Spotify Album Cover Art

tree being chopped down illustration

The process of creating an album cover for use on Spotify


album cover illustration of Garth McGowan

Create an idea board

  • Gather the client’s keywords
  • Make an idea board
  • Fill it up quickly
  • Step back and see what ideas stand out

A variety of sources, including Pinterest, are happy hunting grounds for images relating to the project, in this case trains, saws, vintage apple boxes, decaying frames. Whatever catches the imagination gets copied onto the board as a potential design element.

Generate unique illustrations

Use the board as reference material. Sometimes you need to have a photo of an old saw for reference. After this research you know right where to go when it is time to draw. You will be free to create your own unique drawing.

pencil sketch of tree

Out of several submitted sketches, the client chose a portrait to use as the cover. Another sketch was chosen as well. Unifying the images in terms of style and framing resulted in unified designs.

Less is more

  • Help your client find the essence of the story
  • All visual elements should support this idea
  • Illustrate one idea per picture
  • Leave room for the imagination!
tree being chopped down illustration

File prep for social media

  • Work large but think for small for mobile devices
  • Plan for several file sizes across social media platforms
  • Generate files for landscape and portrait orientation
  • Plan ahead for web site use

One thing to consider when preparing files for clients is the final destination. This project was for Spotify. Spotify used music aggregators. It is important to determine the image size requirements early on in the project. This saves editing of the final image or awkward cropping in the end. The client also decided to add a printed CD Jewel case. My working file size is always larger than the needs for digital use, so scaling the art to 300dpi was not an issue. I looked up the specs for the printed cd case and created the layout for the files. Lastly I generated a folder full of images at the appropriate sizes for various social media sites. The client will have those handy for their marketing efforts.

This is an excellent resource for social media sizes:


Thank you for reading!