Bands, Designing, Marketing

4 tips to design the perfect album cover

Want to make an album cover but not sure where to start? Here are our top 4 tips to design the perfect album cover like a pro.

So you’ve put your heart and soul into creating the most incredible album. Congratulations! As a young and budding musician, you now might be confused about how to introduce your musical baby to the world. 

Well, you start by making an album cover. Without a hefty designing and marketing budget, it’s possible to feel overwhelmed by this part of the music making process. However, making your own album cover is now easier than ever. With the right album cover maker, you can easily create something that fits your aesthetic and sells your music.

A good album cover is extremely important because it’s a visual gateway to your music. It tells people about the kind of artist you are and the kind of music you’ve made. Essentially, your album cover will determine whether or not someone buys your music. 

In this article, we’re giving you some top design strategies so that you can create a professional album cover all on your own. 

Let’s dive in, shall we?

1. Focus on colors

People often underestimate the role colors play in determining mood, actions, and feelings. Truthfully, the colors you use send a message about how someone is supposed to feel in a particular moment. This is known as color psychology, and it’s a breakthrough in terms of designing and marketing. 

When you’re designing your cover, pay special attention to the colors you use. Answer these two questions before you settle on a color scheme:

  • How do you want your listeners to feel when listening to your music?
  • What vibe do you want to give off when people first come across your album cover?

Once you’ve determined these things, create a mood board to get a comprehensive idea of what colors are right for your cover. For instance, if you want people to dance and feel happy, use warmer colors. If the album is melancholic, use blue or some variation of cooler colors. 

Color combinations are also an important consideration. Combinations are made on the color wheel:

There are three winning combinations you can pick from once you’ve made a mood board:

  • Complementary colors – opposites on the color wheel e.g. blue and orange
  • Analogous colors – side by side on the color wheel e.g. dark green and lime green
  • Triadic colors – three, equally spaced colors on the color wheel e.g. purple, orange, and blue

Once you have a combination you like, incorporate into your cover and make it your focus. 

2. Play around with imagery

Images are typically the central focus of your album cover. Humans are visual creatures, therefore, an appealing image will do wonders for your album sales. 

Before we get into the different directions you can go in when coming up with your image, there are some things you need to think about. Mainly, your focus image should reflect who you are as an artist. To figure this out, ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s your musical inspiration?
  • What vibe do your songs give off?
  • What genre are you focusing on?
  • Who’s your target audience?
  • What was your train of thought like when making your music?

These questions will help you determine what kind of image would work best for your cover. 

The next thing you need to reflect on is how you want to be perceived when your album comes out. For instance, is this album going to be a departure from things you’ve done in the past? If so, you’ll have to structure your image accordingly. 

Figuring out creative direction

Once you answer these questions and come up with a vision for your image, you can start thinking about the creative direction you want to go in. 

If your music is happy and jolly, add images that reflect that. A good idea in this case would be to go big and chaotic – go for a maximalist image or a collage that showcases everything you want your listener to feel. 

If you’re going for a sadder, more serious vibe, keep your cover neutral with minimalist imagery with subtle cues that hint towards specific songs. 

Whatever image you choose, make sure it blends seamlessly with the other elements on your cover, just like this cover by Deryaba Templates. The image of the cloud fits neatly with the text and the image in the background. Use our album cover maker to add your ideal image easily to a template. 

3. Choose the right font

Like all the other elements, the font you choose should represent what you and your album stand for. Once you establish your aesthetic through the first two strategies, you will undoubtedly have a clear idea of what font would go with your design.

There are mainly four types of fonts you can choose from:

  • Serif – traditional 
  • Sans serif – modern and crisp
  • Slab serif – a squared off, blocky version of serif
  • Script – handwritten cursive

A font allows you to bring your words to life and encourage the listener to feel the emotion you want them to feel. The right font will be visually pleasing and bring all the elements on your cover together.

For instance, if you’ve made a hip hop album, a loud font from the slab serif category would be a good fit. On the other hand, if you’ve made an indie album, a sans serif font would do a good job if you want to depict a more somber vibe.

Take a look at this design by Marcus Aurelius. The cover is meant to be a vintage design. Apart from the minimalist image, the title portrays this vibe through the font used.

4. Consider multiple formats

Creating an album cover today is nothing like how it was back in the 70s. Even though vinyls have made a comeback, you will still have to release your album on multiple other platforms, both online and offline. 

This is why you need to make sure your cover looks good across platforms. Consider iTunes and Spotify. Your cover will have to be high resolution and look good as a small box on the corner of a screen.

At the same time, your cover also needs to work on large vinyl records, CDs, and billboards. 

So you’ll have to adjust your design style accordingly. Draw up a rough draft of your cover, keeping in mind sizes and placements. Then adjust them according to different sizes and see if everything is still visible and aesthetically sound. 

As a general rule, these are the dimensions you should follow:

  • For streaming services: 1600 x 1600 pixels – 3000 x 3000 pixels 
  • For physical CD covers: 4.72in x 4.72 inches (perfect square)

PosterMyWall offers preset sizes for album covers to make your design process smoother. You also have the option to resize your cover to convert it into advertisements and vice versa.

Consider comboing your album covers with poster content that sells your album cover and music’s general vibe. If your music aims to create a nostalgic vibe of the 90’s, consider trying these vintage poster templates.

Final thoughts

Your music deserves to be heard, which is why it’s so important to get the album cover right. The key takeaway here is to focus on individual elements and make sure each one is perfect. Once you do that, spend some time to bind all the elements together and make it look beautiful.

Throughout the designing process, remember to stay true to yourself as an artist. Show people what your brand is like and what your music represents.

So get started with PosterMyWall’s album cover maker and create something truly inspiring seamlessly and in a cost effective way.