Kraftwerk – Autobahn (UK version)

Author: Colin | Published: 10/2/13

This post is republished with love in memory of my father, John Buttimer. 1 February 1923 – 8 February 2013






Artist Kraftwerk
Title Autobahn
Label Vertigo
Year 1974
Designer Unknown, possibly Barney Bubbles
Music Electronic
Notes This is an absolutely iconic design and it’s an oddity because this design was only distributed in the UK. We’ll post about the design for the rest of the world in a few days.

I first saw this version at the tender age of 8, in 1974, when my dad brought it home. A lifelong classical music stalwart, Autobahn was his one concession to popular music and it had a profound effect on me. I listened to the 22 minute title track over and over again on his headphones, loving the synthesized sound of the cars whooshing from one ear to the other, right through the middle of my head. The bridge that crosses the two white lines always seemed to symbolise my headphones listening in to the roar of traffic martialled into a modern-day symphony. The two pieces of brown sticky tape affixed to the lower corners makes my copy unique. I recently asked why they were there and was reminded that my Dad had to repair the sleeve after numerous borrowings in my teenage years. It’s the nearest thing to a family heirloom I’ve got.

Autobahn is fascinating because of its translation of the concept of travel into musical form. This transmission from one medium to another wasn’t a new one, but the extent to which it reduced the distance between musical composition and referent was and remains striking. Its central motif isn’t a melody, but the sound of cars approaching and moving away from the listener. The design perfectly encapsulates this by appropriating the motorway symbol and placing it so that it fills the cover from top to bottom. There is no end to the journey in graphic terms, it’s implied that the road continues outside the frame of the cover. Similarly the music ends with one more passing car rather than the sound, say, of an engine being turned off (Autobahn’s railway counterpart, Trans-Europe Express, ends with the sound of train brakes squealing).

Typographically, the design is fascinating as well. The letters R, W, R, A, U, A and H in the title are escaping from their settings, literally tracing new roads, setting off for destinations unknown. At the same time they’re dancing – the W, U and H waving and punching the air and the Rs and As stretching their toes out. The letter forms presage the tremendous influence the group would have on dance music and on the musical world as a whole. Similarly, the icon-focused design was the approach the group would take in its latterday releases, except that from Man Machine onwards they made the four members of the group integral to each design. The graphic below is from the group’s yet to be released career retrospective:


Autobahn is an utterly brilliant synergy between music, concept and visual design. One last thing: there’s no designer credit on the Autobahn sleeve which seems fittingly utilitarian.

See also:
Kraftwerk – ephemera
Kraftwerk – Expo 2000
Discussion: Who designed this version of Autobahn? on { feuilleton }
Autobahn (non-uk version)
Minimum Maximum CD/DVD box
Neon Lights 12″
Pocket Calculator 7″


  1. I was able to find good information from your articles.

    Comment by coconut oil where — November 25, 2019 @ 6:33 am
  2. I抦 impressed, I have to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a blog that抯 each educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your thought is outstanding; the issue is something that not sufficient individuals are talking intelligently about. I am very completely satisfied that I stumbled across this in my seek for one thing referring to this.

    Comment by huarache shoes — November 26, 2019 @ 2:23 pm
  3. Hey there excellent blog! Does running a blog such as this require a great deal of work?

    I have very little understanding of coding however I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future.
    Anyway, should you have any recommendations or techniques
    for new blog owners please share. I know this is off subject
    however I just had to ask. Appreciate it!

    Comment by plenty of fish dating site — November 26, 2019 @ 4:20 pm
  4. That is a very good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very precise information… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

    Comment by ps4 games — November 28, 2019 @ 11:49 am
  5. I found your blog site on google and examine a couple of of your early posts. Proceed to keep up the excellent operate. I simply extra up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. In search of forward to studying extra from you later on!?

    Comment by longchamp handbags — November 29, 2019 @ 6:08 am
  6. Good post. I certainly appreciate this site. Thanks!

    Comment by ps4 games — November 30, 2019 @ 9:58 am
  7. Superb, what a blog it is! This webpage presents useful facts to us, keep it up.

    Comment by quest bars cheap — December 2, 2019 @ 9:12 am
  8. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the
    message home a little bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog.
    A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

    Comment by quest bars cheap coupon twitter — December 3, 2019 @ 12:18 am
  9. You made some decent factors there. I appeared on the web for the issue and located most individuals will go along with with your website.

    Comment by nike shox for men — December 4, 2019 @ 8:31 pm
  10. gzzwbwvlrx,Very informative useful, infect very precise and to the point. I’m a student a Business Education and surfing things on Google and found your website and found it very informative.I LOve your Blog!

    Comment by Nike Outlet Store — December 4, 2019 @ 10:14 pm
  11. daxdiblbbt,Thanks a lot for providing us with this recipe of Cranberry Brisket. I’ve been wanting to make this for a long time but I couldn’t find the right recipe. Thanks to your help here.

    Comment by Yeezy 700 — December 5, 2019 @ 12:53 am
  12. zzyuvhf,Are you searching for top class Escort service in Noida and want to enjoy with them, hire sexy girls from top Greater Noida escort service and enjoy full nightI LOve your Blog!.

    Comment by Nike Outlet — December 5, 2019 @ 6:07 am
  13. omlyesji, you can easily configure your email account with MS Outlook.I LOve your Blog!

    Comment by Nike Outlet Store — December 5, 2019 @ 5:28 pm
  14. svkvbccyv,If you have any struggle to download KineMaster for PC just visit this site.

    Comment by Nike Outlet Online — December 5, 2019 @ 8:51 pm
  15. pvwcce,We have a team of experts who could get you the correct settings for Bellsouth net email login through which,I LOve your Blog!

    Comment by Yeezy Boost 350 — December 5, 2019 @ 11:27 pm
  16. uskbode,If you want a hassle free movies downloading then you must need an app like showbox which may provide best ever user friendly interface.I LOve your Blog!

    Comment by Adidas Yeezy — December 6, 2019 @ 4:15 am
  17. This information is invaluable. When can I find out

    Comment by quest bars cheap — December 8, 2019 @ 1:48 am
  18. Wow, this piece of writing is nice, my younger sister is analyzing
    these things, so I am going to tell her.

    Comment by quest bars cheap — December 9, 2019 @ 6:49 pm
  19. Hello there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would
    be okay. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    Comment by ps4 games — December 11, 2019 @ 3:25 am
  20. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to
    my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.

    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but
    I had to tell someone!

    Comment by ps4 games — December 11, 2019 @ 5:50 am
  21. great points altogether, you just won a new reader.

    What could you recommend about your post that you simply made
    a few days ago? Any sure?

    Comment by coconut oil — December 15, 2019 @ 2:18 pm
  22. Hi there friends, how is all, and what you wish
    for to say concerning this post, in my view its genuinely remarkable designed
    for me.

    Comment by coconut oil — December 17, 2019 @ 9:11 pm
  23. I simply wished to thank you very much all over again. I’m not certain the things that I would have followed in the absence of the ideas documented by you concerning that topic. Previously it was an absolute scary difficulty in my opinion, nevertheless looking at the very well-written way you dealt with that forced me to weep over delight. Now i am happy for your guidance and even trust you are aware of a powerful job that you are providing educating many people thru your blog. I know that you’ve never encountered any of us.

    Comment by christian louboutin — December 18, 2019 @ 4:44 am
  24. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

    Comment by coconut oil — December 19, 2019 @ 8:22 am
  25. I enjoy you because of your own hard work on this site. My daughter delights in conducting investigations and it is obvious why. A number of us notice all relating to the dynamic medium you create powerful tips and tricks on this web site and as well welcome contribution from visitors on the subject matter and my daughter is now becoming educated a lot of things. Take advantage of the rest of the new year. You are carrying out a really great job.

    Comment by nike air max 97 — December 23, 2019 @ 2:54 am
  26. Thank you so much for providing individuals with an extremely splendid possiblity to read articles and blog posts from this website. It is often so cool and as well , full of a great time for me and my office acquaintances to search your blog a minimum of 3 times in one week to learn the latest things you have got. And indeed, I’m so always fascinated for the mind-boggling points served by you. Selected 4 facts in this posting are indeed the very best I have ever had.

    Comment by jordan shoes — December 31, 2019 @ 5:12 am
  27. I’m just writing to make you understand what a awesome experience my friend’s girl developed checking your webblog. She learned lots of details, with the inclusion of what it is like to possess a great teaching mindset to get the rest clearly completely grasp a variety of grueling issues. You truly did more than visitors’ expectations. Thanks for rendering these great, safe, educational and even unique guidance on the topic to Kate.

