Unknown Pleasures

It’s been on t-shirts, it’s been on posters… it’s even been on trainers and babygrows. It’s been paid tribute to, parodied, remixed and remodelled. The iconic cover of Joy Division’s 1979 debut album Unknown Pleasures is perhaps the most enduring image of the post-punk era. You’ve probably got a t-shirt of it. Even if you haven’t, you almost certainly own the album in some shape or form.

Unknown Pleasures album cover
Cover of Unknown Pleasures by Peter Saville

Generative Artistry features interactive tutorials and podcast dedicated to generative art. It is made by Ruth John and Tim Holman. I have been following Tim’s serious work jokey stuff for a while. His creation has a magic that always puts a smile on my face. Check out the epic Elevator.js if you haven’t :p

Hope you didn’t spend an hour there. Let’s get to the sketch today.

The Task

Tutorials on Generative Artistry have a really cool feature: as you read & scroll from the top to bottom, the editor to the left updates the source code and the artwork is constructed step-by-step. I really like how this feature decomposes a complex form into incremental transformations on simple shapes, making it easy to understand the logic for creating the form.

Generative Artistry Tutorial Interactivity

Today we are trying to replicate the cover of Unknown Pleasures, designed by Peter Saville. Generative Artistry itself allows you to tweak the code to fiddle with the form, so, here you go.

The original code is written with pure Canvas API. One suggestion I have is to reimplement it in p5.js. Reimplementation forces you to understand. Another idea is to introduce some animation & interaction into the sketch, which should be easy to do in p5.js.

The sketch is reproduced below.

When you are all done, post your work on Twitter with the hashtag #codecember and #day3. Remember to include a link to the source code, so others can learn from your creation. We look forward to seeing your sketch!

Pine & Anthony

P.S The latest episode of Generative Artistry podcast features Matt DesLauriers, whose sketch we picked in day 2.