floyd, Division Bell Metal, 1994

Source: Design by Storm Thorgerson and Keith Breeden

Pink Floyd, Division Bell Metal, 1994

He was a co-founder of design group Hipgnosis in the late-1960s, working with Aubrey Powell on some of the most surreal and iconic cover art for some of the biggest bands of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

After Hipgnosis was dissolved in 1983, Thorgerson set up Storm Studios and continued to work on album covers. His most recent works include covers for The Wombats and Villainy last year.

Thorgerson suffered a stroke in 2003 and had been ill with cancer for some time. A family statement says, ‘His ending was peaceful and he was surrounded by family and friends.’

• Adrian Shaughnessy writes: ‘The first time I met Storm Thorgerson was in the early ‘90s, when I found the ground floor of my studio full of people who had come to see him. We rented our basement to the designer Peter Curzon, who was then working with Storm on the Pink Floyd Division Bell album cover, and Storm had invited dozens of people to meet him in our reception area.

This threw me into a rage and I confronted him – but he just smiled and said he wouldn’t be long and could he get some photocopying done. I didn’t stay angry for long, and in time we became friends. I also realised that this was how he got his amazing productions done – you don’t get hundreds of hospital beds on a beach in Devon if you are over-concerned about inconveniencing people.

I think he was a bona fide genius. I can’t begin to calculate the impact that his work had on me as a young designer in the ‘70s. For me, and for many others, he represented visual expression at its most adventurous and daring. I also loved the way that he always commissioned the best people to do the typography, illustration, photography, retouching, model-making, etc, for his legendary covers. This was super-smart and it is why his covers have a sophistication that is unequalled in cover art.

For many people when they talk about the power of album cover art, they are really talking about the work of Storm and Hipgnosis.

I spent quite a lot of time with him towards the end of his life. We attended a conference in New Zealand and I got to know him over a period of a few days. He had had a stroke, and also cancer, and his mobility was severely restricted. But his mind was undimmed and his imagination seemed as fertile as ever. He could be maddening, but he was always loveable.’

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  • Andy Columbine November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Sad, sad news. A true inspiration. Storm was an unrivalled genius, and the reason I’m obsessed with the relationship between design and music. His sleeve work was truly iconic; beautifully executed, unbelievably simple, yet deceptively sophisticated. Thank you for your wonderful work.

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