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Why Album Cover Art Still Matters In The Digital Age

As a society, our attention span is narrowing. This means everyone, from marketers to artists, must find new ways to gain consumers’ attention and keep it. Musicians, along with creating catchy tunes and lyrics, also have to find new ways to stand out in the crowd. In the age of Spotify, Tik Tok, and Youtube – there may be fewer chances to interact with fans personally, but there are more ways to get creative with your advertising.

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Along with promoting music on social media, musicians can make lasting impressions on consumers with eye-catching album cover art. Pink Floyd’s album, “The Dark Side Of The Moon,” was released in 1973, but the album cover art is still recognizable today. You have most likely seen the famous prism yourself on TV, as a tattoo, or on a poster in a college dorm room. The beauty of art is that it’s timeless, meaning your cover art can live on even after your music is played on the radio. A great album cover can be a visual “hook” that catches a viewer’s eye within seconds and makes a difference in whether your album is picked up and listened to. Whether someone is shopping in a record store, listening to a playlist on Spotify, or downloading an album online, your album cover art can promote your music and impact consumers.

Why Album Artwork Is More Important Than Ever

The era of listening to an artist’s album in one sitting might be gone, but playlists are growing in popularity. This means your album art is the connection between your music and the listener. Your album art can also intrigue the listener enough to visit your artist profile and maybe even your site! This means a listener who likes a song on a playlist could be led to learn more about the album, band, or producer — and maybe even become a fan.

Not only can great artwork create potential fans, but it can also contextualize your music or tell the story of your album. Take the “London Calling” album cover, for example.

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The Clash’s album cover captures the punk movement and the band’s anti-authoritarian stance in one amazing photograph. Seeing this album cover let you know you were in for punk rock songs that were sure to be full of rage, excitement, and anti-establishmentism.  Just as The Clash showed listeners what they were in for with their album cover, the artwork you choose for your album can do the same. You can create artwork with an air of mystery and symbolism to draw in listeners like Fleetwood Mac did with their Rumors album cover, or be direct with your message like Bruce Springsteen did with his “Born In The USA” cover art.

Even though streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music are extremely popular, physical albums are making a comeback. Over 41 million vinyl records were sold in 2022 — a huge increase from past years. A big part of the comeback of vinyl records has to do with artists placing more importance on album art again and the actual physicality of albums. Millennials and Gen X’ers are nostalgic for the era before “screen time” and streaming. Having a physical record you can hold creates a tangible connection between the fan and the artist, something fans have been missing in the past few years (especially in a post-pandemic world).

How To Create Impactful Album Artwork

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Photo by Erik Mclean

These days, there are more types of musical genres and artistic voices than ever before! Since album art is an extension of music, a new range of artistic styles can also be seen in album art. The population of musical genres has grown alongside modern technology — creating limitless options for visually representing your music. Here are Flocksy’s top 3 ways musicians can create memorable and eye-catching album art.

Custom Illustration Can Create Impactful Album Art

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Using illustration in album design is a prominent way for musicians to stand out — especially with “retro” designs coming back in style. Not only are illustrations eye-catching but humans are hardwired to recognize illustrations faster than they can read text. This means the story or ideas you’re trying to convey with your album artwork are better told through custom illustration than with words.

Your custom illustrations can also create a connection between you and the listener. Your chosen illustration can show off your design style as an artist, your values, build brand awareness, and more! Hiring a professional illustrator ensures that the artwork commissioned reflects your music and brand image while looking professional and unique.

Use Graphic Design To Create On Brand Album Artwork

Graphically designing your album cover is another great way to get creative. Graphic design doesn’t just mean edited images, graphics, or logos — graphic design can also include typography. Typography is the arrangement of letters or words in an aesthetically-pleasing way. While some artists opt for covers with no text at all, there’s also the option to make the text the focal point, as seen in this album cover by the band “Blood, Sweat & Tears.”

Blood, sweat, & tears album cover

You can make the text on your album exciting by picking fonts that match your central imagery, the band name, or the album title.

Graphic design allows you to use technology to convey surreal images, abstract concepts, or whichever graphics represent your music best! Hiring a professional graphic designer also means your images will appear clearly and fit the formatting needed (for Spotify, Vinyl record covers, posters, and more). 

Animated Album Art Is The Hottest New Trend

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The ability to stream music has created even more options for visual mediums than ever before. One of the newest ways artists across musical genres are trying to stand out from the crowd is through animated cover art. As the newest trend, animated album covers add a layer of originality over the typical static album art. Animated artwork can also play along with a song for up to 8 seconds on Spotify, mimicking a music video.

Not only can the animated album artwork play alongside your song on streaming platforms, but it can also be featured across your band’s social media networks. In the era of social media marketing, having an easy and unique way to promote your album digitally is a great tactic for all musicians. Our motion graphic designers at Flocksy can create animated album art that you can use across platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok, Spotify, and more! Animating your album artwork is as easy as 1,2,3 with Flocksy’s graphic designers and video editors at your disposal.

Let Flocksy Create Your Next Album Cover

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Whether you’re looking for a custom illustration, unique graphic design, or animated album artwork — Flocksy has got you covered! Not only can we provide whichever designs you’ve dreamt up in high resolution and record time, but we can also ensure you love your design with our unlimited revision policy.

Signing up with Flocksy is easy — choose from one of our affordable plans and start your first project the same day! You can start with a graphic design, custom illustration, or animation simply by choosing the subcategory you’d like after uploading your brand bucket. You’ll have your design in less than 48 hours — before you can even write your next hit single! Learn more about Flocksy here, and see the amazing designs our creative team has come up with in our portfolio.

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