There’s a lot to consider when designing album cover art—from carefully selecting the right typography, to capturing the essence of a record’s sound using just the right combination of visuals.
The artwork you use for your single or album is one of the first points of contact that you have with your listeners, so it’s important to make a compelling first impression. After all, in this digital age, your cover art won’t just live on Apple Music or Spotify, but also in social media posts, YouTube thumbnails, and ads for your music! All these brand touch points will work in turn to paint your audience’s view of your work, making it important to have a cover that goes well with what you’re putting out there.
Every album cover has some kind of subject that is the focus. Sometimes it’s the artist or band, other times it’s just their name, and occasionally it’s neither, Sometimes less is more, in recent years many artists consider minimalism when developing their single, EP or album covers.
Here are a few things you should start with when thinking about designing your artwork:
1) Start off by outlining what characterises you as a band or solo artist – the colours you sport, the themes you follow and the sound you generate.
2) Look at your influencers covers, looking at their albums could provide you with the a breakthrough idea!
3) Be true to your image, If you’re a band that does everything in black and white, make sure your album art is in black and white. If you’re a band that embraces colourful geometric shapes in all your merch and graphics, your album art should follow that same colour scheme and feel. Be creative and offer fans something new, but don’t forget to be consistent with your existing brand.
4) Think about how you want people to feel, Think about what the theme of your brand is but also what the overall feel of the album itself is—is it an album about loss and heartbreak? Then you probably want that reflected in the imagery.
Don’t forgo hiring a professional just because you want to save money or you’ll end up with a really boring album art to show for it.
Like anything in the industry, the expenses of an album don’t end with the recording itself. There’s a lot you’ll want to budget for with any release, including public relations, playing shows, and yes, even album art. Make a budget before you even start recording, and if necessary, include a spot for your album art. If you plan for it from the beginning, there aren’t any surprises when it comes time to hire out!
'Works of art make rules; rules do not make words of art'
- Claude Debussy