Pink Floyd’s Most Iconic Album Cover Was Rick Wright’s Idea, Mark Blake Explains

Pink Floyd fans received a fascinating insight into the creative process behind the band’s most iconic album cover, as writer Mark Blake explained in a recent radio interview on Sounds of the 70s with Johnnie Walker that the cover art was the brainchild of Rick Wright.

Delving into the history of the legendary design company Hipgnosis, which had a significant relationship with Pink Floyd, Blake shed light on the creation of the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album cover, a tale featured in his new book ‘Us and Them: The Authorised Story of Hipgnosis.’

The ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album, released in 1973, is still lauded as one of the greatest and most influential rock albums of all time. The cover art, a simple yet striking image of a prism refracting a rainbow of light, has become synonymous with the band’s legacy. Interestingly, Blake’s account of the cover’s conception reveals that it was, in fact, keyboardist Rick Wright who insisted on a simple graphic design rather than a more elaborate concept.

Mark Blake’s words about the iconic album cover that was Rick Wright’s idea read:

“Well, what happened is they [Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson] originally took a load of ideas in to talk to Pink Floyd about this, and none of the band were very enthused by the ideas; it was the keyboard player Rick Wright turned around and said, ‘Look, can we just have something simple and graphic, not one of your big ideas not one of your expensive surreal narrative ideas?’ and Storm Thorgerson [graphic designer] got very upset about this, particularly when Rick Wright said, ‘How about something like a box of black magic chocolates?’ that was the exact phrase that was used at the time.”

He added:

“They went away feeling very down-hearted, but then they came up with that image of the prism with the rainbow going through it, which they copied from a physics textbook. It’s a book called ‘The How and Why Wonder Book of Light and Color,’ an American school textbook they happened to have a copy of. They kept lots of comics, magazines, and strange books lying around the place for inspiration, and that was literally it. They got their illustrator George Hardy to make it look beautiful and do a new drawing of it. They took it back to EMI, where the band was finishing the album at Abbey Road, and every member of Pink Floyd walked into the studio, ignored all the other designs; pointed at that one, I went, ‘That’s it, that’s the one to have.'”

Illustrator George Hardy was tasked with refining the design, and when presented to Pink Floyd, every band member immediately gravitated towards it, cementing its place in music history. As we reflect on the creation of this iconic album cover, it’s clear that Wright’s vision, combined with the talents of Powell, Thorgerson, and Hardy, resulted in a timeless piece of art that continues to captivate and inspire generations of music lovers.