BTS’s album “Love Yourself: Tear” was nominated for best recording package at the 2019 Grammys. Even if this South Korean boy band’s music isn’t acknowledged yet, design studio HuskyFox’s graphic design is an excellent primer to BTS’s bigger message.
The Love Yourself series consists of three albums with four different package versions each. The series is structured according to the Asian storytelling format Kishōtenketsu: 起 (beginning) 承 (development), 轉 (twist), and 結 (conclusion) which are at the bottom corners of each album starting with development since the beginning was expressed in one song, “Euphoria”. The metaphorical buds of love in that introduction continue to grow in “Love yourself: Her” with tracks like “DNA” that’s lyrics dramatically declare eternal love:
One continuous line depicts flowers that represent blooming love. They’re neat and perfect, an illusion of what love is and who we are when we first present ourselves to those we wish would love us. The line moves steeply up and down like the wavering feelings of a blossoming love, and the theme is reiterated with the pairs of flowers leaning into each other. The holographic line contained within a white background could mean untainted or perhaps naive love.
The series continues with “Love yourself: Tear” which expresses the suffering when hiding your true self in pursuit of love. This can best be understood through V’s “Intro: Singularity”:
The packaging is black, instantly suggesting a dark mood. The flowers are now abstracted, falling petals with no sense of direction or pattern. It’s chaotic composition reflects the band’s conflicted feelings on whether hiding themselves was worth the love they received. This could be interpreted as romantic turmoil, or it could refer to their relationship with fame.
In “Love Yourself: Answer” BTS provides a solution to this inner battle and that is to love yourself before you hope to give or receive love. This is best expressed in Jin’s “Intro: Epiphany”:
Shining me, precious soul of mine
I finally realized so I love me
Not so perfect but so beautiful
The holographic colours are finally unleashed, no longer restrained by a background colour. HuskyFox explains the lines depict what remains after the petals have fallen and they so happen to look like hearts which reiterates the answer is to love yourself. The connecting line between each version is not dramatic; they flow gently across and of all the compositions, it’s the most symmetrical which suits the peaceful closure perfectly. When placed together, the line continues through all versions of the albums to express self-love is a long and difficult journey, but we can get there if we try.
Wickman, Gloria. “Love Yourself: The Message Behind BTS’s Record Breaking Album Series.” Medium, Bangtan Journal, Oct 19. 2018, medium.com/bangtan-journal/love-yourself-the-message-behind-btss-record-breaking-album-series-229119e81902.
Morin, Natalie. “BTS’ Grammy Nomination Celebrates Much More Than Their Music.” Refinary29, Feb 8. 2019,
HuskyFox. “BTS ‘LOVE YOURSELF’ SERIES Album Identity.” Behance, www.behance.net/gallery/77735237/BTS-LOVE-YOURSELF-SERIES-Album-Identity.
“’그래미’ 후보 허스키폭스 ‘방탄소년단 위상 덕.’” ‘그래미’ 후보 허스키폭스 “방탄소년단 위상 덕” : 네이버 포스트, Feb 2. 2019, m.post.naver.com/viewer/postView.nhn?volumeNo=17765605&memberNo=2959&vType=VERTICAL.