Don’t Judge an Album by its Cover?–extra credit blog post

“A good record cover will stop you dead in your tracks, and make you curious not only about the music it accompanies, but about the artist who created it. Album art is often our first introduction to a band’s latest collection of songs, giving a visual aspect to the sonic creations inside the sleeve.”

Album cover art!  Yes, Hopefully we are buying albums for the Music and not for the cover; however, many of the albums playing in Starbucks or stuck in your parent’s basement had help from some serious album artists. I understand that although vinyl is making a comeback, actually buying a hard copy of an album is sadly a thing of the past. However, from a vinyl shopper’s perspective coming across a beautiful album cover can really grab some attention. (Especially when searching through crates and crates of similar looking records.) Although the true beauty of an album cover is more prominent when acting as a sleeve for a 12”, even digital downloads allow listeners to be taken by a great album cover.

Many artists take on the daunting task themselves! While others enlist help from friends, band mates or local illustrators, photographers and graphic designers. Unfortunately the masterminds behind these beautiful works occasional go unnoticed; however, a surprising amount of these artists are extremely well known in their field while are just used to holding a set of drumsticks.

Artist: Justin Vernon, Bon Iver, Bon Iver 2011


Artist: Samuel Beam, Iron & Wine’s Kiss Each Other Clean, 2011


Artist: William O’Brien, Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest, 2009


Artist: Toby Liebowtiz, Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues, 2011


Artist: Zack Nipper, Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, 2005

  • Have you ever been drawn to an album because of the album art?
  • Are you ever curious to whom the artist is?
  • Do you think the art could possibly be an advertising technique?

Some interesting links!

Check out the stories and artists that go along with the album art:

Bailey Van Horne


2 thoughts on “Don’t Judge an Album by its Cover?–extra credit blog post

  1. These are so cool. In my opinion album covers were the original form of “graphic art” before that term was even commonplace. The artwork them is amazing and hints at the music or message inside. Funny how CD covers don’t have the same visual impact as the old school album covers. I love when people display old album covers in frame as is if they were a cultural icon!

  2. We have been taught to not judge a book by its cover, and of course we do it anyway. Book stores (the few that remain) go to great lengths to display books with covers facing out specifically for that reason, and their research clearly shows that customers are far more attracted to books where they can see the over art than those that are lined up with spines facing out.

    So it is, I think, with album art.

    I certainly have been drawn to an album simply because of the album art – in my case, Hotel California by the Eagles. I can recall the first time I saw the album art back in 1976, thanks to my older brother, and being transfixed by it. My curiosity about it later in life led me to the story behind the album cover and the artist, John Kosh, who also produced art covers for quite a few of my favorite albums by The Beatles, ELO, and The Who, to name just a few. I was also pleasantly surprised to read that he handled John Lennon’s crusade “War is Over” campaign, of which I linked to on a different blog. Here’s a link to some more info on John Kosh. The same link will provide link to other artists:

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