Creative Break: Design Trends in Album Artwork

September 25, 2019
By iQ Staff
Vinyl record leaning on a row of colorful album covers.

Brands are everywhere in our lives, from the labels on our clothes to the foods we buy at the grocery store. Even our favorite musicians create their own brands to distinguish themselves and their music from others in their field.

Album covers are a direct reflection of artists’ brands and how they express themselves visually. Just as design trends affect how organizations represent their brand, they can influence album artwork, too. Here are a few of our favorite album artwork design trends at the moment, chosen by our creative team.

Jordan's Picks

Mid-century modern graphic design is having a moment! This post-war design movement originated in the late 1930s as a direct response to the ornate and frivolous artwork of the art deco period. Characterized by clean lines, graphic shapes, and bold colors, it reflected a desire to communicate more directly.

Harlem River Album Cover

Artist: Kevin Morby

Album: Harlem River"

(2017)

6am album cover.

Artist: Max Pope

Album: “6am”

(2019)

Fantasy by Strfkr album cover.

Artist: STRFKR

Album: “Fantasy”

(2019)

Scott's Picks

Artfully made modern collages in black and white were inspired by the Cubism movement. With fractured forms and deconstructed subject matter, these album artworks resonated with their artists' desire to piece together dissimilar components and create something personal and unique.

 

Artist: 7 by Beach House album cover.

Album: “7”

(2018)

The Center Won't Hold by Sleater-Kinney album cover.

Artist: Sleater-Kinney

Album: “The Center Won't Hold”

(2019)

Age of Immunology by Vanishing Twin album cover.

Artist: Vanishing Twin

Album: “Age of Immunology”

(2019)

Lissa's Picks

Film photography is making a comeback! The characteristic grain, light leaks, and muted color palettes reflect many artists' desires to take a break from the digital hum of everyday life and return to a more serendipitous way of creating art.

Love What Survives by Mount Kimbie album cover.

Artist: Mount Kimbie

Album: “Love What Survives”

(2017)

When I Get Home by Solange album cover.

Artist: Solange

Album: “When I Get Home”

(2019)

The Ooz by King Krule album cover.

Artist: King Krule

Album: “ The Ooz”

(2017)

Mike's Picks

The 80s are reemerging! Inspired by films like Tron, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Max Headroom, this genre can be characterized by retro futuristic landscapes rooted in outer space and digital technology. Scenes often depict an alternate reality, geometric shapes and vivid colors that represent a desire to connect to the future as well as the past.

Good Time by Das Kope album cover.

Artist: Das Kope

Album: “Good Time”

(2018)

Currents by Tame Impala album cover.

Artist: Tame Impala

Album: “Currents”

(2015)

Occult Architecture by Moon Duo album cover.

Artist: Moon Duo

Album: “Occult Architecture”

(2017)