From its beginnings in the post-punk scene in the late-1970s until it wound up at the height of rave in 1992, and ever since, the independent music label Factory Records has had a global influence on design and popular culture. Factory Records: The Complete Graphic Album documents the visual legacy of the label that defined the Manchester music scene, but until the publication was released in 2007, no complete record of this underground world existed. With the passing of Factory co-founder Tony Wilson that same year, the book assumed cult status and has become an invaluable touchstone for Factory’s fans everywhere.
FAC 461, the book, is the last item in the label’s illustrious inventory. Volume has re-issued the collector’s edition to coincide with several key Factory-related anniversaries and an exhibition due to be held at Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum. This exclusive volume features a new cover that graphically depicts all the artworks, items and ephemera produced during Factory Records’ history, colour-coded to echo the colour alphabet developed by design legend Peter Saville for New Order’s “Blue Monday” and encased in a specially designed, laser-cut slipcase that recalls its die-cut sleeve. The edition is numbered and limited to 461 copies.
The book is a comprehensive retrospective of the label that was home to Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays, and includes a foreword by Wilson, an introduction highlighting the prominent role that design played in the label’s output, previously unseen archive material and reminiscences from its central characters. It catalogues posters, stationery, venues – including the famous Hacienda nightclub – and even Christmas cards, as well as the record sleeves by Saville, 8vo and many others.
At a time when the music industry has lost much of its flair, and the visual language that gave the music an identity, this hugely desirable print artifact is a genuine celebration of one of the most creative, well-respected and ultimately chaotic record labels of all time.