Storm Thorgerson

Storm Elvin Thorgerson (28 February 1944 – 18 April 2013)[1] was an English graphic designer and music video director. He is best known for closely working with the group Pink Floyd through most of their career, and also created album or other art for Led Zeppelin, Phish,[2] Black Sabbath, Scorpions, UFO, Peter Gabriel, the Alan Parsons Project, Genesis, Yes, Kansas, Dream Theater, Muse, Audioslave, the Mars Volta, The Cranberries, Helloween, Ween, Shpongle and Catherine Wheel.

Storm Thorgerson
Storm Thorgerson, gallery-at-oxo, July 2010.JPG
Thorgerson in 2010
Storm Elvin Thorgerson

(1944-02-28)28 February 1944
Died18 April 2013(2013-04-18) (aged 69)
London, England
Known forGraphic designer, music video director

Early lifeEdit

Thorgerson, who was of Norwegian descent, was born in Potters Bar, Middlesex (now part of Hertfordshire). He attended Summerhill School, Brunswick Primary School in Cambridge, and the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys with Pink Floyd founders Syd Barrett, who was in the year below him, and Roger Waters, who was in the year above him. Thorgerson and Waters played rugby together at school, while Thorgerson's mother Vanji and Waters' mother Mary were close friends.[3][4] He studied English and Philosophy at the University of Leicester, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours, before studying Film and Television at the Royal College of Art, where he graduated with a Master of Arts degree.[5][6]

He was a teenage friend of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and best man at Gilmour's wedding to Polly Samson in 1994.[7]


In 1968, along with Aubrey Powell, he founded the graphic art group Hipgnosis, and between them they designed many famous single and album covers, with Peter Christopherson joining them for their later commissions.[8] In 1983, following the dissolution of Hipgnosis, Thorgerson and Powell formed Greenback Films, producing music videos.

In the early nineties, Thorgerson inaugurated StormStudios along with Peter Curzon—a loose group of freelancers. The line up included Rupert Truman (photographer), Finlay Cowan (designer and illustrator), Daniel Abbott (designer and artist), Lee Baker (creative retoucher and designer), and Jerry Sweet (designer) along with Thorgerson's personal assistants, Laura Truman (prints), and Charlotte Barnes.

Perhaps Thorgerson's most famous designs are those for Pink Floyd.[9] His design for The Dark Side of the Moon has been called one of the greatest album covers of all time. Designed by Thorgerson and Hipgnosis, the artwork for the cover itself was drawn by George Hardie,[10] a designer at NTA Studios. Many of Thorgerson's designs are notable for their surreal elements. He often places objects out of their traditional contexts, especially with vast spaces around them, to give them an awkward appearance while highlighting their beauty. To quote Thorgerson, "I like photography because it is a reality medium, unlike drawing which is unreal. I like to mess with reality ... to bend reality. Some of my works beg the question [sic] of is it real or not?"[11]

Thorgerson's grave

Over the years, Thorgerson and his team designed and released several books about their work. The first, published in 1989, was titled Classic Album Covers of 60s.[12] The Gathering Storm – A Quartet in Several Parts was the final book Thorgerson worked on with his team and it was completed just before his death in April 2013. The book was released in September 2013 and includes album covers artwork, photographs, and anecdotes, spanning five decades from his early work with Hipgnosis through to StormStudios.

In 2013, Prog Magazine renamed its Grand Design Award after Thorgerson. It is now known as the Storm Thorgerson Grand Design Award and will be given to the designer of the year's best-packaged product. Thorgerson had won the 2012 award for his continued work with Pink Floyd.[13][14]

In 2015 a film documentary, Taken By Storm, was released on DVD and web streaming.[15]

Health problems and deathEdit

In 2003, Thorgerson suffered a stroke, from which he was partially paralysed. He was later diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer which eventually led to his death in London on 18 April 2013, at the age of 69.[16] After Thorgerson's death, David Gilmour released a statement describing him as "a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on, and a great friend". A post on the official Pink Floyd website called him a "graphic genius".[17] Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason said that he was a "tireless worker right up to the end".[18] He is buried on the eastern side of Highgate Cemetery.


