The 30 worst K-pop album and single cover artworks ever
K-pop is well known for its elaborate and high-quality album artwork. Korean entertainment companies have turn CD packaging into an artform unrivalled by entertainment industries in the rest of the world. However, despite this, sometimes it goes deeply wrong and we end up with badly-designed and cheap looking album and single covers.
Here are 30 of the worst album and single covers that K-pop has ever seen.
1. Bravesound takes the same approach to album cover design as they do to music production: make it as loud, obnoxious and unsophisticated as possible.
But at least for the music it sometimes works.
2. SM has a great track record with SHINee’s album design in Korea but in Japan? Not so much.
This looks like third-rate fan art.
3. Another group whose Japanese artwork doesn’t always match up in quality to its Korean counterpart is Big Bang.
To put it in perspective, this… rainbow blob was released at almost exactly the same time as G-Dragon’s Heartbreaker mini album.
4. IU went through some very awkward styling and branding phases on her way to becoming the polished young performer she is today.
Is she a person or is she an electrofied doll attempting to extract your soul through her eyes? It’s hard to tell from this album cover.
5. Tired of people arguing over whether their band name was spelled BEAST or B2ST, the band just decided to go with BERST for this album.
6. Let’s play a game! Which legs are attached to which Nine Muses member?
No seriously, someone help me with this.
7. In another extreme case of photoshopping women’s bodies into impossible positions, it’s amazing any of the members of After School on this cover are still standing.
8. There’s something deeply unsettling about an album entitled ‘Come into the World’ featuring pictures of young teenage boys essentially naked.
One member is only 14 here… just saying.
9. I do wonder if part of the reason the Wonder Girls never took off in the US is because of the awfulness of the styling and this album artwork.
Seriously, who thought the cyborg heart/Akon hybrid thing was a good idea?
10. Epik High are looking so gangster here with the basebat bat…
…parasol, kitty cat and lady sunglasses.
11. Poor Jay Park fell on some seriously hard times after being forced out of 2PM…
12. Still, at least he escaped this pleather fest.
13. 5dolls (or is it F-ve Dolls?) have never really received the support or had the success that labelmates T-ara did but this looks like a teenage wannabe bedroom DJ’s first attempt at designing the cover for his ‘first album’.
14. On the other hand, it looks like the designer at CCM spent far too much time on brother group Speed’s first album cover.
Here’s a basic rule of design: white space is not your enemy.
15. Remember Piggy Dolls? They were the group whose whole marketing strategy was that they were overweight. Looks like their company spent even less time on their first album cover than they did on finding a gimmick.
16. Anyone else remember TVXQ’s awkward J-Rock phase?
17. Despite some distinctly high brow Frida Kahlo influences (no pun intended), the artwork for Red Velvet’s first single is a hot mess.
18. Remember that time Nega Network announced that they were debuting a new boy band made up of the male supporting cast members from the musical, Xanadu ?
19. Secret weren’t always one of Korea’s biggest girl groups and before they were popular they were using some really ugly fonts.
20. Girls’ Generation have had some great album covers over the years. This is not one of them.
It looks like the VHS cover for a 90s kids TV show mixed with an 80s step aerobics instructional video.
21. The way this cover channels Buffy the Vampire Slayer would have been very trendy in 1999. It’s a shame it was released in 2011.
22. Candles? Festive. Fairy lights? Festive. But the kind of bulbs you find screwed into your ceiling? Not so much.
Not to mention how cheesy the lights clearly added in post-production look.
23. Here’s another Christmas disaster. Everything about the cover of Boyfriend’s Japanese single Pinky Santa is beyond explanation.
24. Now I know graphic design technology wasn’t as advanced in 2000 as it is now, but whoever made this Baby V.O.X. cover could have at least made sure the random words on the cover didn’t run into each other.
25. But don’t be too embarrassed DSP, it looks like SM also hadn’t figured out how to make the words on an album cover legible by 2000 if this SES album is anything to go by.
Yes, their 4th album was really called that.
26. DGNA have had a really unfortunate and difficult few years but this new artwork really isn’t helping.
Apparently the group did the styling themselves. Maybe just stick to the singing and dancing in future, boys.
27. Game Round 2! Try to guess the name of the artist or the mini-album just from this cover.
28. Did you think we could miss JYP out of this list?
Is that a riding crop? Is it a snooker cue? Whatever it is, I think we can all collectively agree that we have no desire to know what his plans were for it after this photo shoot was over.
29. I know times are tough and it’s expensive to run a girl group but, WA$$UP, I promise there are cheap (and even free!) alternatives to Microsoft Word Art.
Remember, even if it’s only a digital single, it’s important to make a good impression.
I have no words.
What do you think is the worst K-pop album artwork you’ve ever seen? Let us know!