The artwork for Radiohead’s Kid A was created by long-time collaborator Stanley Donwood and frontman Thom Yorke (under the alias “Tchock”). A photograph of the Kosovo war, which was occurring during the album’s recording, was inspired Donwood, who said “I was upset by it in a way war had never upset me before. It felt like it was happening in my street.” A lot of the artwork was also influenced by the imagery of the lyrics to the song “Idioteque” on the album. It was painted by Donwood and Yorke by using knives, sticks, and putty on canvas, then photographing the paintings and manipulating them in Photoshop.
An image that occurs throughout the album (on the CD case spine, in the booklet, and on the CD itself) is what’s come to be known as the “red swimming pool.” It was inspired by the graphic novel Brought to Light in which the CIA measures death tolls by filling 50-gallon pools with blood. Disturbed by this imagery, Donwood used it as a motif throughout the artwork, and has become a well-known symbol associated with Radiohead. Another image from the album was also adopted as one of Radiohead’s logos, the smiling teddy bear that was used during the album’s ad campaign.