The shop window:
The album cover is very much your shop window. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Think about the visuals through the process of making the album. This image is how you’ll be represented for the life span of the album, possibly way beyond that. It may even help inform your visual identity and style that fans will buy into. Consider the artwork to have “fifth member of the band” status.
Find your inspiration:
Whether it’s governed by the music itself or the sentiment behind it, the feel, a particular style or just a great image you’ve found, it should feel like it fits the part. Live with ideas, develop them and let it grow organically. You may just have seen an image during the process of making the album that sticks and ends up being the final piece, but it’s always beneficial to go through a process of options if possible. This will help justify why it works for your release.
Share your thoughts:
If working with a designer or doing it yourself, make notes, find reference images, tell the designer what the message / mood is you’re trying to convey. Get on the phone to the designer and develop a monologue. Discussion breeds and develops ideas.
Make it stand out:
Nowadays more than ever your album sleeve needs to stand out from the crowd, and striking, engaging design is a key factor. In this day and age it’s an even tougher job to do this as your album sleeve thumbnail sits alongside the 300 releases on the streaming services this week, and then onto some playlists the following week, with another 300 acts. If your album art draws people in then it’s done its job. Consider all sizes your artwork needs to be viewed at.
We hope you’ve found these tips useful. A big thanks to Keith Davey for sharing his thoughts.
Team ROM x