    Comment by yeezy boost — January 3, 2020 @ 6:36 pm
  28. Incredible points. Great arguments. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by asksylphoflight.tumblr.com sling tv — January 5, 2020 @ 5:17 am
  29. Thank you for all your valuable efforts on this web page. Kim delights in carrying out investigation and it is obvious why. We learn all regarding the dynamic method you offer insightful ideas through the website and attract response from other individuals on this concept so our girl is truly learning a whole lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You are always doing a really great job.

    Comment by vapormax — January 7, 2020 @ 7:29 am
  30. I am actually thankful to the holder of this website who has shared this fantastic article at here.

    Comment by sling tv — January 7, 2020 @ 6:43 pm
  31. I intended to draft you one tiny note in order to give thanks the moment again for those exceptional principles you have documented on this website. This is really wonderfully generous with you to offer unreservedly all a few people could possibly have offered for sale as an electronic book to get some bucks for their own end, especially given that you could have done it if you desired. Those guidelines likewise acted to provide a easy way to be certain that the rest have the same dreams the same as my very own to know whole lot more with reference to this issue. I’m certain there are a lot more pleasurable occasions in the future for individuals who looked over your blog post.

    Comment by nike air max — January 10, 2020 @ 5:49 pm
  32. You actually make it seem so easy with your
    presentation but I in finding this matter to be
    really something which I feel I’d by no means understand.
    It kind of feels too complex and extremely vast for me.
    I’m looking forward on your next submit, I
    will try to get the grasp of it!

    Comment by sling tv — January 14, 2020 @ 4:21 am
  33. Thanks a lot for providing individuals with an exceptionally spectacular chance to discover important secrets from this website. It’s usually so kind plus full of amusement for me and my office friends to visit the blog not less than three times per week to read the fresh guidance you will have. And definitely, we are usually happy for the special principles you serve. Some 2 areas in this post are undoubtedly the most suitable we’ve had.

    Comment by kd 10 — January 14, 2020 @ 4:25 am
  34. We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.

    Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done a formidable process and our whole group might be thankful to you.

    Comment by sling tv — January 15, 2020 @ 1:17 pm
  35. I have to get across my respect for your generosity for persons that need help on that situation. Your real commitment to passing the solution throughout appeared to be pretty beneficial and has surely allowed many people like me to achieve their objectives. Your interesting suggestions means a whole lot to me and still more to my peers. Many thanks; from all of us.

    Comment by coach outlet store — January 17, 2020 @ 11:57 am
  36. I wish to show appreciation to you just for bailing me out of such a crisis. Just after browsing throughout the world wide web and seeing notions which are not pleasant, I figured my life was done. Existing without the presence of strategies to the difficulties you’ve resolved all through your main posting is a serious case, as well as ones that could have in a wrong way damaged my career if I had not encountered your site. The skills and kindness in playing with a lot of stuff was helpful. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come upon such a subject like this. I can also at this time look forward to my future. Thanks a lot very much for the skilled and sensible guide. I won’t think twice to endorse the website to any person who will need assistance about this subject.

    Comment by adidas nmd — January 23, 2020 @ 6:32 am
  37. Awesome! Its actually awesome paragraph, I have got much clear
    idea about from this article.

    Comment by sling tv — January 29, 2020 @ 3:46 am
  38. I’m commenting to let you understand what a awesome encounter my wife’s girl undergone reading your web site. She picked up such a lot of pieces, most notably what it’s like to possess an awesome giving spirit to have many people easily fully understand specific tricky things. You really did more than my desires. Thanks for imparting these valuable, healthy, informative and in addition fun tips about your topic to Ethel.

    Comment by nike air vapormax — February 1, 2020 @ 2:41 am
  39. Thanks a lot for giving everyone a very wonderful possiblity to check tips from this blog. It really is very brilliant plus stuffed with a lot of fun for me personally and my office friends to search your website the equivalent of three times every week to study the newest guides you have. And indeed, I’m so actually contented with your terrific guidelines served by you. Selected two tips in this post are in fact the most beneficial I have ever had.

    Comment by nike kd 12 — February 17, 2020 @ 4:44 pm


To submit your comment and help me with comment spam,
please do this sum and then click Submit Comment above, thanks:

What is 12 + 3 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is: