The most successful album covers aren't only eye-catching and distinctive, but also complement the material they're printed on.
Album covers put artists and graphic designers to the test, often yielding astounding results!
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Why Do You Need An Album Cover? Why Is It Important?
When you view album art while you listen to the music, doesn't it make you feel a certain way?
Doesn't your perspective on the music change once you view the album cover?
This is why having an album cover that fit's your music's vibe is extremely important in the music business.
Or you could be like Kanye, and just go with a completely black image.
That's cool too. But you're not Kanye.
How Do I Make An Iconic Album Cover?
Here's are some tips you can use to create a successful, iconic album cover by yourself!
You have three options when deciding how to get a stunning album cover design.
Use a free album cover maker (like this one!)
Create one yourself
Pay a professional designer
The Importance Of Color
The colors used on an album cover are incredibly important, therefore artists should think about them thoroughly.
To the audience, the colors might convey a warm or chilly intellectual message.
They can see if the musician is in the mood to get deep and personal with their listeners.
Each musician has a message for his listeners, thus he needs to give careful consideration to the album's color scheme.
Color Psychology - Why It Matters
Color is the best way to get your message across.
Whether you are aware of it or not, color can make you feel things, make you do things, and change the way you think.
It can make you feel happy or calm, raise or lower your blood pressure, and even make you hungry!
Whether it's something we're born with or something we learn, color has a huge effect on how we live.
Now that you know the basics of color theory, you can look at the psychology of each color with a bit more depth.
As we've seen, color is more than just something you see. It can affect your mood, what you want, how you react, and so on.
But you can't get the most out of something so powerful if you don't know how to use it well.
Putting the album's title and artist's name on the cover isn't enough to create a classic album cover.
If you want your listeners to stay interested in your record and your particular kind of music, you'll need to get inventive.
That's why, after coming up with a creative album title, musicians and songwriters convene and reach consensus on the finest letters and fonts to employ.
A simple, memorable format is necessary so that the message can be read and retained by the intended audience.
If your album's artwork is top-notch, your fans are more likely to be pleased and eagerly anticipate its follow-up.
Fake Images or Real Images?
Recently, a trend has emerged of using actual photographs for album covers.
Some others depict fantastical settings with no basis in reality.
Impressive visuals are included to stimulate contemplation.
Some advertisers propose that record producers use artwork that has nothing to do with the songs' actual meaning.
That's just a tried-and-true method of advertising meant to get people to listen to the music to find the meaning.
If you want to find the perfect controversial photos for your album cover, you may also accomplish so by making fun of the standard procedure.
You should be aware of this fact if you want to persuade more people to buy your album and listen to your music since everyone wants to buy an album that complains about anything.
Can I Use My Own Photos?
Many artists are asked if they can use their own images, and still have a successful album cover design.
The truth is, you absolutely can. In fact, we encourage you to do so!
Using your own images can evoke certain emotions
What Makes An Album Cover Iconic?
The music behind an album's iconic cover art is equally as important as the design.
Furthermore, a number of these album covers have become cultural icons due to the profound connection between the song and the artwork.
Each contributes to the overall effect, making for a timeless work of art or design.
Examples Of Iconic Album Covers - Nirvana
Let's start with an example of Nirvana's "Nevermind" from 1991. This album cover was extremely absurd, and controversial for that time period.
In some ways, this album cover is very similar to Nirvana's grungy music. It's absurd, funny, random, and in your face!
Fun fact, the baby in this album cover (who is now 30) filed a lawsuit against Nirvana.
His name is Spencer Elden, and in August 2021 he sued Nirvana.
When he was taken picture for the cover, Elden was only 4 months old. Now 30, he was seeking $150,000 in damages.
The defendants in the case, which included former band members, Kurt Cobain's estate, photographer Kirk Weddle, Universal Music, Geffen Records, Warner Records, and MCA Music, filed a motion to dismiss the case last month.
Elden's lawyers had until Dec. 30 to respond to the motion, but they missed the deadline, so the case was thrown out. Crazy.
Know Your Audience
What do you want your listeners to feel when they hear your music?
Seriously, what message are you trying to get across?
This is why knowing your audience is crucial to the success of your music album, and why album cover art can greatly increase that. If you're album has a laid-back/happy kind of vibe, would you put a graveyard as your album art?
No, of course not!
Knowing your audience is important, and in reality this just boils down to knowing your music.
