Every artist needs to understand that music promotion can be just as important as creating good songs. This is why you should always make sure your album cover design is up to par. Not unlike a business card, your cover is the first impression listeners have from your work. So, it’s extremely important to take time to create a good one.
Keep reading to get the full scoop on how to craft your own album cover.
Finding your identity
Before heading to the design aspects of your cover, you should first take time consider what is the identity of your musical project. Who are you as an artist? Try to focus on what themes are conveyed through your music. What does that sound potentially look like?
Finding your identity goes beyond just artist branding. Yes, you want to have a very recognizable cover that can set your album apart. But past that, it’s important to think about the long run. What story are you trying to tell here? And who are you telling it to?
At the end of the day, an album cover is way more than just a cover. It makes part of the whole experience of consuming music and that’s what you should keep in mind.
Looking for inspiration
There’s an old saying that states “no man is an island” and it also applies to artists. Everything we have heard, read or seem is a part of who we are. And that inevitably shows through the creative process.
Looking for inspiration when designing an album cover is not only natural but also a clever way to go about it. Think about your favorite designs and try to understand what set those apart. The best way to make art that goes hand in hand with the classics is surrounding yourself with those inspirations.
So, don’t ever be ashamed of collecting references and incorporating it into your work. Just make sure it’s different enough that it doesn’t qualify as a copy.
Key elements to consider
Whenever you’re designing an album cover, there are a couple of key elements to consider. Below, we made a check list so you can make sure your design is top tier.
There are a couple of different styles you can choose for your album cover. Some artists lean towards graphic design for a minimalist take. Others, would rather do a photoshoot with the band members to introduce them to the listeners.
Whatever is your choice, you must always think about your audience to present your album in a way that will better catch everyone’s attention.
After choosing your style, you can move on to colors. At this stage, it can be useful to read up on the fundamentals of color theory to understand how choosing the right shade can affect your impact.
The choice between a darker or lighter pattern goes hand in hand with the style you’ve picked for your cover.
Some album covers will also feature some typography work. As much as the colors, the fonts you decide to use here can make a difference in communicating your message to the audience.
There’s a myriad of types you can choose: from serif, sans serif and script styles. There are too many variables so you can make it fit your vision. You can find some free to use fonts at DaFont.
You should be mindful that there are some aesthetic choices embedded in your picks for color, typography and style. An illustration can set a whole different mood for your album than a portrait or scenic picture, as an example.
Also, some artists will decide to include their album title right on the cover, while others will simply put up their stage name. There are also cases in which the artist decides to include no lettering at all. Another option here is looking into how to make a band logo.
Hiring a pro vs. Do It Yourself (DYI)
There are basically two paths you go about when making an album cover design.
First, you can hire someone to help you create your vision. The professional can be an illustrator, a photographer, a graphic designer or all three of those.
But if you’re running short on money, you’ll probably try to find a way to make it in the cheapest way possible. This is the reason why some artists will choose to DIY their cover art. Easy to use, Canva seems to be a fan favorite here. But if you’re design skills are a little more advanced, you can go straight to Adobe’s Photoshop or Illustrator.
Art cover and promotion
Designing a cool cover art for your new album is important but not enough to get listeners to stream your songs. You also need to know a thing or two about marketing in order to amplify your audience as much as possible. It’s all of part of learning how to promote your music.
Promotion is a huge part of the music industry. You record the songs, create the album concept and then you can start working in your electronic press kit.
Following the industry’s guidelines
Creativity should be your main fuel when designing your album cover, but there’s still a couple of recommended guidelines to follow.
In order to avoid any copyright complications, it’s important to only use authorized images or illustrations in your design. Your cover is unique to that release, without repetition so not to confuse the audience.
In this day and age, you have to think about all the ways in which your album will be distributed. So, whatever your design is, it needs to work both on tiny phone screens as well as big vinyl covers.
Get your art out there
Creating a good and memorable album cover design can be as important as the music inside that record. So, it’s important to make sure your art is unique and fits the story you are trying to tell.
This is how you can deliver a complete experience and your art has the best chances to reach as many people as possible.
A great ideia to be part of your music promotion strategy is also a lyric video for streaming services. Check out our article on how to make a lyric video!
Magroove can help you craft your own album cover!
If you’re looking for a good cover art for featuring on Spotify and other DSPs, Magroove can help you all the way. Once you sign up with us and upload all your songs for free, you may choose any cover art you want. But if you don’t have one, we have an album cover design tool so you can craft your own quick n’ easy! You can customize in many ways you want and it’ll be of the finest quality.