Have you ever bought a music album because you liked the cover?
I still remember going to the music store and skipping through all the music albums on the shelves, calling for my attention. There were always a few albums I’d pick, even if I didn’t know the band.
Maybe you’re wondering, why make an album cover now that most people listen to music online? Here’s the answer: artworks are still part of an album, even on digital platforms, and it is required when uploading your new releases on streaming platforms. So why not give covers the importance they deserve?
We all struggle to make great covers for our work. Budget and graphic design skills come into play here, but let me tell you, there are some services and tools out there that will help you create an album cover that will represent your music and catch the attention of listeners. And you don’t even need to be a graphic designer!
Today I’ll talk about the best album cover makers that any artist should use. You’ll find online services for beginners and professionals for all budgets and needs. Whether you’re an upcoming artist, a new band, or a rockstar, these album cover makers will greatly simplify your life.
Let’s dive in!
The importance of an album cover
The album cover can be as important as your music. It will be the first thing the listener sees, both online and in the store, and can significantly impact their decision to listen to your new release or just move on.
When it comes to album design, there is no right or wrong way to do it; after all, it’s still art and part of your creative work. If you look at album artwork from another artist, you’ll find complex designs, pieces of art, photography of the band, landscapes, or a simple background color with the artist’s name.
Think of the album cover as the introduction to your music. What will attract your audience and make them want to find out more about your artistry?
Sometimes, album covers are a lasting artwork. Look at this list of the most iconic album covers, and who knows, maybe yours will be featured here someday.
Things to consider before creating your album cover
Many artists receive warning notifications from their publishers because they found their album cover includes a photo they found on Google. Many people are creating art out there and sharing it on the internet. If you decide to go down that path, look for copyright-free pictures.
Good quality photography
If you plan on using your or your band’s image, invest in good photo shooting unless you’re aiming for a lo-fi effect for your cover.
Do some online research and find a series of covers you like. What do they have in common? Having a source of inspiration is a great starting point to come up with a cover that will work for you, so spend some time looking at album covers of like-minded artists and defining your visual style.
Consider having a dedicated budget for your album cover. Many of us don’t have the technical skills to do it on our own or don’t have the time after spending every hour working on making music. You might decide it’s best to leave the artwork to a professional, whether you hire a freelancer online or look for a local graphic designer.
With this in mind, let’s jump to the top 5 best album cover makers.
1. Alpha Art
Alpha Art is an online shop specializing in custom cover art designs; it’s not so much a tool as it is a done-for-you service, and I like it because it’s focused specifically on cover designs for musicians.
The platform was founded by Luka Tomazin and Ziga Zgalin with the mission of creating a central platform to meet the design-related needs of the music industry. I know Luka from his work with YouGrow Promo, so when he reached out to let me know he was starting a design project, I was keen to try it out. I’ll have a full review of the experience up soon, but for now, I’ll say that I found the process really easy and was pleased with the end result.
To put it as simply as possible, Alpha Art’s designs look really cool.
The way it works is simple: You provide some basic direction (including your artist name, your song name, references of cover art you like, and any other notes), and the team at Alpha Art takes things from there. They’ll send you multiple design options within a few weeks; you’ll get the option to request one revision or multiple revisions to any of the options, depending on the package you choose.
Custom designs start at $77, but if you’re looking to cut costs, you can browse the platform’s collection of pre-made album art (all of which, again, looks really cool).
- Custom art (one revision): $77
- Custom art with three revisions and additional formats: $117
- Custom art with unlimited revisions, additional formats (including social media artwork and Photoshop files): $147
- I guess this is subjective, but one more time: I think the designs are cool
- Done-for-you service – not much is required on your end
- Multiple design options to choose from
- Pricier than some of the tools listed here
- Done-for-you does involve surrendering some of your own control
All told, I think this is an appealing option if you’re looking for a professionally-done album cover for your music. If you’re interested, you can Give Alpha Art a try here.
2. Place it
Place It is an online service to create videos and designs for your marketing, branding, and social media needs from thousands of templates available. It runs on all browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Edge. Forget about troublesome software installations and start designing in less than five minutes after signing up with your free account.
Place It is easy to use. Choose a template from their library, upload your image, and edit it as much as you like. You can’t upload a font yourself, but Place It has many fonts available. If you have a particular font type for your logo, this might be a drawback.
With Place It mockups, you can design your album cover for CD and Vinyl, but you can even find how your album cover will look on your merchandise with mockups for mugs, hats, t-shirts, hoodies, and other clothing designs. Merch you can later sell to your hardcore fans because Place It includes a commercial license on every download.
After editing your design, you can pay to download or subscribe to a membership to access the stock photos library and unlimited downloads.
Place it prices are:
- Free account and pay to download.
- Monthly subscription for $14.95.
- Annual subscription for $89.69 ($7.47 per month).
Subscription includes more than 85k exclusive design, music and photo assets, and high-resolution images.
- Online browser.
- Social media sharing.
- High-resolution PNG format.
- Offers Commercial license.
- Ready-to-use templates.
- Easy to use.
- No free plan.
- Limited fonts are available.
- The subscription plan is pricey.
PosterMyWall is a design service that allows you to make compelling promotional images and videos without creative expertise. PosterMyWall has many templates for flyers, posters, social media posts and videos, album covers, email campaigns, and other marketing graphics.
