Creativity has always been part of the Mancunian DNA. It runs through the veins of the city’s arts, music, literature… and of course the thing that speaks most to myself and all the other creatives here at 77 Manchester, graphic design.
Leading the way throughout much of my career in the creative industry has been Peter Saville. Before finding a profile as one of the leading lights in the Manchester arts scene, Saville was a student in the city, graduating from Manchester Polytechnic in 1978. It was only shortly after this that the work that gave him renown as an innovative artistic voice came to bear, working with Factory Records from 1978 to 1983. It’s probably coincidental that this was also around the time of my first visit to the Hacienda nightclub as a teenager, though maybe it had more of an influence than I know.
From Saville’s Factory work, through his career at Peter Saville Associates and Pentagram, to being voted the most admired individual working in the creative industries in a peer pool conducted by Creative Review, he has been a constant source of inspiration. Personally, professionally and culturally, his is work that feels quintessentially Mancunian and globally impactful at once. From a personal perspective, one particular favourite of mine is his work with fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto for his 1986/87 autumn winter catalogue with art director Marc Ascoli and photographer Nick Knight. This work still looks as groundbreaking now as it did then.
He has an ability to make his work continually relevant, touching 5 decades, embracing the digital age and continually collaborating with fellow creatives from all genres. He’s leant that keen eye for the experimental and innovative to such diverse projects as being appointed the Creative Director to the city of Manchester in 2004 and to designing the England football shirt in 2010.
In 2012, seventy7 gave ode to the roots of Saville’s design aesthetic in an official collaboration with client Ellesse and FAC 51. Celebrating the official 30th anniversary of the opening of FAC 51’s The Hacienda nightclub, a limited edition polo shirt plus packaging, book and POS were created in a project that was inspired by the past yet pushed forward. The anniversary was celebrated at a product launch and pop up store held at Harvey Nichols Manchester, where a number of legendary names from the Factory heyday joined the celebration.
Peter Saville’s links to Manchester remain undiminished as the 29th of June sees him return as Artistic advisor to the 6th biennial Manchester International Festival, in which the finest creative talent sets up home in Manchester over 18 extraordinary days. Our designers were inspired to create an ode to the appointment with our own nod to Saville’s classic design on New Order’s Confusion single – we hope we’ve done it justice.
As an ever-present reference point and inspiration to what we should always strive for in our creative output, Peter Saville is the benchmark for how to remain relevant and in demand.
A true creative icon.