Font-strosities: How Ugly Fonts Ruin Good Music

As promised, credit to Jin from Sora to Kujira for partial inspiration on this post.

It occurred to me that because we are brats and snobs, a lot of our faith in an album hinges on its cover artwork. Crazy, right? But you have to know its true. We nitpick covers like mad because they are normally the first part of an album or single you see. You get the cover long before you get the music. Thus, we tend to prejudge whether or not the release will be good or not depending on the cover. You can deny it all you want, but it happens.

While we wait for the release, we have nothing better to do than to criticize the covers for all they are worth. We critique the outfits, the hair, the cosmetics, the angle of photography, the facial expressions, the font. I’ve noticed font becoming a big issue lately on forums and other blogs and I can understand why. The text is what tells us “hey, this is a release by so-and-so!” Font is important! I’m assembled a collection of just a few covers with fonts that don’t even look good enough for MS Paint.

South Wind, a release from Sayaka Minami. (she was a member of BeForU, if you remember them)

Angel Trip by VAMPS

VAMPS are like the poster children for terrible fonts. Its a real shame because I like their music but their covers leave a lot to be desired. With the weird colored, massive text on this single, it takes away from the lovely lady with wings. I think this cover would have been better if the focus was on the woman, not the text.

Love Letter by Ai Otsuka

Allow me to beat a dead horse by rambling about this cover. Besides it being completely colorless, the font seems awkward and out of place. Poor Ai. Does anyone care about her anymore?

And now for the most infamous font of all time:

This Is the One (no it isn't) by Utada Hikaru

Auuuugh, take it away! Take it away! If this album wasn’t predestined for failure enough, it was given a cover like this.

When asked for comments on the preceding album covers, Roy Mustang provided us with this face.

Now, its your turn! Share with me some album covers with awful fonts! Do you agree or disagree with the covers I’ve posted? Is Roy Mustang ridiculously awesome yet irrelevant to this post? Also, share with me some covers with fonts that you liked!




Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

16 responses to “Font-strosities: How Ugly Fonts Ruin Good Music

  1. I agree with these album covers. Utada’s This Is The One was just terrible. I had to get an alternate cover. Haha! But, I can’t think of any covers with terrible fonts at the moment. A cover I really enjoy is melody.’s Lei Aloha album. I find the font smooth and it blends in with the beautiful scenery, but it’s noticeable (in a good way).

    By the way, thanks for the comment. I’ll add you on my affiliates as well, I just have to find out how to do work WordPress! xD

    • I had to learn how everything works on here too. Its tough at first because there is so much to do, but you get used to it fairly quickly.

      I get alternative covers too. Sometimes I just use screencaps from the PV if the cover itself is too bad. 😛

  2. Jin

    This: D=

    Such a classy, pretty picture but it’s ruined by like elementary font just like downloaded out of some website. Plus, it’s too much and all disorganized. xp

  3. agree with you on Utada. That cover looks like it was made with MS Paint.

  4. keyinjpop

    I’ll give a few:

    DOES – The World’s Edge
    Porno Graffitti – TRIGGER
    Nami Tamaki – STEP

  5. When you mention prejudice from cover viewing–I too am guilty of this. When it comes to artists I don’t know, or haven’t listened to yet, I’ve tried singles simply b/c there was a hot girl on front and have avoided singles with drab, uninspired covers. Oops!

    When it comes to placing text over a great cover image, it can be very challenging! Unless incorperated into the original design, you near the end going: “Well, I know I have to say such and such but…where to put it; it what color; and in what size and font?”. This is especially true when it comes to photography use on covers vs. digital graphics.

    VAMPS yes, what are these covers trying to say? “THIS ALBUM/SINGLE IS BY VAMPS!!! IT’S VAMPS I SAY!!! VAAAAAAAAAAAAAMPS!!!” … o.o. Um…ok. I think I already know this.
    Sometimes, less is more.

    At least Otsuka’s smile looks great. Although I didn’t like these covers, I quite enjoyed her mature and happy look; the smile looks sinsere.

    Utada Vol.2 = Fail.

    “Is Roy Mustang ridiculously awesome yet irrelevant to this post?”

    Don’t have time to post album covers right now (given it’s bed time) but, I’ll be back tmrw!

  6. Pingback: Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Font « International Wota

  7. Aprilis.

    Agree 100% with Utada’s.

    But with Ai, if anything I think it’s the “font” that saved it for me. With it being “hand written”, it gave the album a personal touch. Though they could had lighten the font colour to match the tone of the overall cover.

  8. Anonymous

    Ironically the “I Jinxed Xodiack” banner on this blog is terribly pixelated and the font is a pretty disturbing color.

    I also find Otsuka’s album cover here to be pretty nice overall as I have a liking for mildly desaturated photos though a warmer tone would be nice.

    All this is subjective of course but I believe most people would agree with me about the banner.

  9. I actually only agree with the Utada Hikaru single one. It looks like someone cousin who just learned how to use Illustrator/Photoshop made the cover.

    Love Letter is actually a very nice cover. The image is very playfull and the shallow DOF (depth of field) draws the attention to her eye very well. I think this is what the designer is trying to achieve. Your complaint about the font being colorless is a bit silly as well. I don’t think they could have picked a better colour than black. Any other colour would’ve looked out of place for sure. Whatever draws your attention first is a fight of colour and focus. As you can see the image is very white, caused by the white backdrop, Ai her creamy white skin and the soft-green shirt she’s wearing. Notice how the shallow DOF actually causes the green shirt to be less distractive? Now, because the hair is very dark and thus creates a huge contrast with everything else in the image you’re eye is drawn towards there. But because her eye is in clear focus, and dark coloured as well your eye will be drawn towards there. Also because of the shallow DOF the image becomes dreamy. Matches the song title if you ask me! The font balances out the picture very well. If the text wasn’t there it would be a very bad image, as you’ll have way too much “empty” space in your image. Something you’d like to avoid in portrait shots really. Using a very dark font is all part of using contrast to your advantage and it works very well here. In an image that has more shades of white than any other colour it’s illogical/silly to use any other colour but black. And of course, the font itself is a “handwritten” type of font that matches the song description all too well.

    The VAMPS cover is a very nice cover as well. Especially because they converted the image of the artist to a very nice, light shade of blue. The position and angle of the VAMPS writing is nicely done as it aligns with the angle wings he/she is wearing. It’s also not precisely in the center which makes the image more “raw”. This raw look is what the designer is probably after. Anything else wouldn’t work with these colours. Big, square fonts in caps. A colourscheme that works very well and breathes “grungyness” , a very nice “raw” artists picture as background… just by looking at the cover you can see that this is a rock song.

    I’m very interested in why you find some of the fonts position awkward and out of place. In my opinion you picked out some of the best looking covers there are. 😛

    • Cool observations, Brian. Thanks for your feedback! I mostly disliked the VAMPS cover because the font is huge and feels like its yelling right in my face. I understand and really liked your thoughts about it being “raw” because I hadn’t seen it from that perspective before.

      As for Ai, I think I’m the only person who disliked the font. 😛

  10. The font used on Utada’s “This is the one” is the worst in my opinion, it’s too simple and boring. And while VAMPS’s font isn’t that nice, I think it fits their image^^

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