Selena Gomez releases worst single cover ever

There's something odd going on in graphic design at the moment. In April, Kendrick Lamar released his Damn album, and with it a cover that was... well, pretty damn rubbish. Kasabian followed suit in May by adorning its latest musical offering with a semi-naked old man and some drawn-on tears.

The internet exploded with memes and left the aesthetically conscious among us seriously asking: have we entered the era of bad graphic design?

2017 has welcomed the era of bad design

2017 has welcomed the era of bad design

The argument goes that we're so saturated with visuals, what might traditionally be considered 'good' graphic design just gets lost. To stand out (and gain kudos with the millennial market), brands are opting for designs so bad that they're impossible to ignore.

Well, Kasabian and Kendrick's efforts look like masterpieces when compared to the latest single cover from Selena Gomez. Wolves, the former Disney child star's collaboration with Marshmello, looks like it has been made by a teenager just taking their first lesson in Photoshop. The 'O' of the title has been turned into a moon, for crying out loud. It's so bad it must be intentional – right?

Gomez's Tweet announcing the single offered no clues:

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In the 'it's just bad' camp, we have several convincing arguments. We've already seen movie posters descend into their own design crisis this year. The weirdly proportioned, very obviously cut-out, unrelated floating elements on this latest cover seem to be from the same school of thought. Perhaps this is the horrible result of design by committee at a record company?

Then there's the picture of Gomez herself – why is it so grainy and blurry? Surely the star's not lacking in hi-res portrait snaps. And if it's an aesthetic decision, why is the wolf beside her so clear?

Marshmello has embraced cheesy design before

Marshmello has embraced cheesy design before

However, Marshmello seems like the kind of chap to embrace cheesy design in an ironic way. For those who don't know, that smiley white thing on the cover is the headgear he wears to hide his identity. Surely someone with such a tightly controlled public persona wouldn't let a high-profile single design pass by unchecked.

A look through the 'mello's discography reveals he does indeed have a bit of a thing for tacky design. Although it's still not quite of the same calibre as the Wolves cover. And Gomez's back catalogue favours glossy over gaudy every time.

The new single is a departure from Gomez's usual style

The new single is a departure from Gomez's usual style

So is the Wolves cover the latest example of the trend for wilfully subverting what we consider 'good' design – or is it just rubbish? The jury's still out. Let us know what you think on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Ruth Hamilton

Ruth spent a couple of years as Deputy Editor of Creative Bloq, and has also either worked on or written for almost all of the site's former and current print titles, from Computer Arts to ImagineFX. She now spends her days reviewing mattresses and hiking boots as the Outdoors and Wellness editor at, but continues to write about design on a freelance basis in her spare time.