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Kendrick Lamar’s Album Designer Defends His ‘Abrasive’ Cover

'Dot saw the value in making something that didn’t fit the mold'

Kendrick Lamar’s new album DAMN. arrives this Friday (April 14), and the general consensus is that it’ll be one of the year’s hottest releases. As for its cover art, however ... there is no general consensus. Because no one really knows what to make of it.

Since revealing the cover art on Tuesday, K. Dot’s been turned into a meme dozens of times over, as the internet continues debating the merits of DAMN.’s shockingly minimalistic artwork, punctuated by that bold text and the rapper's exhausted expression. Now, the artist who designed the cover has come forward to defend his art, explaining that the final product is “loud and abrasive,” just like he wanted.

Graphic designer Vlad Sepetov discussed the cover in a series of tweets, writing, “Already seeing a lot of discussion about the cover and I’m really excited about it. It’s interesting to see people talk about ‘bad’ design but I’m incredibly proud of this cover.”

He continued, “I sort of bucked a lot of what my teachers taught me. I wanted to make something loud and abrasive and maybe some won’t see that, but I’m glad that [Kendrick’s manager] Dave [Free] and Dot saw the value in making something that didn’t fit the mold. Just given the bare bones we fleshed something out that has a lot of people talking. It’s not uber political like TPAB [To Pimp A Butterfly] but it has energy IMO.”

Sepetov also explained why he gave the parental advisory sticker such a prominent place on the cover.

Bottom line: Sepetov took risks with his art. Kendrick also takes risks with his art. And we’ll see how those two things come together once DAMN. finally arrives in our laps on Friday.