Design Trend

Give your album artwork a 90s ‘grunge’ look and feel

Need to release new music, or an essential playlist? Throw it back to the golden age of 90s grunge and shrink-wrapped CDs.

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May 18, 2020

Remember Compact Discs? Those round, rainbow-shiny things that could store an hour’s worth of music and remixed the song whenever you drove on a bumpy road? Thankfully they’re not coming back anytime soon. But the shrink-wrapped aesthetic of these physical objects is very much on-trend right now – probably because we all secretly miss flipping through racks of CDs at the local record store.

Nostalgia is a big driver when it comes to trends, and this year we’ve seen Analogue Texture dominating the design world. This sentiment is definitely at play in the world of music too. Those clunky plastic jewel-cases were more than mere packaging - they provided accompanying artwork for the music, and gave our prized purchases a sense of physicality.

Most musicians still release their records with feature artwork, but creating the illusion of a physical form activates a sense of nostalgia reserved for this very specific type of object. Subtle cues, like reflective plastic wrapping, price stickers, and barcodes, all make it very clear that we’re looking at a music album. In short, it’s the packaging that sells the illusion, not the art itself.

You can carry this look over from album artwork to promo posts. The aesthetic works for more than music, and translates well into fashion.

It’s super easy to create this illusion in Over with our image editor tool. All it takes is adding a few layers on top of your artwork, and blending them in to create a realistic texture. Try starting out with some half-peeled price stickers, adding a scuffed-up barcode in the corner, and finishing it off with a wrinkled plastic wrapper. Bing, bam, boom. You just traveled back in time.

Some of the graphic packs in Over you can use to create the 90s 'grunge' album cover look.

All this talk of trawling through music stores has given us a severe case of 90s nostalgia. So we put together a Spotify playlist of some of our favourite grunge bangers. Enjoy!

Listen to our 'Nineties Nostalgia' playlist on Spotify.

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