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Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Simplicity and contrast

Something a little different as we wait for more news on the Nobody's Perfect reissue. Here's Luke Vickers, a graphic designer's take on Peter Saville's iconic artwork for Joy Division's debut, FAC 10 Unknown Pleasures, and The Distractions' FAC 12 'Time Goes By So Slow'. Then there's Jimmy Edgar's take on the same artwork over at Insomniac, where 'Time Goes By So Slow' is listed amongst his most coveted record covers. These are the first of several FAC-related pieces that will be featured as part of Factory Records' 40th birthday.


"Time Goes By So Slow" by The Distractions, designed by Peter Saville 

The Distractions are a punk rock band from Manchester. They were mainly active 1975–1981. This is one of my favourites from Peter Saville, as the simplicity, contrast, and typography really stand out. 

Looking at the cover from the front, over half of it is black and the rest is a white/cream colour. Straight away this suggests something odd about the cover, as it is not split 50/50 like you would expect. It also looks like there is a woman’s face carved unto the black section. It looks as through it is scratched into the black section because her face is the same white/cream colour, and has very rough edges. This gives the cover unusual depth, as I imagine the black covering the white section. 

The typography used is capitalised and thin. The lettering is also spaced out unusually with large gaps, and composed in the top and bottom left hand side of the cover. 

Overall it gives the cover an almost eerie feel, as in everything feels like it is off. This may be a reflection of the punk rock movement, where artists wanted to be different and stand out.

(C) Luke Vickers.

Peter Saville is one of the best designers to ever live. If you don’t know him, then look up everything he has done. This is one of his less obvious covers, but I love this chalk-drawn outline vibe that was so popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s — it’s along the lines of lipstick on a mirror, or a casual note written from your secret lover. The composition and use of space with the typography is perfect; it makes you want to read it. At first they appear as meaningless symbols, and then it makes sense after initial study. The color of the black really works for me because of the low contrast and grainy quality, but this could be an effect from a vintage record, which is part of the whole appeal.

(C) Jimmy Edgar at Insomniac.

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