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 https://ilx.wh3rd.net/ 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?