When it comes to music promotion and distribution, album art is almost as important as the tracks on the album itself. Despite the age-old warning to never ‘judge a book by its cover’, countless music fans are doing just that: judging an album by its artwork. With both CD sales and digital album downloads decreasing significantly in the first half of 2018 according to Nielsen Music, having striking album art is becoming more important than ever before. Due to the fact that visual stimulants precede auditory stimulants, artwork can have a great influence on both the exposure and success of an album, especially among emerging artists. While very few modern-day covers may be able to compete with the likes of Nirvana’s Nevermind or the Beatles’ Abbey Road there are steps that can be taken to ensure that your album art is as effective as possible, boosting your sales accordingly.
Don’t feel obliged to put names and titles on the cover
Unless it is your debut album, you don’t have to feel pressurized into placing your name and album title on our album cover. In our digital age, more people will see your album online than they will in a CD store, which suits ‘textless’ album covers perfectly as online stores and blogs tend to display the artist name and album title next to the cover thumbnail anyway. The extra space you gain by omitting text from the front cover can instead be utilized by great, attention-grabbing graphics. This worked especially well for Wilco’s A Ghost is Born and Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother. A good idea, however, is to have both your name and the album title printed clearly on the spine of the cover to make it easy to locate when stacked together with a lot of other albums.
Imagery is everything
Any graphics that are used on an album cover should convey the same message as the album itself. Whereas soft colors and flowing lines might do well on the cover of an instrumental album, it will not do a rock or hip-hop album any justice. Photo images, hand-drawn illustrations, and computerized graphics can all be used to great effect as can the choice to not use any images at all. Human faces and other body parts such as hands generally make for very striking album covers. One of Green Day’s most popular albums in terms of cover art is American Idiot which features a rather abstract hand grasping a bleeding, heart-shaped hand grenade. Artists such as the late John Lennon, for instance, have found that simple facial photographs and illustrations have found great appeal with his fan base.
Minimalism is popular
When you take a look at some of the most iconic album covers of all times, such as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and The Script’s Science & Faith you will notice how simple they actually are. While some albums may very well require an elaborate design, others don’t and it is important to be able to distinguish into which category your album falls. Back in the 90s and early 2000s, it was very popular for artists and bands to include their songs lyrics on their album inserts. Today, this practice is often considered overkill especially since there are countless websites that focus solely on providing song lyrics to eager fans. If you do feel that adding lyrics may be a nice touch to your insert, limit yourself to choosing one or two popular tracks instead of trying to cram the words to 13 songs onto a very small space.
Your album cover ultimately has the ability to boost or completely ruin your album sales. If you are unsure of which route to take in terms of album art it is best to seek out professional assistance from a service provider that will be able to help you come up with a striking, relevant design.