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image-49 (Demo)
image-50 (Demo)

Creating an album cover

Creating an album cover is like creating a visual identity or showing a door to a complete other universe, maybe even more than for video games for example. 

It is a whole challenge here. A cover album has the power to enhance an album listening experience or even to discourage people listening to the album. More than addressing an audience, creating an album cover is also a big responsibility from a visual Agency. Indeed, a band and each musician within it, have already spent months or years in the creation of one single album. And this huge work is supposed to be represented by only ONE picture.

In this industry though, it is maybe easier to really let go of the creativity within us and to try something completely different. However, trial means failure sometimes, which gives this duality between more freedom, but also more responsibility.

Album covers' Styles

But what is it exactly on a cover album, more than the name of the band/artist and the name of the album? We can separate the album covers into 4 types of categories. 

Horses - Patti Smith - Album Cover
Horses - Patti Smith - Album Cover

1. Photo

This category is really used in the genre of “variety” (i.e. french variety). It sounds simple but it is not. There is a lot of work, like forehand, that is underestimated. A “photo album cover” is “intemporal” within the music genre. And people rarely get bored of such cover. When made up well obviously.

2. Mix between photo and art work

This still requires all the photo work, forehand as well as editing skills. Even though the image quality is less a must here because people can do miracles with lightroom or photoshop, it is still important to keep it in mind. 

Monáe - Janelle - Album Cover
Monáe - Janelle - Album Cover
Art:Work - Anima! - Album Cover
Art:Work - Anima! - Album Cover

3. Art work

Completely free. There are some crazy masterpieces out there. This might be a more sensitive category in terms of temporality, depending on how the cover is done.

4. Minimalism

Here we include the album covers that include only a “simple” color or that contains only text. This can be easily placed into the “art-work” category but, for us, “art-work” sounds more like “filled” and “full”. Although it may look “simple” again, nobody should look down at this though, because when it is done well, it is priceless.

XX - The XX - Album Cover
XX - The XX - Album Cover

Album Cover's Focuses

Well done, an album cover can be an icon for a whole genre, within or accross generations! Then what do we need to keep in mind while creating one of those covers? Creating an album cover is about one of 4 focuses. Although, it can have multiple focuses at the same time of course.

1 Showing the creative process of the band/singer,

2 Uncovering a part of the artist(s) personality,

3 Translating how the listeners will feel,

4 Finally, a cover album can also feel not completely understandable at first, and then be explained by the music itself.

In the end, it is important to free our imagination while creating an album cover, whether it is through showing the face of the artist(s), playing with emptiness, or even displaying a special pose or wearing something that attracts the interest. It may also be a specific place!

Unleashed Sorrow - Album Cover from Forge of Martyrs

What is your own cover album idea?

Have a very good day and good luck on your next creation!

"I knew of their work before and liked what I had seen. So when I was looking for someone to help with an album cover project I knew exactly who to use.
They are friendly and are easy to work with. The shoot, selecting of the image I was looking for, and the over all design was done like a partnership, with myself and them discussing ideas.
I am definetly going to be using them for other projects and look forward to working with them again. Friendly and professional all the way." - Spike

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