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The cover and inside sleeve, created by Hipgnosis with George Hardie, features images of people interacting with a black obelisk-shaped object. Inside the sleeve, the item is referred to simply as "The Object". It was intended to represent Zeppelin's "force and presence".[4][21] Hipgnosis co-founder Storm Thorgerson wrote that the obelisk represented the power of Led Zeppelin, saying they were "so powerful, they didn't need to be there".[22][23] Both Page and Plant have said that the presence of the object in the photographs made people stop and think about what is real, which reflected the music.[23]

The background in the cover photograph is an artificial marina, installed in London's Earl's Court arena for the annual Boat Show, in the winter of 1974–75. The band played a series of concerts at this venue in May 1975, a few months after the boat show. The inner sleeve photographs came from various archive stock pictures, and was designed to resemble a feature in National Geographic.[24] The girl on the back cover photo is the same one that appeared on Houses of the Holy.[21] Hipgnosis and Hardie were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Album Package in 1977.[25]


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