While it’s true that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, the truth is, we all do. Cover art is typically the first interaction people will have with your song. That interaction should compel someone to want to listen to the music, not push them away from it.

Here are six thoughts that should help you design better cover art:


Stay on brand.

A well-built music career is centralized on a brand. Whether through striking graphics, thought-provoking photographs, or intricate illustrations, every element should work together to reflect the brand you’ve already established (or are trying to).

Match the Metadata.

It’s essential when designing a cover to match the metadata. While not all metadata needs to be included, the information you do include on the cover should match. The song title, artist name, featured artists, etc. should all be the same in the metadata as they appear on the cover. Not only does mismatched information confuse listeners, the DSPs can also reject it. The only exception to this rule is a waterfall release where artists use the album cover art for all singles.

Be Legible.

Here are a few rules to ensure your text is legible. First, use a hierarchy to make different pieces of information stand out more. For instance, your song title might be larger than your name or vice versa. Whatever size you choose, make sure they are large enough to read in the small spaces where cover art will appear. Next, the font selected should reflect the music and brand and also be easy to read. Lastly, select a color that has enough contrast from its background. There are plenty of tools out there to help you with all of this. You can even send it to us for an opinion.


Be distracting.

Good cover art draws attention towards your music. On the flip side, awkward, uncomfortable, or cringy cover art can distract from the music. Analyze your cover art from all angles, get different perspectives, and make sure your cover art doesn’t unintentionally resemble something else or evoke unwanted emotions.

Reuse photos.

Avoid using photos that have been used before, especially if they were used as cover art for another song. Have enough photos for each release that each single, the album cover, and the promotion of the releases can use different images.

Be Plugin Happy.

The internet is no stranger to Photoshop and its tools. It’s everywhere, and most people can spot a bad Photoshop from a mile away. The general public is fully aware that your windblown headshot was not taken on a mountain with an abnormally pink sunset in the background. Especially when your previous release featured that same headshot with a beach in the background. It’s not wrong to use Photoshop, but if you choose to, make sure that it is done well.

When done well, cover art invites people to listen to your music and even tells a piece of the story. It shouldn’t be an afterthought in the process. It should be used to reflect the personality of you and your music.