Software options for creating album artwork

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Creating cover artwork for a release can be a drawn out and detailed process. It is important to take the time to ensure that the artwork is perfect, as it will play a huge part in influencing whether potential listeners decide to hit play. As well as representing your track or album, the artwork should represent you as an individual, showcasing your branding and key message through imagery. An unprofessional-looking artwork can detract from your talent, and can give influencers a bad first impression, which is hugely detrimental for your career. There are a number of options available to help you in the process of creating your cover artwork, all requiring varying degrees of creativity and hard-work. We’ve taken a closer look at some of the services out there, and weighed up the pros and cons.

Adobe Photoshop

The more traditional option when creating a piece of cover artwork is to use Adobe Photoshop. The difficulty with using Photoshop is that it can be challenging for those without prior experience in design, and can drag out the process. The positive of using Photoshop is that it gives you full creative control; you have full freedom in bringing your ideas to life. Using Photoshop yourself you are able to complete the artwork in your own time, and have no need to rely on any external designers. Photoshop is available for £9.98 per month for its most basic plan, so is a great option for a lower budget.

Adobe Spark

If you are not completely Photoshop-savvy, Adobe also offer another programme called Spark, which is specifically designed for the creation of album artwork. With built-in formatting making the process even more seamless, the perfect option for those who want to have full control but need simpler software in order to bring their creation to life. Premium use of Spark will set you back $9.99 per month, but the software also has a free option available with limited features.

Hiring a freelancer

For those who are less creative when it comes to artwork, a viable option may be to hire a freelance designer to do the work for you. There are plenty of sites out there like Fiverr that allow you to quickly select a freelancer, and there are plenty of inexpensive designers offering their services. This is an ideal option for any artist who is unfamiliar with design software but is restricted by budget. Working with a freelance designer does have its risks if you make the wrong choice, so make sure to take a look at their previous work in order to make sure that they are up to the challenge.


Another option on the market is Canva, a site that eliminates the difficulty of design with easy-to-use software. With millions of stock photos and illustrations available for use, the site is the perfect option for anyone without their own image library. Canva has a free option that, while offering restricted features, is a great tool for creating an artwork, or even just for finding inspiration. The site gives access to pre-made templates, which could be ideal for creating your artwork, although may give it an unoriginal feel.

Poster My Wall

Similarly, Poster My Wall offers thousands of diverse templates available for editing. This is an extremely quick and easy method to put together an artwork. However, this method, of course, lacks originality as a large number of people have access to the same templates. Getting a design made from scratch is also likely to provide a more professional-looking outcome. Poster My Wall is highly suited to those looking for a quick result on a low budget. The basic version of the software requires users to pay for each download, and premium offers a limited number of free downloads, coming in at $99.95 per year.

Cover Art Factory

Cover Art Factory is undoubtedly one of the best options available for artists. With varying prices, all coming in at under $100, the image library is filled with enticing artworks each ready to have your image swapped in. As part of the service, designers will edit the factory image to feature an image of your choice. Cover Art Factory provides a quick and effortless method to create a personalised cover artwork featuring your image. As with some of the other options, you lose some of the originality this way, but you save a lot of expenditure and time.

Design agency

For those with a larger budget, it may be beneficial to hire a design agency to take care of designing your artwork. Music Design is an agency that specifically focuses on design for musicians, specialising in album artworks and imagery. When using a larger agency you should certainly have higher expectations, and may find that this is the best method in order to get an extremely high-quality piece of artwork. However, this method can be costly if you are just starting out, and it is worth giving some of the other pieces of software a try first. By having your artwork designed from scratch, you will see the benefits through the originality of the design, you will stand out from the crowd with a completely unique image.
Each of the options have benefits and drawbacks, but it is important to evaluate your budget and needs in order to make the right choice. Although you might want to dive straight into working with a major design agency, you may need to use a few of the cheaper options while you are getting started, before moving onto an agency at a later stage. Make sure to browse all of the options out there before making a decision, as there are plenty of exciting new pieces of software emerging every year. Making the right decision for you and your brand should be your priority, as long as the piece of software fits your needs, it is definitely the right choice for you.