Creating Album Cover Art For Spotify

tree being chopped down illustration for Spotify Album by illustrator Priscilla Prentice

What does a freelance illustrator do?

Hiring a Freelance illustrator and Graphic Designer will help you succeed.

album cover illustration of Garth McGowan by illustrator Priscilla Prentice for Spotify

Step 1: 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

Start by asking questions. What inspired the musician? What imagery appears in the songs? What feeling are they trying to convey with their music?

Garth McGowan spoke of trains, saws, vintage apple boxes, and decaying frames.

A variety of sources, including Pinterest proved to be a happy hunting ground for images relating to the project. Whatever catches the imagination gets copied onto a mood-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 or train for reference. After this research you know right where to look when it is time to draw. Head to your mood board for visual reference. You will be free to create your own unique drawing.

pencil sketch of tree for Spotify album cover by illustrator Priscilla Prentice

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.

Simple designs have the power to convey big ideas

  • 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 for Spotify Album by illustrator Priscilla Prentice

Prepare your files for use on 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.

CD Case for Garth MCGowan Album on Spotify by Designer Priscilla Prentice
Visit Garth MCGOWAN on Facebook

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