Album cover designs (1968–2014)Edit

Music videosEdit


  • Thorgerson, S. and Dean, R. (eds), Album Cover Album. A&W Visual Library, New York & Dragon's World, Limpsfield, 1977. ISBN 0891040854, 0905895002, 0905895452, 0905895010. Republished by Harper Design / Collins Design and Ilex Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-0061626951, 978-1905814404.
  • Dean, R. and Howells, D. (compilers) and Thorgerson, S. (ed.), Album Cover Album, Volume 2. A&W Visual Library, New York & Dragon's World, Limpsfield, 1982. ISBN 0891043128, 0905895711.
  • Dean, R. and Thorgerson, S. (compilers), Album Cover Album, Volume 5. Dragon's World / Paper Tiger, Limpsfield, 1989. ISBN 1850280770, 0823075168.
  • Oliver, V., Thorgerson, S. and Dean, R. (compilers), Album Cover Album, Volume 6. Paper Tiger, Limpsfield, 1992. ISBN 1850282137.
  • Thorgerson, S. and Christopherson, P. (eds), "Hands Across The Water" - Wings Tour USA. Photographs by Hipgnosis. Dragon's World, Limpsfield and Reed Books, Los Angeles, 1978. ISBN 090589510X, 0891695001.
  • Thorgerson, S., compiled by Hipgnosis and George Hardie. The Work of Hipgnosis - "Walk Away René". Paper Tiger / Dragon's World, Limpsfield, 1978. ISBN 0891041052, 0891041044, 0905895088.
  • Thorgerson, S. et al., The Photo Designs of Hipgnosis: The Goodbye Look. Vermilion, London, 1982. ISBN 0091506417.
  • Thorgerson, S., Classic Album Covers of the 60s. Paper Tiger, London, 1989. ISBN 185028086X, 0831714786, 1843402505, 0681045507, 1843405490.
  • Thorgerson, S. and Powell, A., 100 Best Album Covers - The Stories Behind The Sleeves. Dorling Kindersley, London, 1999. ISBN 0751307831, 0751307068, 078944951X, 1552093913.
  • Mind Over Matter: The Images of Pink FLoyd:
    • Thorgerson, S. and Curzon, P., 1st ed., Sanctuary Publishing, London, 1997. ISBN 1860742068, 1860742246.
    • Thorgerson, S. and Curzon, P., 2nd ed., Sanctuary Publishing, London, 2000. ISBN 1860742688.
    • Thorgerson, S. and Curzon, P., 3rd ed., Sanctuary Publishing, London, 2003. ISBN 1860748333.
    • Thorgerson, S. and Curzon, P., 4th ed., Omnibus Press, London, 2007. ISBN 978-1846097638.
    • Thorgerson, S., 5th ed., Omnibus Press, London, 2015. ISBN 978-1783056217.
  • Thorgerson, S., Curzon, P. and Crossland, J., Eye Of The Storm: The Album Graphics of Storm Thorgerson. Sanctuary, London, 1999. ISBN 1860742580, 1860742599.
  • Thorgerson, S. and Curzon, P., Taken By Storm: The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson: A Retrospective. Omnibus Press, London, 2007. ISBN 978-1846096679.
  • Thorgerson, S. and Powell, A., For The Love of Vinyl: The Album Art of Hipgnosis. PictureBox, New York, 2008. ISBN 978-0981562216.
  • Curzon, P. and Thorgerson, S., The Raging Storm - The Album Graphics of StormStudios. De Milo and StormStudios, 2011. ISBN 978-0957005402, 978-0957005419.
  • Truman, R. and Thorgerson, S., Riding Along in my Automobile: The American Cars of Cuba. De Milo and StormStudios, London, 2012. ISBN 978-0957005426.
  • Thorgerson, S., The Gathering Storm - A Quartet in Several Parts: The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson. De Milo and StormStudios, London, 2013. ISBN 978-0957005433, 978-1608876785.
  • Powell, A., Hipgnosis Portraits. Thames & Hudson, 2014. ISBN 978-0500517635.
  • Powell, A. (foreword by P. Gabriel), Vinyl. Album. Cover. Art - The Complete Hipgnosis Catalogue. Thames & Hudson, 2017. ISBN 978-0500519325.


  1. ^ Sweeting, Adam (18 April 2013). "Storm Thorgerson dies aged 69: 'the best album designer in the world'". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  2. ^ (18 April 2013). "Cover ups: Storm Thorgerson's iconic album artwork – in pictures". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  3. ^ Graff, G (February 1998). "The Eye of the Storm". Guitar World. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  4. ^ Turner, Tonya (18 April 2013). "Storm Thorgerson's album covers are works of art". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  5. ^ Hough, Andrew (18 April 2013). "Storm Thorgerson: Pink Floyd album cover designer dies". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  6. ^ Farrell, Charlie. "Storm Thorgerson – Taken by Storm". Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  7. ^ Samson, Polly (18 April 2013). "Best man at our wedding". Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h The photodesigns of Hipgnosis The Goodbye look. Vermillion Hutchinson Publishing Group. 1982 ISBN 0-09-150641-7
  9. ^ a b c "Article on Storm Thorgerson" Archived 29 June 2009 at the Portuguese Web Archive, Q magazine, 1992
  10. ^ The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd's Iconic Album, BBC
  11. ^ Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson, Music Box, October 2004, Volume 11, No. 10
  12. ^ "Storm Thorgerson". Famous Graphic Designers. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Design award renamed after Storm Thorgerson". 10 August 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Storm Thorgerson Has Grand Design Award Named in His Honour". Archived from the original on 11 August 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  15. ^ Bogawa, Roddy (2015). "Taken By Storm - The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis". Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  16. ^ "Storm Thorgerson: Graphic designer whose art was central to the work". 19 April 2013. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Storm Thorgerson". Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  18. ^ "Tributes paid to Pink Floyd album artist Storm Thorgerson". BBC News. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  19. ^ "Singles Page 8". Storm Thorgerson. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  20. ^ Mabbett, Andy (2010). Pink Floyd – The Music and the Mystery. London: Omnibus. ISBN 978-1-84938-370-7.
  21. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil (July 1995). "The 30 Year Technicolor Dream". Mojo Magazine. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
  22. ^ Archived 21 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Now Voyager (film). 1985.
  24. ^ Jourgensen, Al; Wiederhorn, Jon (2013). Ministry: The Lost Gospels. Da Capo Press. p. 65. ISBN 9780306822186.

External linksEdit