The song’s title and message provided inspiration for Barry Feinstein’s cover photo for All Things Must Pass (1970). In a 2001 interview, Feinstein admitted that the words “All Things Must Pass” had helped inspire his set-up for the photo, saying: “What else could it be? … [It] was over with The Beatles, right? And that title … Very symbolic.”
George Harrison commissioned Tom Wilkes to design an “elaborate hinged cardboard box” in which to house the three vinyl discs, rather than have them packaged in a triple gatefold cover. Apple insider Tony Bramwell later recalled: “It was a bloody big thing … You needed arms like an orang-utan to carry half a dozen.” The packaging caused some confusion among retailers, who associated boxed albums with opera or classical works.
The stark black-and-white cover photo was taken on the main lawn at Friar Park by Wilkes’ Camouflage Productions partner, Barry Feinstein. Commentators interpret the photograph – showing Harrison seated in the centre of, and towering over, four comical-looking garden gnomes – as representing his removal from The Beatles‘ collective identity. The gnomes had recently been delivered to Friar Park and placed on the lawn; seeing the four figures there, and mindful of the message in the album’s title, Feinstein immediately drew parallels with Harrison’s former band. Author and music journalist Mikal Gilmore has written that John Lennon‘s initial negativity regarding All Things Must Pass was possibly because he was “irritated” by this cover photo; Harrison biographer Elliot Huntley attributes this negativity to Lennon’s “jealousy” during a time when “everything [Harrison] touched turned to gold”.
Apple included a poster with the album, showing Harrison in a darkened corridor of his home, standing in front of an iron-framed window. Wilkes had designed a more adventurous poster, but according to Beatles author Bruce Spizer, Harrison was uncomfortable with the imagery. Some of the Feinstein photographs that Wilkes had incorporated into this original poster design appeared instead on the picture sleeves for the My Sweet Lord single and its follow-up, What Is Life.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the album’s release, Harrison supervised a remastered edition of All Things Must Pass, which was issued in January 2001. Harrison oversaw revisions to Wilkes and Feinstein’s album artwork, which included a colorized “George & the Gnomes” front cover and, on the two CD sleeves and the album booklet, further examples of this cover image showing an imaginary, gradual encroachment of urbanization on the Friar Park landscape.