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Semi-Permanent Profile: Storm Thorgerson

Semi-Permanent Profile: Storm Thorgerson

With only one month to go now until Semi-Permanent 2010 kicks off, this week we profile UK graphic designer and filmmaker Storm Thorgerson.  Among his many achievements, Thorgerson is known for designing some of the most famous album covers for the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Thorgerson will be presenting at Semi-Permanent on Saturday August 21.

Category: Graphic Designer, Filmmaker
Location: London

Storm Thorgerson formed Hipgnosis in 1968 with Aubrey Powell (Po), a graphic 

design studio specialising in creative photography and working mainly in the music business designing album covers for many rock 'n' roll bands including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, 10cc, Yes, Peter Gabriel, Black Sabbath, Paul McCartney, Syd Barrett and Styx, amongst others. He started a series of books on album cover art with Roger Dean called Album Cover Album, and with Hipgnosis wrote and designed Walk Away Rene 1978 and The Goodbye Look 1982 about their own stuff.

In 1983 Thorgerson, along with Po and Peter Christopherson, formed Green Back Films and embarked on producing numerous rock videos including material for Paul Young, Yes, Nik Kershaw, Robert Plant, Interferon, Nona Hendryx, Big Country and many others and also long forms for Barry Gibb (Voyager), Yumi Matsutoya (Train of Thought), and Channel Q a heavy metal compilation for Polygram Records.

Thorgerson went solo and continued making videos (Learning To Fly for Pink Floyd won best director at Billboard), and tried his hand at commercials (Tennants One Great Thing won Golden Rose in Scotland). He continued designing album covers for Pink Floyd, Catherine Wheel, Alan Parsons, Anthrax, amongst others, and branched out into documentaries, making Art Of Tripping for Ch 4 in 1993, a two-part exploration of the connections between drugs and artists.

In 1994 he directed six short films for Pink Floyd, which were screened at concerts during their world tour, and also an hour-long science documentary on the Hubble Constant for Equinox called The RubberUniverse. In 1997 he compiled a book of his images for Pink Floyd called Mind Over Matter published by Sanctuary Books and in 97/98 wrote and directed an hour long documentary for the Discovery channel about the (non) existence of Aliens subtitled Are We Alone?

Thorgerson continues to design album covers (Phish, Ian Dury, Cranberries, Pink Floyd, Catherine Wheel, Alan Parsons, Ween), to execute assorted graphics for DVDs, websites, programmes, T-shirts and so on, and to direct the occasional film.

He has written and designed several books including 100 Best Album Covers (Dorling Kindersley) and Eye OfThe Storm (Sanctuary Books).

Semi-Permanent, held in Auckland on August 21 & 22, is a celebration of all things design - graphics, fashion, animation, illustration, motion graphics, typography, sound design, live audio-visual art, interactive and experiential marketing, fine art, music, product design and more.

More on Semi Permanent here.