To create your album cover, choose one of the available templates, use the search box, browse by theme, size, and type, and select a template that catches your attention. Editing the template with PosterMyWall editor is incredibly simple, select the object you want to edit and change color, style, font, background, and so on. You’ll know what to do if you have used a photo editor before.
Browse, edit and download your designs from your computer, tablet, or phone. PosterMyWall allows you to start designing album covers for your new releases at any moment that creativity strikes.
PosterMyWall allows you to download a basic quality image of your design for free or upgrade to a premium plan for a higher quality file to get printed on higher resolutions.
Plan and prices:
- The Free plan Includes more than 970k templates, 1M free video, image, sticker, and audio stock assets, unlimited downloads of social media size, and the online editor.
- The Premium plan is $9.95 per month. Includes unlimited high-resolution image downloads, unlimited HD and 4k video downloads, schedule and publish social media content, limited email campaigns, and the option to upload your fonts.
- Premium Plus is $29.95 monthly. It includes everything from the previous plan, plus Brand Kits and the possibility of using a custom email address for your email campaigns.
- Free plan.
- Upload your fonts.
- Email campaigns.
- Easy to use online editor.
- Works on browsers, tablets, and mobile phones.
- Variety of formats (JPG, PNG, GIF, PDF, or MP4).
- Commercial use is based on each stock-image platform.
- You will need a subscription to download a higher-resolution design.
Adobe Express is an online graphic design service powered by Adobe Photoshop. Adobe software is one of the most popular tools in the creative community, especially among graphic designers and Illustrators.
Adobe Express offers everyone who requires creative design services the tools to do it themselves. You don’t need to learn Photoshop; its intuitive interface will help you choose the best template and edit it with its extensive design resources, Adobe Stock royalty-free library, effects, filters, and Adobe fonts.
Create your album cover without downloading any software. Even if you have an old computer, as long as you run an updated version of your browser, you can work with Adobe Express and from the mobile app too!
One of the features I love about Adobe Express is that you can import your brand’s logos, fonts, and colors to make a cover that matches your identity.
Adobe offers two plans:
- The Free plan includes access template and the necessary Adobe Fonts, a limited selection of royalty-free Adobe Stock free collection photos, basic editing and effects, and 2GB of storage.
- The Premium plan is $9.99 monthly and includes advanced editing tools such as refine cutout and resize. More options to share and schedule posts on social media, convert and export your designs on PDF, and have 100GB of storage. You can get a 30-day free trial.
- Powered by Photoshop.
- Adobe support.
- Mobile app.
- Free plan available.
- Limited Adobe Stock photo library on the Free plan.
- Limited functionality in the browser.
Canva is an easy-to-use design platform for creating professional-looking graphics for social media, flyers, marketing, and album covers for artists. Canva does not complicate things; the platform is intuitive and as simple as editing a PowerPoint presentation.
Canva excels in all essential tools for social media designs, but it also has many advanced features for more experienced users.
If you can’t find inspiration to create your album cover, you can look at the thousands of templates available in Canva to gather ideas. Once selected, you can edit the template, add pictures and logos, and bring your album cover to life. Or you can create your album cover from scratch.
Canva offers three plans:
- Canva Free includes essential editing tools, limited free templates, 1 million free photos and graphics, and 5GB of cloud storage.
- Canva Pro includes unlimited premium content, advanced editing features, Brand Kits, Background remover, social media schedule, 1TB of cloud storage, and customer support. It’s $12.99 monthly with a 30-day free trial.
- Canva for Teams includes brand controls, activity logs, task assigning and roles for your team, reports, insights, and 1TB of cloud storage. It’s $14.99 monthly with a 30-day free trial.
- Works on browsers, desktops, and mobile apps.
- Export to PDF, JPG, and PNG on all plans.
- Unlimited folders.
- Some users report compatibility issues when uploading external files.
- The amount of active users makes it hard to create unique designs with Canva templates.
- Desktop and mobile apps require an internet connection.
Pixlr is a simple photo editor, animation, and design service to create marketing or personal designs for free. It’s similar to other browser editors, with templates to choose from and edit as you like on your browser, desktop, and mobile app.
Pixlr may not have as many features as the other album makers on this list, but it is also the cheapest option:
- The Free plan grants access to Pixlr X and Pixlr E editors.
- The Premium plan allows you to use the mobile app and access more templates, designs, fonts, and other graphic elements. This plan’s only $7.99 monthly.
- The Team plan is for teams above five persons and includes everything on premium plus extra team features and management for $12.99 monthly.
- Competitive price.
- The desktop app works offline.
- Mobile apps are only available on the premium plan.
- There are not enough templates and features for musicians as in other platforms.
Where to find people who make album covers
99designs is a design service to find professionals and experts to work on your album cover or for any other creative needs. In 99Designs, you have two methods to hire a professional designer: by direct work or by contest. Direct work means 99Designs will help you find a professional to work with you closely. Contest works differently: you publish what you are looking for, and every professional can submit their work to you, and then you pick the one you like most.
Fiverr is one of the most well-known websites for hiring freelancers. It does not specialize in graphic design, but you can find a freelancer for almost anything. Use the search box to find freelancers to create your custom album cover. Prices will vary depending on the professional, but it is usually more affordable than hiring a local graphic designer.
For some artists, Pixlr is enough to create a simple design because they’re looking for a minimal design. Adobe Express will give most professional users the tools they need to get a professional visual image. Remember how important your album cover is, and spend some time gathering ideas before choosing the right software for you!