Badland does Album covers

Some people believe that every ad that is similar in idea to another ad, is a rip-off. Others know that the idea God messes with our heads from time to time, and two people can come up with the same idea to solve the same problem. After all, we are megaphones for the memes - we stand on the shoulders of giants. All artists borrow, get inspired and sometimes even steal. We also add ideas together in a classic 1+1=3, a winepress and metal type combined made Johannes Gutenberg famous as the inventor of the printing press. Lets have a look at the amusing world of similarly designed record covers.

So when exactly, is an idea ripped off? Hard to tell really, while there are some hacks in this biz that could still sleep well at night after translating ads from major awards to their home language - most people try and come up with their own stuff, it is after all what we get paid for. While some ads have the same execution (media, font, photography style or film technique) that doesn't mean they have the same idea. And while other ads have the same idea, their tone and execution can be so different that people won't notice. Then of course, there are the unlucky ones who got a flash of brilliance from the Idea God that someone else also thought of - I've seen 5 out of 30 students solve the same brief the same exact way. The trick is to keep thinking past your first idea.

Some covers - like some ads - are obvious homages to a previous cover, ie Trainspotting and Goth spotting.


Sometimes it's a case of far too similar photography. Do you think either one of these designers or photographers were aware of the other? How about the artists that made the giant arrows?

some images are so similar one beings to wonder... Did the Ryan Adams cover inspire the american HiFi cover?

Now, when it comes to universal symbols, a circle is sometimes a snake. These are quite funny.

Then there are shots that simply make you wonder - this had to be intentionally staged to look like the other shot? no?

...and sometimes, It's just a case of falling in love with the same exact photo.

The cover collection made possible by the threads "Cover connections 2 3 4 and 5" over at the great "I love Music" forum If this sort of thing amuses you you may find more covers collected and compared at Plimsould knockoff project where some of the better cover connections and more with "a little help from my friends.".. where do you think similar ideas come from? The Idea-god?

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Neo's picture

Great links, I spent hours at those cover connections.. (shame some images are gone now..)

Dabitch's picture

Now i find that Rolling Stone Magazine on the web did a cover connections and commentary a while back - go check as it too has great examples.

Andreas-Udd's picture

Haha! This was great, I'll be comparing my album covers at home tonight, I have quite a few. Great Links too!

anonymous's picture

I was just reading about your site on Brand Republic and so came here to check it out. Imagine my surprise! I was the designer on the Bluestates Man Mountain album cover
Can honestly say have I have never seen the other cover who is the artist?. The photographer, Charles Dragazis
was sent to America to shoot as much as possible for the new album, and the original chosen cover shot was rejected by the record label, so we looked through dozens of alternatives and picked this one. I guess a striking object just attracts the eye, and therefore the picture opportunity. For what it's worth, I think the arrows in our cover show a higher degree of craftsmanship and a nicer colour scheme!!

Sport's picture

WOW, that Is darn funny man. :)

Well now we know, the designer wasn't aware of any other shots, probably not the photographer either - wonder if the arrow-sculpting guys were aware of other arrow sculptures? Some ideas and symbols are universal though and it's quite possible they were unaware of other giant arrows. Fow what it's worth i like the two arrows better too. ;)

I'm not sure who the artist is, these twins came about when playing a cover connection game in the music forums (linked in the article). Trust a music fan to find similar covers. haha!

James Trickery's picture

Got another link for you album-peeps out there.

One Night of Love by Daniel De Carlo and Music to Help You Stop Smoking are great covers.

James Trickery's picture

Demonfuzz records also does a "badland covers" page.....