Inspirations

Graphic Design Inspiration: 40 J-pop Album Covers

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J-pop, ( Japanese pop music), has its roots in the 1960’s. The term “J-pop” was coined in the 1990’s and rose to a peak later that decade. It served to describe the energy behind the music. Although J-Pop is stuck in the 90’s (and deliciously so), the album cover art isn’t. It embraces modern culture, manga, anime, the strange and the outrageously hilarious. However, what can we, as designers, gain from this? We can understand how pushing boundaries, combining simplicity with symbolism and having no fear can create amazing designs! So feast your senses on these J-Pop album covers!

In this article, we present 40 J-Pop album covers. For viewing pleasure, they have been divided into “Cartoon”, “Illustrations”, “Manipulated Photography”, “Bold and the Bright”, “EXPLOSIONS!”.

You may want to take a look at the following related articles:

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• 45 Astonishing Dragon Illustration Artworks

Typographic Portrait of a Human Face

Cartoon

The Japanese have a very unique and highly recognizable cartooning style. This collection best demonstrates this.

The Best of Sweets House

The Best of Sweets House

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DJ Kenkaida – I love DJ

DJ Kenkaida - I love DJ

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K-On! Azusa Nakano Character Image Song Series

K-On! Azusa Nakano Character Image Song Series

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Japanese Pop – Imari Tones

Japanese Pop - Imari Tones

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Shonen Knife – Happy Hour

Shonen Knife - Happy Hour

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Gundam Rock – Andrew W.K.

Gundam Rock - Andrew W.K.

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Stereopony – Over the Border

Stereopony - Over the Border

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Asian Kung-Fu Generation

Asian Kung-Fu Generation

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DECO*27- Paravereruwarudo

DECO*27- Paravereruwarudo

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Island of Curiosity – Halfby

Island of Curiosity - Halfby

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Hello Mr. My Yesterday – Hundred Percent Free

Hello Mr. My Yesterday - Hundred Percent Free

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Single Album – Sambo Master LoveSong

Single Album - Sambo Master LoveSong

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Illustrations

Whilst it can be argued cartoons are illustrations this collection contains album designs that are more detailed and have a different level of depth.

Neuromantic – Yukihiro Takahashi

Neuromantic - Yukihiro Takahashi

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Yotsuba Sagashi no Tabibito – Galileo Galilei

Yotsuba Sagashi no Tabibito - Galileo Galilei

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Black Album – VeltPunch

Black Album - VeltPunch

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The Sum – The Last Alliance

The Sum - The Last Alliance

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The Best of Seamo

The Best of Seamo

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Diorama – MUCC

Diorama - MUCC

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Roundabout – Akeboshi

Roundabout - Akeboshi

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Manipulated Photography

These covers use manipulated photographs. As a result most of the manipulated photographs in this collection have resulted in being a bit on the surreal side.

Mothership – Lego Big Morl

Mothership - Lego Big Morl

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Crawl – Natsu Best

Crawl - Natsu Best

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Onelbum – Natsu Best

Onelbum - Natsu Best

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Serious Japanese – Teriyaki Boyz

Serious Japanese - Teriyaki Boyz

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Gazette – Dim

Gazette - Dim

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Bold and the Bright

This is the collection’s brightest and boldest album covers! Strong lines, brilliant colours and bold typography are throwing themselves around in these albums. Watch out!

AntennaGo!GO!7188

AntennaGo!GO!7188

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Dark Days/Light Years – Super Furry Animals

Dark Days/Light Years - Super Furry Animals

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Sotto Kyutto / Super Star – SMAP

Sotto Kyutto / Super Star - SMAP

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Ni Yao De Wo Dou You – Bearbiscuit

Ni Yao De Wo Dou You - Bearbiscuit

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With U – Big Bang

With U - Big Bang

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Nudy Show – Anna Tsuchiya”

Nudy Show - Anna Tsuchiya

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Cosmetic – SID

Cosmetic - SID

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Extract7- IVE

Extract7- IVE

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Japanese Rock VS FPM

Japanese Rock VS FPM

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Yusuke – Mitsubachi

Yusuke - Mitsubachi

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Poems like the Gun – Dad Mom God

Poems like the Gun - Dad Mom God

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Vandalize – Alice Nine

Vandalize - Alice Nine

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Nico Touches The Walls – Aurora

Nico Touches The Walls - Aurora

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EXPLOSIONS!

We”ve left the best to last. EXPLOSIONS!

Shichiten Hakki Shijou Shugi! – Kotoko

Shichiten Hakki Shijou Shugi! - Kotoko

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Keep on Smashing the Blue – Last Alliance

Keep on Smashing the Blue - Last Alliance

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Sign in to Disobey – Isobe Masabumi

Sign in to Disobey - Isobe Masabumi

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Conclusion

As you can see, these album covers are full of energy and give the visual feel of the music. They also cover a wide range of styles, mediums, angles and emotions. These covers show the strong relationship between visual elements and typography which is an important point to consider when designing. It also demonstrates how to make something look eastern which is helpful if your called upon to design for a client or project from a different cultural heritage to you. When designing, whether it be websites, logos or illustrations, the designer has one chance to encapsulate their message. Look through these images again and see for yourself how they capture the music they are designed for. Also look at their treatment of type, colours and line work.

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  • So Hae

    So cute..very creative..

  • Jian

    I love this style, insightful post, thank you Emma for this wonderful list !!

  • banDesign

    Lovely list … very inspirational .

  • demOneckjaCk

    Very impressive collection of image.

    Cheers for that!

  • http://www.viking.rimini.it albergo viserbella

    It’s a amazing collection, excellent job.
    thank you very much

  • http://www.designminer.com Will

    Japanese Rock VS FPM, is interesting. It is hard to speculate on the design without knowing the context of the music on each album. That being said, a lot of these are less than inspiring.

  • Dave

    Super Furry Animals are a Welsh indie band!

  • http://leonking.com.ua leonking

    All work on the site deserves loud applause. Among them would like to commend the work: “The Best of Seamo”.

  • Tom

    What a great collection

  • http://www.cgbaran.com Cgbaran

    I love Deco

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqJwSLuhSFI Cody

    It’s nice to read a good blog post. I enjoy lots of the blog posts on your site.