How’s Your Single Cover Art Game? Read This to Up It!
The music industry release schedule is exhausting—there’s no doubt about that. The shift toward releasing singles over full-length albums is here to stay and that means you need to think about your single cover art This change means instead of one piece of single cover art for the album and one for the lead single, artists now have to create artwork for each and every release, which can feel a lot more overwhelming!
What’s the big deal?
Maybe you’re wondering why artwork is a big deal at all. I have two phrases for you word for you:
Narrative is key
Emotions are key
There are 5 key emotions – joy, fear, sadness, disgust and anger. – Think Disney’s Pixar movie Inside Out, Your single cover art should evoke one of these feelings. I did a quick search of the most iconic covers of all time and some tried-and-trues popped up:
A cohesive brand identity is crucial for success in today’s music industry. By having a cohesive set of artwork you’re telling a story. Having a cohesive palette and aesthetic that aligns with your storytelling means standing out, and you know what standing out means. It means getting seen. More fans. Success.
This consistency extends across all platforms, from Instagram to Twitter and all social media, ensuring synchronicity with the narrative you present. Album artwork is part of this storytelling journey.
Here are a few indie artists that are doing this well. If you are an artist struggling with keeping your brand cohesive, take a look at these artists’ single cover art.
Tadgh Billy King creates music that blends post-punk, goth, noisy hardcore, and math-y punk, inspired by the likes of Bauhaus, Joy Division, and contemporary Irish bands like Fontaines D.C. This dark, eclectic vibe can be seen in his artwork for both singles and in the album cover Raw.
Amanda’s latest EP ‘Catharsis’ is a beautiful blend of colors and artistry that can be seen throughout her releases and matches the album’s themes of delving into the complexities of pursuing your dreams amidst self-doubt. One look at the artwork and you instantly feel like you’re being transported into those feelings. They also match her brand, which is one of being a force to be reckoned with, full of interpretive imagery and influence from acts like Bowie and Prince.
3. Lady Charles
Lady Charles’s artistic vision is wide and kaleidoscopic, encompassing folk, indie- rock, electronica, punk, glam, funk, pop, and hip-hop. Their songs explore themes of gender, apocalypse, and lost friendships. So is it any wonder their artwork is a reflection of this colorful, chaotic, beautiful world they hope to create?
All of their artwork is colorful, vibrant, and full of this same energy. You can see that same vibrancy (and faithfulness to the color purple) in the album art for Manic Pixie Dream World.
See the consistency? You’re instantly transported to Lady Charles’ world through these images.
Jason Vitelli, known for his lyrical prowess has a theme of subtle black and white for some of his more recent releases. He creates tracks that are meant to feel like reimagined from the early days of scoring films and documentaries and this is easily reflected in some of his recent artwork:
The above is from his 2009 album, but you can see the same mood conveyed on his 2023 release, Night Falls.
We hope this gave you creative ideas to make cover art that matches your brand and aesthetic! Still struggling with finding that brand? Check out Ariel’s latest book The Ultimate Guide to Music Publicity. Out now!