No matter what you’re doing with your music, it needs album art. Album art is the first impression people are going to get of your music, even before the first song. Even listeners tend to click on new music that looks appealing to them based on the album art alone. That can seem pretty daunting, especially when you have no clue how you’re going to get original album art.
There’s an easy and affordable solution to that—create it yourself! You don’t need to be Van Gogh to create great album art and here’s how you do it!
Find Your Style
The first thing you should do is figure out what kind of look you want your album art to have. You can do this by looking at the album art of musicians you admire or by scrolling through music you’ve never listened to before and seeing what kind of art draws you in and makes you want to listen to that song or album.
Once you’ve collected a few examples of album art you’re drawn too, take a closer look at each of them and ask yourself questions like “Why am I drawn to this?” “What is similar about all the examples?” “What is the style of this art?” “What works and what doesn’t work?”
You also might want to take note of some key stylistic choices. Are the colours bright or muted? Are they warmer or cooler or even black and white? What is the main subject of the art? Is it simple or does it have a lot going on?
All of these things are things you should take note of about other album art because it’ll help you decide what you want yours to look like. If the ones you were attracted to the most tended to have lots of bright colours and patterns, then you should probably go for something involving that in your own art. If you liked art that was darker with a singular subject like a person or a face, then go for something like that.
“Look at the artwork used by similar bands and artists you admire and see how you could [use] their ideas to fit your own style. Don’t just copy them though, make sure your artwork is completely original.” – Ditto Music
Get Ideas From Your Brand
As a musician, you’ve created a brand for yourself. By doing so you’ve already needed to stylistically match the look of your brand to the sound of your music.
“Defining your brand is about defining yourself. With something like this, where opinions can feel so personal, you need to make sure your brand is something so important to you that you can believe in it even with hurt feelings.” – Remix
Often, there are overarching visual themes to what you’ve presented about yourself on social media as well as themes to your music. Those may be auditory, but they’ll play a role in the art that will represent them. Music that’s fast-paced and joyful should likely have a more colourful album cover. If you tend to post a lot about something in particular on social media, like the ocean, then you might consider incorporating something to do with that.
Now That You Know Your Style, It’s Time to Create It
Without hiring a graphic designer to do it for you, there are tons of tools that you can access to make your album art yourself. With all those ideas you’ve gained from the previous two steps, you can hop onto something as simple as an app to make your art.
Here are some apps you can try out that are listed by DIY Musician:
There are tons of other programs you can use out there like Canva. It’s useful to try out a few of them to see which one you’re most comfortable on and have the most creative freedom with.
It’s always a good idea to create a few versions of your album art to get feedback on from your friends to see which one is most effective. This doesn’t mean creating a bunch of entirely different ones. It can be as simple as deciding between fonts or the saturation level of a photo. Always look for feedback!
You don’t have to be a professional graphic designer to create your own album art. All you need is ideas, free images, an editing program, and the drive to try your best!
If you’re a musician who needs help with managing their social media, contact us today to set up a FREE discovery session with our team – we’d love to help!