How to make an album cover easily?
As a new, independent artist or an artist with a limited budget you always have a ton of plans, ideas and things to do for your next tour and your next release. If only you could make an album cover easily that would be another problems less in your workflow.
I know, your music needs to be planned under narrow deadlines. From finding and buying beats, recording new music and marketing it all the way to planning and going on tour. This is a long journey and I will help you out if you want to make an album cover easily and even your branding process easier.
Why do you need good album cover art? Let’s break it down
The answer might be obvious to some but you need good album cover art for the fans. The cover art has to show how your music sounds. 50% of the information humans perceive through the eyes. Therefore, it is easy to imagine that we associate different kinds of music with different visuals. It is important to take that into consideration when creating cover art for your next release. You need to be able to answer these questions:
- How does your sound look?
- What is the genre of your music?
- What is your message and vision that you want to project to the world?
- What do your fans want and like?
- Do you want to move within your niche or go against it?
1. How does your sound look and how to make it easy to break down?
This is something you might struggle with as sound and image are two completely separate mediums. However, designers and artists are experts in translating sound into image. If you want to define your music visually, ask the following questions about your music:
- hard or soft?
- slow or fast?
- dynamic or relaxed?
- colorful or monochrome?
- warm or cold?
- modern or old fashioned?
- eccentric or calm?
etc… you get the idea.
2. What is the genre of your music and how is it relevant for your album cover?
The genre of your music is important to pin down your niche and to capitalize on your audience by giving them what you want. Unless you want to do the direct oppositive as your artistic statement. Fans want to have what they want, if you are a trip hop or indie artist, most of the time, your fans won’t appreciate if you are using rose like fonts that no one can read like you often see on metal band covers.
This also works the other way, if you are metal band, your fans don’t want to see prefect, cute, colorful 3D renders of flowers that represent carelessness and comfort. They want something raw, loud and badass so you should give them that. As long it aligns with your precise artistic vision and your music. These are not rules, these are just guidelines.
3. What is your vision that you want to project to the world with your music cover art?
Your message as an artist is really important as it is one of the main values that you provide to the listeners and fans. Your album cover should align with your vison and your song. Whatever you do, you should be able to explain what it is and be actively involved in the messaging of the cover.
The album/single cover is an active part of your music, that is why it is there on Spotify or any other streaming service. Therefore make sure that your are satisfied with the cover and that it makes sense to you. You can always tell people that you “leave it to their interpretation” or what no. But you always need to be able to align it with your vision as an artist.
It is important because as an artist, you should built some sort of legacy that is easy to understand and follow after all the years of your magnificent creations. If there is a peace that falls out of the order to much, it cand damage your legacy.
Take care of your vision and your legacy and always make sure that your music and your artworks align, no mater your niche or musical style you always need to be able to explain it to yourself, to someone close to you and to your fans if necessary. In this way you develop a continues brand that can a very strong impact on the world.
4. What do your fans want to see in your album cover art?
This is something that more experience artists might already now but less experienced might find this point helpful. Knowing your fans is crucial as in the music business – your fans are your customers and you should supply and love your customers as any good Business owner that creates products for the people. Therefore, it is good to take into consideration that your cover art should align with your music, that your fans already enjoy.
5. Do you want to move within your music niche or go against it?
This is a bit of a bonus point. Sometimes, as an artist it is good to go against all rules creating the exact opposite of that people expect of your. This can serve you well and make you stand out within your niche. This point concerns not only your art work but overall your presentation as a brand. However, always think twice when doing this as your brand must be consistent, regardless of the brand you are. Use it in your favor.
How to make an album cover?
1. You can hire a designer or an artist
This is the most well known and the most expensive option. While it is true that amazing know designers and artists bring their talent, name and exposure it is also true that they are often pretax expensive. The prices vary but you can sometimes pay $2000 and upwards for an experienced artists artwork.
However, if you have the money go ahead and pay an experienced designer or artist because nothing will tip their quality. The know the ins and outs of the visual world and the will most likely make the most stunning 🤩 work that you will love.
2. You can kindly ask a creative friend, and make it easier on yourself
Another option, you might have already heard of is kindly asking your creative friend if he or she could make the artwork for you. If they have professional skills, that can play in your favor. However, as a self respecting artist you should do something for your friend in return like playing at their birthday party or something else.
If you have a hobby artist friend, you might get lucky and the work might turn out good. This is something you should decide regarding of your circumstances.
3. You can make it yourself, though that might not make things easier
If you have artists talents of your own you could make it yourself. In this way you will save your financial and human resources. Further in this blog I will tell you how to easily make cover art with help of AI tools. However, you can also use your own creations like photography, paintings or anything else that you have visually created.
4. Use free AI tools to make an easy album covers
Since this year (2022) the AI tools for artists are finally good enough. With algorithms like Stable Diffusion, DALL-E-2 and Midjourney you can make festinating artwork for basically for free. This is the best version for you if you want to save time, demonstrate your vision (that aligns with your brand), save money and get your next release in front of your fans right on time.
There are also some disadvantages of AI tools. 1. human faces are still often unrealistic unless you are planning of working with faces, only. 2. If you want to go deep into experimentation and trying to go very precise with your artwork – it will cost you some money. 3. You might not get any new relationships if you avoid collaborating with others by using AI – I still advice you to get feedback on your work.
Free AI tools to make album cover
This is the best too for your next single. Nightcafe has the best price model and you get 5 free credits every day! It involves the 2 of the 3 best algorithms in the AI art game: Stable Diffusion and DALL-E-2 allowing you to create very precise artworks and quick artworks at a swing of a text prompt.
Of course If you want to create for longer at a time to have more options, you will need to purchase some credits. However, you can claim 5 free credits every single day.
This is one of the most sophisticated algorithms for giving you what you want. DALL-E-2 follows the prompt very closely and doesn’t do much insane AI craziness, unless you ask for it. Though the craziness should also be in the frames 🖼️ the already existing images. DALL-E-2 algorithm usually doesn’t do any crazy AI stuff, their fore if you tell it something it doesn’t understand, sometimes your image can go unchanged in the process. Something to consider when you work on the release and your next album cover.
The disadvantages of DALL-E-2 are the following, it has a gatekeeping waiting list, the free version is limited to 15 credits a month.
Midjourney is a very artistic tool. If you want your art to look very special and artsy, feel free to use it. You completely own the art at the end so you can do what ever you want with it in the end.
Beware, Midjourney has gatekeeping so you need to wait for a month or longer to get accepted to Midjourney. The free version is limited to aprox. 20 prompts. Then, you can use a lucrative subscription model. You find the prices on Midjourney’s website, in my opinion they are fair for what you get.
This is a great resource to get very special AI art. As the AI space is developing very quickly, this resource is kind of outdated. However, if you want to have the “raw” AI look of the “early days” this is the place to go. Nowhere else will you get the same results. This is why /dribnet is dope. You can get really exciting results and ideas here.
This is another 100% free AI resource. The results are not fantastic but they can be interesting. If you have the time, it is defiantly a great place to fool around and have some fun.
There are many ways to create your cover art for your next release. By utilizing these resources and getting creative, you can create professional-looking album covers for free as a music artist. Just remember to put thought and effort into your design, as it’s an important part of representing your music and building your brand.
If you are looking for beats for Rap, Pop and or Indie Piano Beats your next project, feel free to check out my beat store here: