Album Cover – Korn

On the 30th September we were set a brief of preparing a three min presentation on a piece of graphic design that had an emotional effect on ourselves. I choose Korn’s first album, self-titled Korn. When I was younger and going through my teenage years, I was trying to find my own identity. Unfortunately I found my teenage years to be the most confusing and to a certain extent, depressing. I ended up listening to some dark and very heavy music and ended up loving the group Korn, I collected all their CD’s, DVD’s and hoodies.

Korn has some fantastic album covers with amazing graphic design, however I choose the first album because the cover looks so realistic and make the whole image seem even more disgusting and gruesome. After further research I found that the concept of the picture was thought up by Jonathan Davis, the lead singer of the band. As this album was their first album, it was the most personal to them, often the songs portrays depression and often talked about childhood. There’s shoots and ladders where the band sing about the real meanings behind nursery rhymes such as baa baa black sleep and London Bridge, and how disgusting it is for society to find it acceptable to delude the small children.

Jonathan had a horrible childhood where he was abused at a young age by a female family member; this is sung about in the ‘hidden’ track called Daddy.  This could be why the picture, which was taken by Stephen Stickler, shows a young girl of approximately 8 years old playing on the swings in a park and a dark male shadow gives a major idea of creepiness and a hint of molestation. The male shadow is of the designer Dante Ariola, who is now a famous commercial and music director and has directed advertisements for HP, Nike and Stella McCartney. The art director of this shot was Jay Papke who also did album covers for Cypress Hill and also designed their first logo.

The picture gets more and more interesting and deeper every time I look at it. The name Korn is shown only as a shadow, however the type is quite childlike and the letter R is also backwards. What’s scary is how it looks like the girls shadow is hanging lifelessly from the letter K looking like she may have hung herself. This has many meanings; to me it could mean how the little girl feels guilty for something or could feel so unhappy that suicide seems the only escape route. The shadow of the male figure has quite terrifying hands, apparently Dante created thins by holding a horseshoe and a slingshot, however in the picture it just looks like the male has Edward Scissorhands or is holding some sort of weapons. The old and faded feel to picture was created to make it seem like a memory, this was created by the photographer, Stephen Stickler, by using a technique of masking the film. Dante edited the rest of the picture using an early version of Photoshop.

Often in Dante’s work he liked to create a story, so the front cover is the start of the story, and the back cover is the end, with the song titles acting as the rolling film credits. The back cover is where the swing is moving violently and is empty and no shadows of the girl or man is visible. I believe this gives the whole album cover a whole new dimension of realness. This album was produced in 1994, however did not become number 1 until 1996 when they sold over 3 million copies .

I felt my presentation went extremely well, however I felt I didn’t really fit in everything that I wanted to. Three minutes seems so short when you are nervous! I believe I spoke with passion and really put accross the most important points, however for future presentations more practice is needed to ensure all information is said in the alloted time slot.