10 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Universal Music Group Creative (East Coast Labels)

Beatles, Stones, Pink Floyd, Brujeria and more

Each week we ask the top talents in the world of music packaging to write about some of their favorite album covers. Below are 10 picks from four members of Universal Music Group Creative, East Coast Labels, which includes Republic Records, Island Records, Def Jam Recordings and Verve Label Group. 

Clockwise from top left:
Sandra Brummels, Senior Vice President, Creative
Kyle Goen, Creative Director
Joe Spix, Creative Director
Ryan Rogers, Creative Director


Pink Floyd
Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

Label: Harvest / US Label Capitol Records
Designer: Hipgnosis

I chose this not only because it is an iconic cover (and album) but also because Storm Thorgerson is one of my favorite creatives. I had the pleasure of working with Storm on several occasions, and it was truly amazing to be a part of his process. Storm really made a name for himself with this cover—a graphical representation of a prism breaking light into color. All done without the aid of Photoshop. He was a genius right to the end and is truly missed. —Sandra Brummels


The Makers
The Makers (1995)

Label: Estrus Records
Designer: Art Chantry

Chantry advocates a low-tech approach to design that is informed by the history of the field. Chantry builds the designs for his covers by hand, eschewing the now-ubiquitous computer and laser printer for X-acto knives, Xerox machines, and photoset type. —Kyle Goen


The Rolling Stones 
Some Girls (1978)

Label: Rolling Stones Records
Designer: Peter Corriston

The cover of the original album was a die cut with peep-holes so you could see the faces of members of Rolling Stones and female celebrities pictured on the innersleeve. Shortly after release, the cover was withdrawn due to legal issues and a new designed innersleeve without the celebrity faces was launched. Even later releases were made without peep-holes and with hand-drawn sketches on the cover. —Kyle Goen


Brujeria
Viva Presidente Trump! (7 Inch, 2016)

Label: Nuclear Blast Entertainment
Designer: Unknown

Released on Record Store Day, the single art was pressed in four different colors: green, white, red and black. Put them all together to form the colors of the Mexican flag. Each color was printed in a limited run of 250 copies. —Kyle Goen


The Beatles
Revolver (1966)

Label: Parlophone
Designer: Klaus Voormann

German designer Klaus Voormann created the iconic collage and line art cover for this classic mid-career album for the Beatles. The gorgeous combination of photography and ink drawing manages to read as psychedelic without any use of color and a no-nonsense sans-serif all-caps title treatment. The cover's rough, immediate, gestural feeling of being both finished and unfinished at the same time is an eternally illusive quality. —Joe Spix


Pearl Jam
No Code (1996)

Label: Epic
Designers: Barry Ament, Chris McGann, Jerome Turner

Released during a peak era for music packaging, Pearl Jam's fourth album No Code was an elaborate four-panel gatefold endeavor which folded out to an enormous square (especially so on vinyl). The idea of a huge major label band releasing an album with no name on the cover and simply a grid of enigmatic macro Polaroids was inspiring to me as a gutsy way to approach album artwork. —Joe Spix


The Jazz Messengers
At the Café Bohemia Volume 1 (& 2) (1973)

Label: Blue Note
Designer: John Hermansader

There is nothing I can say about the cover designs of Blue Note Records that hasn't been said better elsewhere. On this cover, the audacious move of breaking the artist name into three lines to essentially create the entire cover, relegating the customary performer photos to a comparably tiny row at the bottom, proved to me that with album art there are essentially no rules, and the structure is simply there to improvise upon. —Joe Spix


Royal Blood
Royal Blood (2014)

Label: Warner Bros.
Designer: Dan Hillier

Dan Hillier creates his ink drawings utilizing a blend of found images and his own work. His enthusiasm for obsolete symbolism and a desire to create pictures that incite humor, curiosity and the unconventional was a perfect match for Royal Blood's debut album. Royal Blood's Mike Kerr says: "Dan's ability to illustrate and interpret our music into mystical imagery and hypnotic beings is truly unique." —Ryan Rogers


Joy Division
Unknown Pleasures (1979)

Label: Factory Records
Designer: Peter Saville

If there were ever an cover that summoned the vibe and mood of the music inside, Peter Saville's art for Joy Division's debut album Unknown Pleasures would certainly be the one. Void of any band name or title, just an inverted photo of a radio wave from pulsar B1919+21. Saville said of his design: "It's the endless possible interpretations of this diagram that make it so powerful, and in a way useful, for something like an album cover." —Ryan Rogers


Grace Jones
Nightclubbing (1981)

Label: Island Records
Designer: Jean-Paul Goude

"Feeling like a woman. Looking like a man," sings Grace Jones on the track "Walking in the Rain" from her album Nightclubbing. The cover art is a painted photo by her former partner and artist Jean-Paul Goude. It creates a strong, enigmatic and incredibly powerful image that perfectly matches the new wave style of music on the album. —Ryan Rogers

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Universal Music Group Creative
Sandra Brummels is senior vice president of creative for Universal Music Group. She leads the creative team for the East Coast Labels, including Republic Records, Island Records, Def Jam Recordings and Verve Label Group. Kyle Goen, Joe Spix and Ryan Rogers are creative directors in the group.

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