I’ve got a little book full of lyrics and I just fit something in. I have a lot of lyrics in reserve so I’ll use them when the right tune comes along. The lines are usually made up of all sorts of odd bits. Leaders of Men, for example – some of the lines are two or three years old.Ian Curtis / Joy Division interview, Sounds, November 1978
An Ideal for Living was self-released as a 7" EP ("This is not a concept E.P. it is an enigma") by the band on 3 June 1978. The cover artwork, drawn by Bernard Sumner (as Bernard Albrecht), is a copy of the central figure from a 1936 Hitlerjugend poster, "Hinaus mit allen Störenfrieden!".
The initial 1200 copies had sold out by September and the EP was reissued as a 12" with greatly improved sound and new artwork on 10 October.