What do you consider to be the best designed album covers?

What do you consider to be the best designed album covers?

Personally I think the stones ‘Let it Bleed’ and Big Youth’s ‘Screaming Target’

I think its a shame that digital music has taken away the art of the album cover. I’m trying to think of a way to bring it back and I am hoping that other designers are too. I think a good album cover gives music another edge, another dimension. I also consider music to be a stronger form of social commentary than design. I think it has more ‘influence’ (for want of a better word) over the masses. Any thoughts?



Great topic. My favorites - bookends for an era:

I had this Pearl Jam Album, no code that I always liked. And inside there were all these strange polaroid pictures for album artwork.

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Also, this metallica death magnetic album is awesome, but Im still angry at Metallica for the whole Napster thing. haha.
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I go for the Elvis variation.

And of course, you can never go wrong with Frank.

As a kid, I loved staring at these two.

Great songs, great art Peter Gabriel

I think I’ve posted this before on another topic but it’s great enough to do again. Drawn by Phil Hartman of SNL fame:

As far as the Stones go, I prefer the Sticky Fingers cover with the working zipper (Andy Warhol design):

I always really liked the Raymond Pettibone covers like Sonic Youth Goo and The Minute Men Paranoid Time:

Also a big fan of Sonic Youth Daydream Nation…so simple and beautiful:

Also, being a big fan of Socialist modernist art, I have to love Kraftwerk, the Man-Machine:

Lastly, gotta give a shout out to Who’s Next. Great composition, funny and weirdly futuristic/apocalyptic:

Wow I forgot about Kraftwerk. There was a whole mini-movement of retro constructivism back then. Another great one:

Just before that - the being of Goth Rock - Joy Division

Another Factory Records group:

Even though it was never released on vinyl, one of my of my favorite album covers is Mae - The Everglow. It was a concept album they did which included one of the best interactive online companions to the album.

I’m not sure if it’s ok to do this. But I want to plug my parent’s business. They love the old artwork that vinyl albums had. So they started making coaster sets out of old vinyl albums. It’s actually a pretty neat way to recycle unplayable vinyl.


My father had this when I was a kid and I loved it. There was an illustrated popup on the inside too. I think this might have been what first got me interested in drawing comics. And there were some naughty bits in it too (for a seven year old).

Fabric Records has a great series:

you really can’t go wrong with pretty much anything from Blue Note
here are some examples picked at random that should illustrate my point

Beastie Boys - License to ill

This illustration just wouldn’t give you the same impact from a CD sleeve…

oh, and Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds…
The artwork on this album was mesmerizing, with a little bit of terror, when I was a kid.

I can’t believe it took 13 posts to get to Blue Note. The best album covers!

I have so many favorite album covers for so many reasons, here is a quick cross section: Some I really love the design, others, the album has holds such an emotional impact that it is hard for me to decide if I really love the album cover, the music, the point in time it represents for me, or all three!

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Hey Yo, I am really happy for your picks and Ima let you finnish but Beyonce had one of the best album covers of all time.

David Crowder*Band’s Sunset and Sushi

L.A. Symphony’s Baloney EP. It’s put together just like a sandwich with the liner notes being lettuce and tomatoes and the CD itself being a piece of Baloney. It also originally came in a sandwich bag.

Yeah, it did take long enough for Blue Note!

Guidance Recordings has always had nicely designed covers: