5 Reasons Design Matters When Creating an Album Cover

In theory you should be able to look at an album cover and get an instant feel for what the music will be like when you listen to it. If the cover is dark and broody you wouldn’t expect bubblegum pop music, nor would you expect heavy metal when the cover has waterfalls and rainbows. 

Source: Unsplash

Design is critical when you’re creating an album cover for your music. While the music itself will make an impact, the cover could make or break how well it sells once it hits the store shelves. Not only should the cover design stand out, but it should also pique curiosity and get people excited to start listening the moment they buy it. Whether you believe it or not, design is critical when designing an album cover and here’s why. 

It Impacts Emotions

Design in general gives us certain feels. Think about how you feel looking at a photograph of people in a third world country, a mother holding a baby, or an image of a kitten. Just like photographs impact our emotions, designs do as well. The images, graphics, and text all work together to create a feeling. 

When you’re making an album cover, you need to think about the music and the emotions around it. Something light and airy may not work as well for a serious album. If you’re not sure how to create the emotions you want, there are companies like Volt Creative in Nashville who specialize in creating album art for bands and creatives in the music industry. 

It’s Memorable

The best album designs you can think back on many years later. Smashing Pumpkins had incredible album covers in the 90’s that many fans can still remember to this day. Why is that important? Not only can you remember the cover, but it can also trigger reminders of the music, and how it felt to pick up that album and put on your favorite song. Album design should be a fluid extension of the music. 

Changes Customer Perception

Have you ever seen an album with a bad design? Did it make you want to buy it, or did it make you feel like maybe the music was subpar as well? Artists know that they need to invest in quality album design so that people are not put off by the images and will be more likely to buy it. If your perception based on the album design is that the music will be fun and upbeat, then when you hear the music, it will meet your expectations. If the music doesn’t fit the album design, you might be disappointed. This is not because the music is bad, but the cover gave you an expectation that wasn’t met. 

Creates Brand Consistency

When you pick up an album from Tenacious D, the album cover helps you recognize who it is. From one album to the next, design can help create brand consistency and can also help create transitions when bands and artists are moving in a new direction. The album cover can be designed in such a way to show the transformation. 

If you’re one of those people who buys a new album from your favorite bands the instant it comes out, these subtle design elements can help you stay connected to the music you love so much. Brand consistency is critical to keep customers and fans happy now and in the future. 

Helps You Target the Right Audience

When you’re marketing Tool, you’re going to need a much different design aesthetic than when you’re marketing Taylor Swift. The audiences for these artists each have very different needs. Album cover design helps you connect with and communicate to the right audience. You need to consider how the content such as the band name connects to the images and any additional design elements. 

You’ll also need to think about the color scheme and not only how it communicates the music, but how it speaks to the buyer. Whether your listener is looking at the album cover on an iPad in New York or paging through records at a music store in Southern California, there is only one second to make a first impression. Artist made album covers often have some pop or jolt to gain your attention, while covers that are photography tend to have some interesting imagery too, just think of Nirvana. 

A red cover will communicate danger, while green and blue can create a sense of peace. Album cover design takes all of these factors into account. The same principles that apply to music covers also apply to digital art and packaging as well.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top