Orange County ska group No Doubt just released their first new single in a decade, “Settle Down.” We couldn't help but notice the cover of the record looks like dog shit. So we asked Dann Miller, a renowned graphic designer responsible for one of the year's best album covers, a few questions about it.
This No Doubt album cover is pretty terrible. Explain what makes it so.
Where to begin? First of all, I disagree with the full band photo on the cover. No one wants to look at the not-Gwen ding dongs in the band for any reason. They're in their 40s and still rocking eyeliner, teenager clothes and mall hair. Zoom in on Gwen, show a little side boob and call it a day. Instant platinum. Then there's the fact that this photo was raped to death in Photoshop.
It's like when you're 12 and you go to a soda fountain and you do the “suicide” where you get all the sodas. That's what they did here, but with every Photoshop filter. Then they haphazardly slapped their name in the corner with that font that's usually reserved for trance music. If this was some shitty new band I would understand, but these guys have millions of dollars. Blowing it.
What are some of the things you think about when designing an album cover?
First I consider the rest of the world and try not to make something that will prompt outrage and blog posts getting to the bottom of why it's so awful. I'm a big fan of not putting any words on the cover, but it just depends on the band/image. I don't particularly like band photos on album covers. It looks forced to me.
Is there a chance they intentionally made this No Doubt cover awful as some sort of anti-art statement?
I definitely don't buy that. I'm looking through their discography and all of their album covers are pretty terrible. I don't even think this is the worst one. I think this band has terrible visual taste.
What makes a good album cover?
I think covers work best when they match the vibe of the band. In this case, I guess, the No Doubt cover works because, when I hear them, I think about pop garbage that displeases my senses. Sometimes covers work when they purposefully don't match the vibe too. I don't think, when viewed separately, the colorful [Raymond] Pettibon drawings would go hand-in-hand with Black Flag's music, but somehow it's perfect. I've always loved Blue Note covers just for how militant they were with their aesthetic. Also, anything with tits.
Below: More examples of terrible No Doubt cover art
Below: Even more examples!