It’s been an incredible year for music, and aside from sounding brilliant, there have been some distinctive designs that have caught our eye.

Here’s our selection of our favourite visual accompaniments to this year’s musical offerings to give you some design inspiration. Some of it’s actually pretty good to listen to…

1. Iceage – Plowing into the field of love

Ice Age - Plowing Into The Fields of Love

Iceage are all grown up – sort of. This album finds the sweet-spot between chaos and control. And the cover’s not half bad either. Cover photo by Kristian Emdal.


2. Aphex Twin – Syro

Aphex Twin - Syro

Probably the most eagerly-anticipated release of the year in many circles, this was an album that made waves in 2014. Made up of a list of equipment that was used in the recording of the album, it was referred to as a ‘disinfographic’ by Creative Review. Cover design by The Designers Republic.


3. Bass Drum of Death – Rip This

Bass Drum of Death - Rip This

Rebellious guitar music has been around a long time, but BDoD are no less defiant and bratty than their many peers.


4. Earth – Primitive and Deadly

Earth - Primitive & Deadly

Featuring Mark Lanegan on a few tracks, this new record is a superb return to form. Metal bands always have the best album covers don’t they? Or at least the most ambitious. Artwork by Samantha Muljat.


5. Ital – Endgame

Ital - Endgame

Immersive, minimalist techno from Brooklyn’s Daniel Martin-McCormick. I’m a sucker for anything vaguely glitchy. Essentially, I picked this because it looked like a mutating TV.


6. Spoon – They Want My Soul

Spoon - They Want My Soul

A beautifully-produced album – multi-layered and sporting a host of very good songs. Even when the non-stop critical praise of this band gets too much to bear, there are actually enough good moments here to justify most of it. Photo by Todd Baxter.


7. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Mended With Gold

RAA - Mended With Gold

For a folk band, this bunch are a lot more hyperactive than most. Try this if you like drums. And drums.


8. YOB – Clearing the Path to Ascend

YOB - Clearing the Path to Ascend

Although it’s been a good few years since doomy, gloomy metal first reared its baleful head, this lot are among the best. And again, making this choice betrays our soft-spot for ambition.


9. Sohn – Tremors

Sohn - Tremors

Time will tell if Sohn is a name we’ll remember in 5 years, but this is a post about the best album art, not necessarily the best albums.  It’s definitely got ‘2014’ written all over it though, and we’ll remember it for that if nothing else. You did an OK job, Sohn.

10. Warpaint – Love is to Die

Warpaint - Love is to Die

With a cover designed by the legendary Chris Cunningham, this one was released in January, making it just in time to be eligible. Doesn’t January seem like a very long time ago?

Which are your favourite album cover designs of 2014? Any gaping holes in our selection? Remember, Icon Printing regularly prints t-shirts, tote bags and other merchandise for bands, festivals and other musically-minded pursuits.