Are you working on your first album cover design? Are you in the dark when it comes to the appropriate styles and techniques to use?
Designing an album cover is a tall order considering its impact on sales. A seasoned band or an artist who is already a household name may get away with a pedestrian album cover design. But if your client is launching its very first album, the cover becomes more important.
Essentially, you want the cover to attract fans. But what if you don’t know how to design an album cover?
Continue reading below as we give you 10 of the most important tips for designing a great album cover.
1. Understand Your Audience
The first thing you should do is to revisit your audience. Who are the people you are planning to cater to? Are you targeting the younger generation?
Or do you want to reach out to a more mature group of listeners? From there, build a direction of how you want your album cover to look like. You want something that instantly attracts your target market.
At the same time, you want something that will pique the interest of prospective listeners.
2. Use the Right Colors
Another key element behind an effective album cover is your color scheme selection. You can use colors to evoke emotions from the audience. When they see the right mix of colors, it can strike a chord in their being that may push them to buy the album.
The key is to align the album’s color scheme with the type of music in the album. If the music is melancholic, grey and dark blue tones will work. If the music is happy and upbeat, try brighter options like orange and yellow.
it’s acoustic and chill-type, pastel colors will work best.
3. Use the Right Fonts
When it comes to fonts, you need to use them carefully. Like the color schemes, fonts contribute to the album’s personality. You will use them in the title, the branding, the tracklist, and the inner jacket.
If the artist or music is EDM or indie rock, serif fonts will work. If it’s hard or heavy metal, try some display fonts. Meanwhile, use funky fonts for acoustic and laid-back music.
Also, be creative with the text. Consider using fading effects. If not, make the text stand out with compelling visuals.
4. The Right Imagery and Style
Having the right colors and fonts are not enough. You need to complement them with effective imagery and style. Here, you can incorporate collages and abstract graphics.
If ever there is a hierarchy in images, it is the faces that will stand out most. An image of the artist’s face with the right color scheme and fonts will easily catch people’s attention.
Much like with the colors and fonts, make sure that the image and overall style are in line with the artist’s identity or music.
5. Less Is More
The rule of “less is more” also applies in creating an album cover design. Keep in mind that keeping things simple doesn’t equate to being boring. The key, however, lies in being creative in certain patterns.
You may also use some transparency effect in your design. Incorporating sleeves using silkscreen material for the cover will give the audience a glimpse of what’s inside.
Try to stay away from designs with too many intricate details.
6. Consider Versatility
As your client starts to build up noise and create a buzz about the album, you don’t expect them to rely on solely showing the actual album itself. They will use social media or the music app on your digital watch.
They may also decide to showcase it on a huge billboard. Hence, you need to be versatile in your album designs. Make sure the details will come out clear whether on a billboard or your smartphone screen.
Moreover, the cover and its details must be visible when people look at it on Spotify or iTunes.
7. Add Space Wisely
Sometimes, adding some space makes a huge difference in the album’s appeal. But make sure you add space wisely. This means adding white spaces to get rid of any clutter.
You may also incorporate those spaces to highlight an important detail of the cover. This detail can be a photo or a text that you wish the audience to notice easily. And if you came up with a compelling artwork, you can add some space to make it pop even more.
8. Track List and Legal Info
The tracklist and legal information of the record do not normally appear in the front cover. But the back part of the album is somewhat an extension of the entire presentation.
Thus, reserve a space for the tracklist and the legal info. For the tracklist, you may use the same font as the text in the front.
You may also go in a different direction.
But make sure the words are easy to read. For the legal information, stick to a plain font that is easy to read. If you think the details will take up a lot of space, consider moving the legal info inside the sleeve.
9. Creativity in Packaging
If the artist is looking to release the record in vinyl, use creative packaging solutions. If you want to be economical, try screen-printing the packaging. The goal is to add a little twist to the packaging.
10. Listen to the Music
If you are struggling to come up with a design concept, draw some inspiration from the music. If you are the artist and you are making your own album cover, getting inspiration is easy. But if you are a designer, internalize the music’s lyrics.
Get a feel of what the song is trying to convey. From there, see where your emotions and creativity lead you.
Go Beyond Album Cover Design
By following these tips, you can create a compelling album cover design that appeals to the audience. But if you’re looking to design other marketing items, then you need to further expand your knowledge.
Learn more about graphic design through our different blog posts. We discuss concepts and ideas that will help you create masterful designs.
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