Designing album covers is one of the most important aspects of releasing your music. It is how most Spotify users judge a song before even clicking “play.” It has to capture the essence of the song while still remaining on brand. There are a lot of trends for 2020, and we wanted to share them with you.
Font-size is one of the most important things to pay attention to while designing album covers. Make sure your font is at least 16pt to ensure that it is readable on a tiny screen.
If you make your name and the title of the single too small, it will be impossible for fans to see it on their smartphones. 2 out of every 10 Spotify listens happen on a phone – so you will lose the opportunity to make an impression on a potential new fan who discovers you in a playlist if they glance at the art to find the title/your name and they can’t read it.
We wrote an entire blog post all about picking out the perfect font, click here to read it.
Another note: make sure the contrast between the background photo and the color of your font is high. This way, it will not get lost in the image.
Single Image Art
Another trend we have been watching closely is simple image art. They don’t have the artist name or title on it at all. We only suggest doing this if you have somewhat of a larger following already, as this is an opportunity for brand awareness. Also, if you are going to go this route – stick with it. Your audience will immediately recognize a text-less album cover as yours if that is your brand. Follow it for all art to make sure your brand awareness is consistent.
Another trend for designing album covers that has been growing over the past year or so are graphically manipulated images. Much like Shawn Mendes’ self-titled album cover. Having a surreal image as eye-grabbing as Mendes’ cover immediately intrigues a listener scrolling through music. Chances are, if your cover is cool enough, they’ll click to take a listen. Get creative with it.
This one is tried and true. Not a new trend – but one that has worked for years. Using your signature as the “Artist Name” text on your album or single cover is the perfect way to build brand awareness. People will get to know your signature (which is so uniquely yours!) and will immediately recognize this. A lot of today’s top artists have taken this route and it works wonderfully.
One of the most studied, and proven true, trends is using faces in your artwork. Faces are proving to be much more memorable compared to using landscapes as album artwork. The less unattractive, more unusual faces are more memorable than attractive. Looking at Denzel Curry’s album Taboo, the images used are so unusual they become etched in our brains.The front cover features Denzel’s face covered in face paint while the back cover has his face covered in blood with a nonchalant face. Creating artwork with your face not only increases recognition and exposure, but also helps you stand out from the crowd when doing something unexpected in the artwork.
Drawing Attention to One Object
There is another method of getting your fans’ attention and that is through drawing attention to a unique object. There is the use of complimentary colors throughout the artwork and there is the use of odd objects placed within the artwork. The colors orange and blue have the highest contrast of complimentary colors, meaning they will stand out with minimal effort as our brains can recognize it so quickly. Colors are also connected to emotions. The colors chosen can influence the listener to feel a certain way when looking at the artwork. The color scheme can also match the emotions behind the music itself.
You can also use static indoor scenes or human-scale objects to draw attention. Landscapes are forgettable, it’s the oddball that’s going to get remembered. Blondie’s Parallel Lines is a fine example of this trend as there are actual parallel lines as the background for the artwork. They also implement the color contrast trend to draw attention to a single object. Debbie Harry is not only front and center, but she is also wearing white while her bandmates are all dressed in black.
Illustrated Album Art
Perhaps the most unique trend of all lately has been illustration. There are so many graphic artists out there that are skilled in creating beautifully illustrated digital art. This will intrigue people and immediately peak their interest in listening to your song. One of our clients, Eric Selby, had his album cover illustrated by the very talented Kelley Wills. There are two kinds of illustrated art – one that is completely illustrated, and one that is illustration atop a photograph.