An album cover is arguably the most important aspect of an album. It is the sign above the arch letting all who go here know what is contained within. It can be a warning, it can be a persuasion, but most importantly it’s the first thing a listener experiences when entering your musical domain. It is a very important decision. The DIY-FI team wants to give you some tips when coming up with your album cover. There are no rules, an album cover is controlled entirely by you but if you are looking for some help or inspiration we are here to serve.
1. Letting The Audience Know Who You Are
The artistic side of an album is all fine and dandy but if a listener can’t see the name of your band than this can be a problem. There is an argument to be made that perhaps now, in this digital age, a name on a cover is not as important. Anyone streaming you can see your name float across the front of their iPhone. However, physical copies of records are now yet obsolete and it is a courtesy to your listener to have your name easily identifiable on the album.
Fuzz’s self-titled, debut album has a cover that showcases a nice marriage between artistic expression and information. The psychedelic creature lets the audience know what’s in store for them in this album. The bottom half of the creature’s body then morphs into the band’s name and the title of the album. This is an important step and something to consider when beginning to construct your album cover.
2. Letting The Audience Know What You Are
Similar to the step before letting an audience know what kind of music they are about to here is a key ingredient of a well crafted album cover. It is easy to get caught up on a cool graphic or interesting font for your name but you have to consider, “Is this portraying my music appropriately?” A comic sans font for a doom metal band probably isn’t the best option. Especially if this is your first album you want to let the person holding your album know exactly what it is you do.
An example of an album cover that pulls this off very well is King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s seventh full-length album, Paper Mache Dream Balloon. The cover of the album has an almost “Thomas the Train-like” appearance. It depicts what looks like a frame from a stop-motion animation of each member of the band playing their respective instruments in the middle of the field. The band name is centered at the top of the cover in a bubbly font. The letters are blue with a red stripe across the middle. You immediately get the impression of a very mellow album with feel good riffs and lyrics. And this is a very appropriate description of what Paper Mache Dream Balloon sounds like.
3. Grabbing The Audience By The Eyeballs
Your music can sound like the rebirth of Jimi Hendrix but no one is going to pick it up if it looks like it was designed by a 40-year old man from Cleveland. You want your album to be eye-catching, to stand out, make people want to hear what’s inside. The cover can perfectly encapsulate exactly who you are but that’s nothing if nobody wants to listen to it.
In conclusion, you want your able to clearly define who you are and what you do. It is your creation and your vision so no matter what you do make sure you like the final product.