Legendary artist Rick Griffin not only came up with the design of the Grateful Dead‘s Aoxomoxoa, it was his fascination with palindromes that resulted in the album’s title.
“The Grateful Dead hired Rick based on his reputation for his concert posters (which he created for the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore West),” said his widow, Ida, in 100 Best Album Covers. “They told him he could design anything he visualized and was given total artistic freedom. The guys in the band would OK the final artwork, but basically they just loved his style.”
For Aoxomoxoa, Griffin shot for a design that was “tribal,” evoking a surfer’s paradise with the blue sky, circling a skull and crossbones with the sun and a garden, injecting his love of the water in the album’s fluid lettering.