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Nirvana's "Nevermind": The Art and Design Behind an Iconic Album

Nirvana’s “Nevermind” is one of the most iconic albums in music history, and its cover design has become a symbol of the 90s alternative music movement. But how did the cover come to be, and what is the story behind it?

The design of the “Nevermind” cover was created by the graphic artist Kirk Weddle. He was approached by Nirvana’s label, DGC Records, to come up with a concept for the album cover. Weddle was given a rough music demo and was tasked with creating a visual that would capture the raw energy and emotion of Nirvana’s sound.

The idea for the “Nevermind” cover came to Weddle after he stumbled upon a photograph of a baby swimming underwater. He saw the image as a perfect representation of the sense of innocence and vulnerability that he felt was embodied in Nirvana’s music.

Weddle shot the iconic photo for the cover in a pool in Santa Monica, California. The baby featured in the image was Spencer Elden, who was only a few months old at the time. Elden was chosen for his chubby cheeks, and round belly, which Weddle felt would add a sense of playfulness and joy to the image.

The “Nevermind” cover features Spencer Elden swimming towards a dollar bill on a fishhook. This imagery was meant to symbolize the loss of innocence and the commercialization of the alternative music scene. The choice of a dollar bill was a nod to the grunge movement’s rejection of materialism and consumerism.

The “Nevermind” album cover was an instant success and became one of the most recognizable images in music history. The image of Spencer Elden swimming towards the dollar bill has become a symbol of the 90s alternative music movement and a representation of the cultural and musical shifts that were taking place at the time.

#1 The front cover for the album Nevermind by Nirvana.

#5 Proof sheet from the underwater shoot. The team used a doll (top left) for test shots.

#6 The marked up photo outlining the elements to be added or changed.

#7 Left: The marked up photo. Right: The final composite image.

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Written by Aurora Hale

I am a blogger, entrepreneur and small business coach. I'm an introvert and cat lover. My favourite hobbies are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


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