The album title refers to a kind of discrete mathematical system—a noodle map—which may exhibit chaotic behavior, similar to the standard map. The adjective smooth refers to the lack of kinks or discontinuities. This is referenced in the lyrics to the song "Devo Has Feelings Too," which include the line "snake through the chaos with a smooth noodle map."
The front cover of the record (and the fold-out of the CD version) featured the members of the band emerging from a strange circle. The liner notes from the "Post Post-Modern Man" single revealed that circle is actually a computer simulation of the planet Jupiter. This image of Jupiter was provided by Philip Marcus and Nicholas Socci.