Pop Minimalism / NATHAN DEVLIN 3167807

It was 2009 when Lorde was first signed to Universal Music Group, the 13-year-old represented a shift in the music industry. Trading in singing about opulence for songs about driving through residential neighbourhoods. It was fitting when in 2013 upon the release of her debut album Pure Heroine, she chose to go ditch the flashy album covers of that time and opt for something minimal, a black and white piece with her name and the album’s title.

Designed by Mario Hugo, 2013
Designed by Mario Hugo, 2013


Pure Heroine would go on to sell millions of copies, secure multiple Grammys and cement Lorde as a household name. Receiving praise from the likes of Nirvana, Prince, and David Bowie (Morris).

The album’s cover has a strong emphasis on negative space, allowing the contrasting text to stand out. The typeface used is called Futura and it is layered under textures of noise, canvas, and subtle gradients. Similarly to the music, the textures provided small details on a simple base that separated it from other typeface designs. On the upper portion of the cover, we have the artist’s name, Lorde, while the albums title Pure Heroine rests on the lower half. The cover supports the music itself which features sparse beats and simple arrangements. Lorde excelled in doing a lot while doing very little, which Mario Hugo took note of when expressing the artist’s intent through the album cover.

Pure Heroine paints hazy yellow serenity, will-o’-the-wisp melancholy, and crimson ambition all in steely monochrome, with minimalist synth basses, snaps, and the occasional stuttering trap beat (Touros).

Design-wise, the album cover did exactly what it was meant to. Carrying on with the albums musical direction, Mario Hugo delivered us a piece that was simple in design but featured little details that made it feel raw and special.


Morris, Alex. “Lorde’s Growing Pains: How the Pop Outsider Wrote Her Next Chapter.” Rolling Stone, 25 June 2018, www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/lordes-growing-pains-how-pops-favorite-outsider-wrote-her-next-chapter-127944/.
“Pure Heroine.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Feb. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_Heroine.
Touros, Cyrena. “Lorde Is The 21st Century’s Author Of Adolescent Evolution.” NPR, NPR, 31 Aug. 2018, www.npr.org/2018/08/31/638897130/lorde-is-the-21st-centurys-author-of-adolescent-evolution.