They say don’t judge books by their covers, not albums. For decades, album artwork has been considered an integral part of a musician’s work. It sets the tone for not just the album, but also the artist’s entire brand. Album covers have thrived as collectors’ items, posters in college dorm rooms, and well-worn t-shirts—well past when they were initially created to cover 78-rpm records.
Though most of us no longer buy records—or even CDs—the album cover lives on in the digital world. It accompanies artists’ compilations all over the internet, including SoundCloud, Bandcamp, and Spotify. In 2017, we saw the simple yet bold album cover for Jay-Z’s 4:44 (an understated beige background with the title written in large, heavy font) and the arresting portrait of Lorde for her collection, Melodrama. Album artwork alone could arguably be enough to keep albums fresh and trendy, long past their debut. Many classic album covers have managed to stand the test of time. Tourists continue to recreate The Beatles’ Abbey Road cover when they visit London, and you’re just as likely to see a teenager wearing a Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt today as you were in 1973.
As with all art, appreciation is subjective. So we took to social media to find out which album covers our audiences considered to be the best to ever hit the record-store shelves.
Explore this list of Top Album Covers, then head over to our new class taught by acclaimed designer, Erik Marinovich, and recreate your favorite album cover in your own style. Trust us, you won’t be able to see this list without getting inspired.
Erik Marinovich’s reimagined album covers!
Now that you’ve explored the Skillshare community’s favorite album covers, it’s time to think about creating your own. Get started with some ideas from designer Erik Marinovich:
Pop in your favorite album and learn how to design your own cover in Erik Marinovich’s new class, “Expressive Lettering: Experimenting with Image and Type”.