Effective Album Cover Design Tips: Turning Sound into Art


From nation and western to synth-pop, discover the whole lot it’s good to know with the following tips for designing the right album cowl.

In terms of creating album paintings, there aren’t too many sensible components to think about. Not like an occasion poster, a flyer, or a digital advert, all of which comprise details about who, what, and the place, album covers are a lot looser. Their function is the embody the sound and the soul of the music inside — a frightening job for any artist! This text covers just a few ideas for approaching and finalizing the album paintings you get to work on.

Earlier than we get into the weeds in regards to the artistry of album covers, let’s take into consideration the core function of album paintings.

Why Do Album Covers Matter?

Album paintings capabilities as the principle illustration of a physique of music. Identical to a e book cowl, it’s the at-a-glance view of what’s inside. Whether or not listeners are flipping by vinyls or, extra probably, flipping a Spotify playlist, the album cowl may be the make-or-break second for his or her deciding to hear or not.

If the paintings seems like an afterthought, it’s simpler for individuals to imagine the music has been handled in the identical vogue. Understanding the significance of that paintings (particularly within the digital age), ought to will let you consider that album as a one shot impression of that musical physique of labor.

1. Really Take heed to the Music!

So first issues first. If consumer doesn’t have already got a crystal clear concept of what they need, ask them to allow you to hearken to the album. In my expertise most critical artists will will let you hearken to the album with the caveat that you simply simply don’t share it.

Discover a theme. Is it darkish and moody? Shiny and energetic? Or is it gritty and uncooked? The theme ought to offer you a snapshot into the overall path you need to head. It’s at all times higher to know the product you’re selling earlier than you dig in for the pitch.

If for some purpose you possibly can’t hearken to the music, draw on a number of the artist’s previous work as an alternative.

2. Use Pictures from the Recording Artist

Picture by way of TLP MediaWorks.

Does the artist have any images that they need use? In that case, that’s an awesome begin. From there, you are able to do a  variety of issues with it. You’ll be able to reduce it out and create a collage. You can also make an illustration from it. Or, you possibly can misery it. You’re solely restricted to your personal particular set of instruments. Ask your self what you are able to do to take that picture and make it match the temper.

As at all times, search for inspiration by way of how others have handled images on album covers. Did they crop it, change the colours, or just add textual content? Did they superimpose it onto a billboard to create a brand new atmosphere? It’s at all times good to discover totally different remedies to see what suits the temper of the album.

Keep in mind that having a photograph doesn’t imply you need to use it in any respect. Counsel different choices if you happen to really feel like you have got a extra executable concept or an concept that may higher symbolize the album. That is additionally the time to both mockup, sketch, or present them examples of what you’re considering. The extra the artist can see it, the extra probably they’re to go for it. 

No drawback. Take the preliminary impression you gleaned, and take into consideration how one can convey it. There’s at all times the choice of making your personal images that represents the vibe. Arrange a shoot, both by your self or get others concerned.

3. Follow Your Personal Model

Determine an fascinating picture that might symbolize the work, then determine how finest to convey it. It doesn’t should be wildly elaborate or require costly tools. Should you can convey it effectively sufficient it should work. So, use your instruments like customized images, portray, graphic design, and illustration. That’s almost certainly the rationale the artist trusted you to place a face to the sound. So, belief your judgement. They need you to do you.

Play to your strengths. They’re asking you to deal with it like a few of your previous work since they like what they’ve already seen. With the correct amount of creativity, you are able to do what you do finest, however with the artist’s physique of labor as inspiration. 

Picture by way of TLP MediaWorks.

4. Match the Typography to the Music

As at all times, a poor selection in typography could make a design look low cost. Ideally, you need to make the would-be listener see a picture that appears refined, no matter how easy or difficult the design is. If the duvet is refined, they may assume the music behind it’s as effectively.

Do your analysis and look into what sorts of fonts different individuals have used for related albums. Discover fonts which are easy, but maintain a aptitude for the album’s style. For instance, if it’s a rustic album, search for Western fonts. Discover inspiration by researching how individuals painted indicators within the Outdated West. If it’s retro wave music, discover ephemera from the interval so your design will finally look genuine and refined, not like an afterthought.

Additionally, steer clear of fashionable ornamental fonts. If it’s fashionable, it’s been used rather a lot, and almost certainly not effectively. So, dig deeper and discover font varieties that the typical designer wouldn’t select. 

5. Make Textual content Placement Straightforward to Perceive

Picture by way of TLP MediaWorks.

In terms of placement, I’ve at all times adhered to the “much less is extra” modality. I imply that strictly within the sense of how a lot actual property the textual content occupies. If it’s a extra difficult kind therapy, it’s possible you’ll need to make it greater for readability. If it’s easy, make it small. As at all times, stroll away in some unspecified time in the future so you possibly can come again to it with contemporary eyes. Ideally, when a possible listener sees the design they need to perceive it in lower than a second. If it doesn’t make sense, make some changes.

There are just a few easy templates to comply with. You’ll be able to have the artist’s title high heart, and the album title centered as effectively on the backside. Or, place the artist’s title high left, with the album title within the backside proper. The explanation a number of album covers deploy the latter strategy is as a result of most western languages learn high to backside, left to proper. 

You may as well stack the artist’s title on high of the album title. That is actually the time to experiment. Should you’ve chosen your fonts accurately, you possibly can mess around till you have got a contented medium between the visible and the typography. Don’t hesitate to make a number of variations to run previous the artist. 

It’s necessary for the artists to be a part of the method. You need to share strong concepts with them, however however you don’t need to share something you’re not 100% about, as a result of they generally selected it. Belief your judgement. Then, whenever you’re accomplished take a look at the duvet and ask your self if the duvet represents the music. If sure, your job is completed.

All album paintings created by Todd Little and TLP MediaWorks.

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