The great thing about technology is that it gives everyone a voice, and allows us all to express ourselves in ways that were previously impossible or too expensive. The bad part is that most people are talentless idiots who should remain voiceless and just keep working at the gas station.
There are few better examples of this than the art and design of the 90s hardcore scene, which is what happens when computers get cheap enough that middle-class kids can use them to make the the cover art for their terrible band’s 7″. This is basically the visual equivalent of putting a blind man with cerebral palsy behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, and the results were just as horrifying as you would expect.
I could go on forever, but here are a few of my favorite examples- please post yours in the comments!
So many 90s hxc design memes here: type that’s stretched so far you can barely read it, outlined version of a font from a pirated Adobe Font Folio, and feathered photo of oppressed animals!
I fucking love grunge fonts like this where every letter is distressed exactly the same- the same little bits are missing from both Ns and Ts, like a sign you’d see at a gas station advertising that Monster is 2 for $4 this week only. Also, this is the moshcore band that Pete Wentz was in (not sure if he played on this or not?).
When you first get Photoshop, it’s pretty fun to try out each one of the filters just to see what they do. This cover is an example of when you do that, only instead of saying “well that was kind of fun” and trashing the file, you use it as the cover for your band’s CD.
Somehow, Overcasts next 7″ managed to top “Expectational Dilution” in terms of visual offensivesness!! Stretched, outlined grungy typewriter font on top of a filter-laden scan from some clip art book?? “Hell, ya paid for the pixels, you might as well use em.”
Honestly would not be surprised to see the “someone experimenting with the ‘Artistic’ filters + freeware grunge fonts” look to make a comeback (only this time it would be hipsters doing it ironically)
I’m just including this picture to illustrate the cultural context of 90s hardcore art. I mean, if we thought it was cool to wear giant denim shorts with white gym socks bunched up halfway to our knees, why would we think twice about using an outlined version of the grungiest typewriter font we would find??
Another popular 90s hxc concept was “some generic font over a painting you did for your community college art class,” as you can see here. Bonus points for underlining the name of the band!!
I guess they couldn’t decide which community college painting to use, so they just put both of them on there??
Particularly lulzy example of this concept that also uses a grungy typewriter font and lowercase letters– at least 25% more meaningful and heartfelt than the Snapcase cover!
I have absolutely no idea what the point of the VOD cover was supposed to be, but I always loved it for some reason :( Makes me want to buy an XL Adidas jersey, some Jncos and get frosted tips again!
This old Refused 7″ combines a community college painting with an illegible live photo and a really bad graffiti font- classic! I love reminding people of how before they were international icons of hipster hardcore, they were Jnco moshcore with a graffiti logo.
This doesn’t really fit into any particular category but it’s FUCKING AWESOME. If I didn’t know better I would probably think this was the title screen for some obscure late-80s fighting game (this would be followed by the “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” screen). Also, I fucking love how the type has the Illustrator default “shiny metal” gradient in it and the “g” is like 20% bigger than all the other letters– so ignorant!!
Sorry to pick on OKD twice on one post, but how could I not point out a) that this is the Lethal Weapon font and b) how hilarious it is when people do the “subverting images of idyllic mnstrm American lief to show how fukked up it rly is” thing?
All the Erie bands had super lulzy, terrible cover art thanks to Mike Ski (the singer for Brother’s keeper). Love the perfectly straight playing cards over the stock photo of blood spatters– would be perfect for a graphic design student to use for a movie poster assignment. Just change the purple grungy typewriter font to say “Boondock Saints” and you are all set!
Speaking of Brother’s Keeper, try to keep a straight face when you look at this little number!! It’s a real doozy– I have literally been giggling about it for like 5 minutes, I can’t believe how horrible it is in so many different ways at once (dat grunge font + dat default radial gradient + really bad ‘tattoo style art’ + really bad graffiti + dem colors)
Which is more offensive, the gradient on the BK record or the underline on the Strongarm logo??? Should vegans be banned from publicly expressing themselves via visual art? Did you think grunge typewriter fonts were the shit in 1998???