Design Tips: How to Design an Album Cover

Posted on Mon, 05/06/2024 - 12:00am

As an artist, first impressions are everything. It’s how you extend your personal and professional identity. It’s how you sell albums. 

Unfortunately, the old saying “Never judge a book by its cover” simply doesn’t apply to music. Perhaps it’s because an album, when compared with a book, is as much about the artist as it is about the music. 

Either way, having a memorable album cover is a sure means to be noticed. And with higher-than-ever competition in the music industry, the proof is in the pudding. It’s critical for music artists to do everything they can to stand out from the pack. 

Here in this article, we’ll uncover just a few of the top tips when designing album covers for your next release. 

How to Make an Album Cover Shine 

Signal Your Genre 

Your listeners probably have a few genres they prefer. Even when hunting for new music, most listeners like to stay inside the lanes, so to speak. 

This likely means you need to deal with some industry cliches. Consider these few contemporary examples and try to guess what genre we intended: 

  • A burly bearded male wearing a cowboy hat 
  • A medium shot of a person holding a saxophone 
  • An abstract, geometric design bathed in high-contrast pastel colors 
  • A twenty-something girl staring at the camera 

If your answers were country, jazz, indie, and pop, then we’re on the same page! 

Now, obviously, we were dealing with extreme cliches in those examples. But you get the idea. Even without hearing a single bar of music, we know what kind of music they likely represent. 

The design choices you make signal a lot about the music that awaits inside. So, prime your audience with what to expect, and you might grow your listenership. 

Brand Your Band 

While lots of artists reinvent themselves from album to album, there’s honestly nothing better than consistency. Having an aesthetic that is maintained is a great way to show how each release is part of a larger body of work. 

One of the ways many musical artists do this is by branding their band. With professional logo design, every release can ensure the listener understands the band or artist who created it. Here are a few examples from music legend: 

  • ABBA, with the first “B” being reversed 
  • The Beatles, with the extra tall “T” in the middle 
  • The Grateful Dead, with a lightning bolt and circle inside a skull 
  • And countless others 

If you want to create a true body of work, consider designing an album cover with a unique and special logo. 

As a bonus, this is not just how to make a good album cover. It’s a great way to up your concert merch game, too! 

Consider the Mediums 

Your album cover needs to look good wherever it is. This includes both physical formats and streaming services. When designing an album cover, work with a designer who knows how to think in scale for eye-catching album cover art design. 

Go for Broke 

If you wish to design an album cover that becomes iconic, do something truly unique. Here are just a few of the album covers that are still being talked about: 

  • The Velvet Underground’s yellow banana, as designed by Andy Warhol 
  • The Beatles’ completely blank White Album 
  • The prism for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon 
  • The group shot in front of the White House for Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly 
  • The naked baby swimming for a dollar on Nirvana’s Nevermind 
  • And countless others 

Every one of these pushed boundaries. They brought an artist’s eye and perspective to the cover. And they created something that was bound to be talked about, shared, and remembered forever. 

Craft a Truly Memorable Album Cover 

The only way to ensure your album cover is high quality is by working with a renowned printing house to craft it. 

At Blank Media Printing, we work with musical artists from all genres to craft album artwork that gets noticed. And this includes everything from custom sleeves and jackets to unique combo boxes. 

Get the album artwork your creation deserves. Order today

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