By Andy Whorehall

Being a professional designer by day, this is possibly the only category I’m semi-qualified to comment on- or at all.  Now consider every article I’ve written and every minute you’ve wasted reading a designer’s mind.  I present 2010, THE YEAR OF FOIL.

GAYNGS – Relayted
Logo By Eric Carlson / Design By Daniel Murphy / Painting by Michael Gaughan
Gold foil on white. Solid f*cking gold. A child could have done this with a marker, ruler and compass; thus sticking it to the professional design process.  Only a grown adult, sinister and sick on sex and music, would allow this to be a record cover.  It is evil, it is simple, it is stupid.  It represents the darkest corners of your mind and bedroom- like the music itself.

It’s either the worst cover or the best cover ever based on feedback I’ve gone looking for.  It breaks all design rules, sits dead center and appears to be many symbols all at once.  It takes a dump on the design process 100% forcing the viewer to make up whatever it is they process this symbol as:

> a handicapped version of a peace sign

> a man with a mustache

> a delicious vagina

> a flower before bloom

> a sinister, smiling, crimped up cartoon

> a Trivial Pursuit pie piece gone mad

> a poorly sliced pizza by a pot smoker

> a diseased apple pie partially devoured by a hillbilly’s child

> Mister Meerasaké’s head without a black top hat on

> & finally, the worst of my sinister thoughts: an a$$hole bent over ready for a metaphoric creative raping- every professional designer knows what I’m talking about.

On any given day, the logo for GAYNGS by Eric Carlson becomes something new to me- like the music on the record itself.

The inside artwork is atrocious, a sh*tty photo of a broken jacuzzi spray painted in pink with GAYNGS.  I laughed the first time I opened it up. I hate pink spray paint, but holy shit do I love pink spray paint on a broken jacuzzi bed!  Even better is the packaging punchline, a fold out poster insert of GAYNGS, illustrated, each member in a wooden jacuzzi, the last laugh.  Lyrics are included but who cares!

The artwork is as strange and wonderful as the music made by this modern aged midwestern collective of indie superstar infants. It makes no apologies- it’s creatively offensive and represents the music contained within perfectly.  Sinister, sexy, soulful, weird, beautiful, no apologies and from a professional designer- this is SOLID F*CKING GOLD DESIGN.  Buy the vinyl version, do it.  To the eye of the beholder, it’s beautiful.

width=250Grinderman – Grinderman 2
Cover Photo by Polly Borland / Illustrations by Iinca Hopfner
Blue foil logo on a four color photo of a wolf hanging out in a modern, upscale, living room… a white living room, like your worst nightmares.  The artwork that comes with the deluxe version of the release contains sketches, creepy and raw as the music itself made by middle aged, cranky raucous bad ass troubadours, hell bent on burning down your garage, drinking all of your wine, and feeding you to the wolves.  The fold out poster that comes with the deluxe edition features the band member in spartan uniforms, hanging out at a high school theater stage, lights on, waiting for something, nothing.  It’s creepy, lovely, it’s Grinderman. Nasty, the artwork for Grinderman 2 is flat out nasty, raw, real, domestic and shocking.

width=200Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Paintings by George Condo / Art Direction by Kanye West & Virgil Abloh / Other stuff by so many people (have you ever tried to read the credits on a hip hop record?) but mainly M/M (Paris)
Gold foil on red, it’s like Christmas. The various alternate covers you can arrange it into.  He’s bonkers, self-obsessed- but put all of it aside, I agree with him, he’s brilliant. I won’t deny him that and this packaging (like the previous 808s, in vinyl, beautiful art)  is what pop stars reaching for something else should mark their creative standards by when dressing up manic music with pop’s pompous requirements.




  1. The Grinderman cover photo is great on many levels even if removed from the album art context. Love it.

  2. M.I.A.'s recent record cover is definitely worth mentioning, talk about a design disaster- nice call. It looks exactly like a cover should look like when a musician starts to think they can design and create music simultaneously.

  3. A few more that I like (although I can't justify them at all): Tame Impala – Innerspeaker, Katy Perry – Teenage Dream (come on now!), Teebs – Ardour (painted his own cover), and M.I.A. — Maya says a lot about saying a lot about nothing.

    The Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma album has a fairly pretentious video about its making but I liked the runic look… mainly because I like Tolkien so much that any popular entertainment attempting a fantastic mythology gets my attention.

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