Album Cover Art

Hey guys I’m currently working on a personal music project and I made this album cover, by using a childhood picture of me and a polaroid cutout. Thematically it fits well, as I use a lot of guitar and some keyboard in my songs, aswell as being about me and my childhood and I just like the nostalgic look.

But I’m not sure about the yellow background as it is kinda bland. On the other hand it puts the focus on the picture itself and it grabs attention because of the color. What do you think?

And would you change something with the script? I’m trying to make it as realistic as possible and I’m not sure if a marker would look like this on a papery surface like that polaroid cutout.

Maybe you also have some opinions aesthetically, so just go ahead and say what you felt the first time you saw it. Thanks in advance!

P.S. I would describe the music style as indie/alternative/pop/funk/hiphop if it helps you.

I agree with your assessment.

Kern, kern, kern!

All right, I’m going to be honest with you. This is kind of boring in my opinion, and I’m not crazy about all of the nested squares. This doesn’t particularly look like an album cover to me, and nothing really says “indie/alternative/pop/funk/hiphop.” Sorry about that. Bottom line, people do judge books (and albums) by the cover. Your cover should grab attention and pique interest right away. This does neither in my opinion.

The background is kind of bland, but not too bad, the cover definitely has a nostalgic feel.

I’m cautiously going to disagree with Steve-O on the kerning. I think it looks more naturally hand written if it’s poorly kerned.

I’d also play around with the sizing, positioning and location of the polaroid–it looks to mechanical and precise.

I’ve seen album covers similar to this before (none that I could name off hand) but it’d be worth your while to look for similar ones to pull inspiration/aesthetic + ideas.

Shouldn’t you be thinking along the lines of what will best engage your target audience rather than focusing in on your own personal nostalgia?

It’s a cool family photo with a cute kid seemingly destined to become a musician. It’s definitely a keeper for a scrapbook, but is that what your music is about? Is your album about you or is it more focused on entertaining those who listen to it?

Maybe the story is about you — I don’t know. Maybe this album is just meant as something to pass out to your extended family, in which case it’s fine. But if you’re trying to engage others who don’t have a personal connection with you, focus on connecting with them — which likely won’t be with an old photo of you as a cute little kid.

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Psychologically speaking human faces evoke attention more than anything else. Guess its not that easy though. But thanks for being honest, I would still like to know how you would use the childhood picture?

I agree. I think it looks like real handwriting itself but not like it was written on the polaroid.

Did that already, most of them are without any borders and some do have a rather boring background aswell.

So you say if someone sings about their broken relationships its less relatable for the audience, because they may not have experienced the same? Everyone had a childhood and nostalgia is something a lot of people feel. (Take Twenty One Pilots song Stressed Out for example or the countless childhood album covers of rappers that talk about their upbringing or Oliver Tree walking around with a bowl cut like on his childhood album cover. People just love being reminded of good old times).

Also It’s of course not completely about me as a kid, but mostly what made me who I am now and also my problems, that also resemble the problems of other people i suppose. And I think that’s a more creative take than singing about love for the millionth time. Finally making an interesting personna and building a character around the music is important, in my opinion.

I think I have enough reasons for choosing what i want to represent as this is going to be the first music project where I want to be me the way I am without restricting myself musically and artistically speaking.

Sorry for the little rant though lol, I really appreciate your opinion and it honestly made me more aware of why I wanted to use this approach, as it was more of an impulse before.

But back to the design aspect @Steve_O, @Sparrow, @Just-B i think what might be lacking is some strong contrast?

By the way I had the idea to scratch out the eyes with thin white lines, as if the photo got scratched with a knife. Would fit the Gone Boy theme and it’s visually more interesting, but maybe be a bit too dark.

Also thinking about finding some pictures i drew as a kid for the background.

Did you purposely flesh out the underpants? Because if you did … put it back. No one wants to see a half naked kid and that’s what it looks like to me. Unless my monitor is way out of wack.

Or are you wearing flesh colored leggings?

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I’m saying that you need to be aware of the difference between your target audience and yourself, which you’ve already thanked me for pointing out to you. If you design something for yourself, that’s one thing. If you design an album cover to appeal to others, it’s for them.

In the end, it’s your decision, of course. You came here to a forum composed of professional designers to ask for free advice, which you got from me and which saved you a whole bundle of money over what that same advice would have cost you had you shown up where I work. If this is just a hobby project for yourself, fine, it’s cute. If it’s real artwork for a commercial album, it’s not working well for several different reasons.

You’re confusing design with layout and aesthetics.

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Exactly so.

My first reaction was it was an amateur snapshot. You could get away with this if you were already famous and your face was already recognizable. Bon Jovi as a 12-year old, for example.

But this has no “design” at all. Just a couple of elements that you think are cool. And you’re asking a bunch of professional designers to give you feedback on this? And then arguing with the feedback?

It doesn’t look like you’re going to listen to it anyway, so I don’t know why you’re even here.

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@RedKittieKat Nope they’re just pink lol

@Just-B @DocPixel, I’m sorry if it came off as an argument, just wanted to explain my point in holding onto it and I wasn’t aware at all that this forum is composed of professionals.

You’re probably right for the most part. I just think album cover art has to have a specific meaning and the design aspect comes after it (at least for digital only releases), but I still wanted to improve it visually so the meaning gets clearer and the cover looks more polished overall.

You’re not obliged to give me any feedback anyway, but I still thank you guys nonetheless. I don’t think anything more concerning improving this idea will come through though, so I guess I’ll delete this thread again.

I agree with the others. Having worked in the music industry designing album covers for both well-known and lesser-known bands and musicians, the same applies across the board. Tell a story. Give a flavour of the music. That pic may or may not be cute, but it is not saying very much to anyone who doesn’t know the person in it. If you are trying to relate to people, you need to build in something relatable, that they can buy into personally – unless, as Just-B says, it is a personal project. In which case, none of this matters. Just do what you want.

If you do want others to see it, then say more about it. Give it context. Personally, I’d remove the yellow background. Adds nothing. Perhaps have the Polaroid placed in a context that tells the story of the music. Whatever you are saying with the music, say with the image. We used to get advance recordings of albums sent across to listen and listen and listen to, so we could interpret the story.

By the way, the ‘design aspect’ does not come after the meaning. They are all part and parcel of the same thing. That is a bit like saying the notes come after the key. You can’t have one without the other. Perhaps you need a professional designer to interpret. Just because someone listens to and appreciates music, does not mean they are a musician.

Have fun with it.

I think the photo o white care is looking like the photo on tissue paper. Please, make that card as white or other any flat design colors.

Thanks for your insights. I think you set off some cool ideas in my mind, that i could try out and might fit the theme I’m going for. It’s just hard to actually realize them.

There are quite a few professionals, but you should only take what we say as a grain of salt. There are informed and uninformed critiques. We are only as informed as we see (the album cover) and read your description of the project. I think what we lack is what the music actually sounds like–lyrics, tone, instrumentals, etc.

I don’t find the elements of your album difficult to critique, because there are flaws in it (which clearly you acknowledge). However, the issue of the photo, isn’t an issue. The photo works fine, if it speaks to the content inside the album.

I think Just-B and Sprout have given you the most practical insight. The music is an expression of you, the cover art should be too.

I feel that it contradict with your music style as I can see now base on your childhood picture, the songs in that cover would be something like mellow songs, smooth jazz, calming and chill songs.

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