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. 

brave girls

Brave Girls – Back to da future

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.

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SHINee – Boys Meet U

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.

big bang big ban

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.

iu growing up

IU – Growing Up

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.

beast my story

BEAST – My Story

6. Let’s play a game! Which legs are attached to which Nine Muses member?

cover-나인뮤지스싱글앨범

Nine Muses – Let’s Have A Party

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.

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Happy Pledis – Love Love Love

8. There’s something deeply unsettling about an album entitled ‘Come into the World’ featuring pictures of young teenage boys essentially naked.

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Teen Top – Come Into the World

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.

like money

Wonder Girls – Like Money

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…

epikhigh blackswansongs

Epik High – Black Swan Songs

…parasol, kitty cat and lady sunglasses.

11. Poor Jay Park fell on some seriously hard times after being forced out of 2PM…

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Jay Park – Demon

12. Still, at least he escaped this pleather fest.

still 2pm

2PM – Still 2PM

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’.

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5Dolls – Time To Play (Club Remix 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.

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Speed – Speed Circus

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.

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Piggy Dolls – Piggy Style

16. Anyone else remember TVXQ’s awkward J-Rock phase?

dbsk tri-angle

TVXQ – Tri-angle

17. Despite some distinctly high brow Frida Kahlo influences (no pun intended), the artwork for Red Velvet’s first single is a hot mess.

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Red Velvet – Happiness

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 ?

lc9 skirmish

LC9 – Skirmish

19. Secret weren’t always one of Korea’s biggest girl groups and before they were popular they were using some really ugly fonts.

secret i want you back

Secret – I Want You Back

20. Girls’ Generation have had some great album covers  over the years. This is not one of them. 

oh snsd

Girls’ Generation – Oh!

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.

Jelly Pop

GP Basic – Jelly Pop

22. Candles? Festive. Fairy lights? Festive. But the kind of bulbs you find screwed into your ceiling? Not so much.

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MBLAQ – White Forever

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.

boyfriend pinky santa

Boyfriend – Pinky Santa

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.

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Baby V.O.X – Why

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.

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S.E.S – A Letter from Greenland

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.

dgna rilla go

DGNA – Rilla Go

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.

kwan woo

Psst. It’s Kwan-woo of Egobomb’s Musician, Vibe, Passion.

28. Did you think we could miss JYP out of this list?

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Park Jin Young – DdanDdaRa

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.

hotter than a summer

WA$$UP – Hotter Than A Summer

Remember, even if it’s only a digital single, it’s important to make a good impression.

And finally…

30. This.

topp dogg anniversary

Topp Dogg – Anniversary

I have no words.

What do you think is the worst K-pop album artwork you’ve ever seen? Let us know!

  • Dalinka in Neverland

    You forgot Super Junior’s Mr. Simple, the ugliest era of SJ, the year after they looked handsome and sophisticated with bonamana.

    • http://beyondhallyu.com/ Lizzie (beyondhallyu)

      Oh yes I forgot about that one! Way way too much going on there.

      • Dalinka in Neverland

        Indeed!!
        btw nice to meet you and read you! :)

  • http://skatingchiic.tumblr.com/ Sungel

    Shinee’s Misconception of Us
    y’know, that ‘scream’ face D:

    • PunkyPrincess92

      ahahahah i only accepted that cos it was by Key!
      If it was by some random person i woulda been peed off cos i absolutely loved the other two album covers from the series!

      And have you seen all the members drawings inside that booklet…both confusing and hilarious!

  • http://www.mykoreanhusband.com/ Nic (MyKoreanHusband)

    Wow…. all so bad!

  • Jay

    The 9Muses one is actually not that hard.
    No it wasnt photoshopped into impossible positions lol.

  • http://samsoondowntherabbithole.com/ dewaanifordrama

    Bahahahaha. Excellent collection here. It’s like ugly sweaters, but K-pop album covers instead.

  • Anonymous

    I’d switch Oh! with Run Devil Run (package included)

  • millie102685

    You missed the worst one in all of the history of kpop. Bubble Sisters and their gross blackface gimmick is worst than anything on this list. By far.

  • Mell~ 멜리사

    I find the art a little bad too… but I Understand ‘cuz ToppDogg is going 90’s style ..if you see a cover art from the 90’s you’ll see the almost the same thing!!! Their CD is an “LP”

    • Bethany Simos

      Please tell me that I’m not the only one who sees “Todd Doge”

      • http://fairyfab.deviantart.com Jaqi From Space

        LOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

  • http://soooobeast.tumblr.com Ciera88

    lmaooo my eyes hurt.
    I think speed and dgna’s aren’t that bad since they fit the circus or jungle themes. and the lc9 one is actually not the real cover thank goodness, its a nice galaxy print and a star logo (i have the album)
    I didn’t know the Ego Bomb dude came out with a solo.
    Topp Dogg’s Annie cover makes me cry. ;^; rofl. I guess its supposed to be funny.

  • tottie

    There’s a mistake. Topp Dogg should not be here. Ok? Ok!

  • PunkyPrincess92

    Wow some of these are just too terrible and so gross! How could anyone let these pass into production? My goodness!!

  • L3sslikeme

    I got a boy is a bunch of irrelevant and random objects like an eaten apple, a
    random deer and a girl with a white face! simple isnt always bad