Storm Thorgerson

Storm Thorgerson (1944 - 2013)

Photograph by Jheald [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons


A British graduate of the Royal College of Art where he was awarded a MA in Television and Film Production in 1969. When he started studying at the Royal College of Art in London, Thorgerson shared a flat in South Kensington with his friend Aubrey Powell, with whom he co-founded the Hipgnosis studio during 1968. At one point, they also shared the flat with Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd), whom Powell attributes the creation of the company’s name. Syd had scrawled in ball-point pen the word HIPGNOSIS on the door. Linking ‘hip’ (pertaining to a cool subculture) with ‘gnostic’ (esoteric knowledge of spiritual matters ) and the noun ‘hypnosis’ (an artificially induced trance state resembling sleep characterised by heightened susceptibility to suggestion).

Over the next fifteen years Hipgnosis gained international prominence for their surreal photo-designed album art. Key work includes the 1973 cover design for Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon; work for Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Genesis, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, The Alan Parsons Project, 10cc, Styx, Bad Company and Yes.

Following the demise of Hipgnosis, Thorgerson formed his own design studio called Storm Studios. He went into video directing and made TV documentaries, including "The Art of Tripping" (1993), which investigated the effect of drugs on creativity, and a science documentary called "Rubber Universe" (1994). He designed album artwork for more recent artists such as the Cranberries, Anthrax, Audioslave and Biffy Clyro.

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