Know Your Music
Would Slipknot have a field of flowers as their cover art?
Would Taylor Swift have an album cover of guns, drugs, and money?
Maybe, but most likely not.
Knowing what "vibe" your music gives off can save you a lot of hassle when attempting to design cover art!
Use Album Cover Templates
Album cover templates are all across the internet.
If you'd like to see the best album cover templates, check out our blog on that here!
When it comes to album cover templates though, you have to be careful.
A lot of websites that offer album cover templates often have paywalls at the end of them, which ends up wasting your time and money.
If you're looking for a free album cover maker, check this out!
Another downside to generic album cover design software, is that your album cover will end up looking the exact same as someone else's on the internet.
This is easily avoidable, by choosing a personable, trustworthy website to create your album art.
Free Album Cover Art Makers
There are tons of album cover templates online, but only a few are actually half decent.
Here's a list of the top album cover template design softwares online (free!).
Top Album Cover Template Software Online - 2023
The reason we believe that Boost Collective is the best place for a free album cover design is because we personalize it just for you!
Instead of getting a generic looking cover art from a pool of album cover templates, we go above and beyond and create your own cover art for free!
There are a lot of great music album cover templates out there, but the superior winner is Boost Collective!
How To Use AI To Create Your Album Cover
Yes, we've established that there are multiple album cover template services available.
But with the expansion of AI, you might not even need a service, you could just use AI!
It's not 100% yet, but with some creativity, you can create the most insane music album cover ever!
It's a program called DALL-E-2, and it allows people to type in keywords, which it then creates a custom picture using those words.
It's 100% original (to my knowledge), and can come up with some super complex designs.
The best part about this software, is that it's 100% free for the public to use.
It could potentially be the next best album cover maker on the market.
How To Use DALL-E-2 To Create An Album Cover
First, go to openai.com and find the DALL-E-2 tool.
Create a free account, then find this word bar.
Type in some keywords, and boom you have your next album cover!
For example, I looked up "musician in a canoe on a pond", here's what popped up!
Looks like a pretty cool album cover ay?
Here's some other cool designs I came up with/found:
The Best Album Cover Maker
The best album cover design service/album cover maker of all time is (drum roll please!)...
Below, we'll create an album cover for your latest music album for free!
Free Vs Paid Album Art
Many artists find themselves wondering if they should pay for their album covers, or use an album cover maker.
To be honest, it doesn't really matter.
As long as you have an eye catching album cover, which has good visual representation, and displays your song as a professional album, you should be all set!
You can get good album covers online for absolutely no cost, or you can hire a professional to design your perfect album cover.
If you get your music album professionally designed, you will have a little bit more say about the small details, during the design process itself.
Best Design Features In Album Covers
Some of the best design features in album covers come from the stupid little details.
For example, in ASTROWORLD, the album cover has many random pictures of people with a big Travis Scott looking figure in the background.
What makes this album cover so iconic, is the emotions it provokes.
It's like you're taking a dive into Travis' world, how he expresses himself, and what he's thinking.
Details matter, so add subtle references to make your album cover unique!
Think About The CD
What would your album cover look like on CD covers?
Many artists get so caught up in what their amazing album cover will look like online (cover thumbnail, social media posts), but what about the cd cover?
Or the back cover of a vinyl?
These are important when considering what your amazing album artwork is going to look like (not just on Spotify or Apple Music).
Yes, when most people listen to a music album, they do so online.
But, millions of modern music listeners are still purchasing CDs, so make sure that CD cover looks professional!
Things To Consider
Here are some music distribution guidelines you'll have to follow in order to successfully upload your own album cover designs to the internet.
Whether its heavy metal album covers, or the next big rap album, it's important for you as the artist to follows these guidelines.
10 Album Cover Guidelines For Artists
- A size of at least 3000 pixels by 3000 pixels
- A resolution of at least 72dpi
- JPEG file format (not all music distributors accept PNG or GIF).
- Only include text that says the name of the artist and the name of the release.
- Do not add text that says "Exclusive," "Limited Edition," "New Release," the release date, or anything else that gives a time frame. Keep your album art classic.
- Cover art can't have any URLs, logos, or references to a Digital Service Provider, record label, website, or other brands.
- Do not include email addresses, social media logos, URLs, or any other way to contact you.
- Don't say anything about prices.
- The cover art can't say whether the product is physical or digital.
- The cover art can't mention things that aren't in the release.
We hope you found this helpful!
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