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Looks Are Everything: Create Beautiful Album Art

Your album art is what will decide whether a potential fan picks up your CD or looks at your profile.

Your music may be the next big thing but the artwork for the single, EP or album, whether it’s a digital or physical release, is something you need to put as much thought and effort into. It’s another way to stand out and be remarkable.

But you don’t have time to spend ours creating it, so what can you do?


(Image from Tom Webber; Designer, see his Portfolio here)


The obvious answer is to find a graphic designer to create it for you. You may have friends, or friends of friends who could do this cheap but more often than not this will come at quite a high price, unless you can find a skilled hobbyist. So here are a few ways you can get great cheap or free artwork for your next release.

Get a great idea

First, make sure you’ve got a great idea, spend some time brainstorming within the band or if you’re a solo artist brainstorm what describes and defines you, what themes and trends you have. This will save time when faced with a blank canvas or when sending briefs off to designers.

Call in the professionals 

If you don't want to design it yourself, a great site is 99 Designs. It allows you to get a number of designers working on your project for you to choose the best one. You submit your description and working budget and let designers create your artwork. It’s a great tool to see the different forms your initial description can take, while setting your own (realistic) price.

Create it yourself

There are a range of great free picture editing software that you can use to create your artwork yourself. You may not be a pro but there are lots of tutorials on Youtube to help guide you through different features. We've listed our favourites below.

Pixlr is similar to Adobe Photoshop but it doesn’t ask you to update every two hours. It’s a great tool to manipulate images and text, it lets you work over layers, resize and save in a number of formats. We recommend Pixlr Advanced when given the choice.

Inkscape focuses more on the drawing of graphics and images. What’s more Inkscape works with Vectors, a format perfect for logos, technical illustrations and design compositions.

GIMP is similar to Photoshop incase Pixlr doesn’t take your fancy. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, plus much more.


Spend some time coming up with an attractive, original idea then follow some of the steps above and remember when uploading your artwork to Ditto Music it needs to be 1450px x 1450px.