10 tips to boost your reach with album cover design

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Are you an artist or DJ uploading original sounds to SoundCloud, a new band releasing your first signed album, or a seasoned public speaker hoping to take your podcast to new heights? If so, you’ll be no stranger to the task of self promotion.

Album covers are often the first point of contact between listeners and your music or audio. But, if you’re like many artists who are either pressed for time, or cash, and want an easier way to design an album cover – Canva has great news!

We’re incredibly excited to announce the launch of a new library of pro album cover layouts, which allows users to easily create incredible album covers with as little as the click of a few buttons. Follow these 10 steps from inception to promotion, and discover how having a strong album cover can boost your reach and get your music or ideas shared!

1Choose a layout for your album or podcast

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Album Cover templates can be found on Canva's homepage. By clicking on the icon (located on the far left) you'll gain access to a library full of professional design layouts.

You can alter the text, color, and images of existing layouts, add your own photos, or use Canva's incredibly simple design tools to create a completely unique layout from scratch!

2Choose fonts, colors and images that reflect your identity

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Creating an album cover that captures your identity as an artist is no small feat. It requires all the elements that make a great layout (colors, fonts, images and more) to come together and capture the individuality of your music or ideas.

The layouts above feature clean, crisp lines and use geometric shapes for a contemporary feel.  These styles could suit electronic or dance music artists – thanks to their angular approach.

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Love a lazy Sunday? Pastel colors and funky fonts make these designs great cover options for chilled out, acoustic style tunes.

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As well as being able to change images and text, filters can be used to alter the mood or style or your album cover.

The image to the left has been desaturated to almost black and white, and has a strong vignette added for a melancholy feel. The second image uses Canva’s ‘whimsical’ filter, which increases brightness and adds a pink tint. This creates a vintage or nostalgic feel – great for indie rock. The third image features an increased saturation, which makes the colors very bright. This creates the impression of a happy vibe – a great choice for more uplifting, lighthearted acoustic tunes.

3Use your own images

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As well as having access to Canva's image library of thousands of images, a great personal touch is to use your own photos or illustrations as a background for your album cover. For podcast album covers, try uploading a portrait of yourself. For musicians – dig up some snaps from your last awesome gig!

4Update your covers for your social networks

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Once you've created an awesome album cover that you're happy with, update your banner image across your social media channels. You can easily create these graphics using Canva's social layouts made specifically for Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus banners - all custom created to the right dimensions for each channel. Head to the Canva homepage for these.

5Create a launch post for your social networks

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Once you've created your awesome album cover, launch it across your social media networks! Again, navigate back to the Canva homepage to access design layouts for Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest posts. Make sure you use the same fonts and colors from your album cover to keep your branding consistent. Try using your album cover image as a background, blur it, and enlarge it in a frame – as seen above.

6Upload your album cover as a background to Youtube

3 Gain traction on Youtube by uploading your album cover as a background, and add the audio for your music or podcast.

7Join music communities

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Whether it’s hip hop, house, or electronic music that’s your poison, it’s likely you’ll be among 40 million artists uploading, recording and promoting originally-created sounds on the web’s biggest audio web platform SoundCloud. As well as choosing a unique profile name, each user is identified by their custom album cover which appears to the left of every track they upload. It'll also be features on playlists, shares, and any pins on blogs or websites.

This list includes other music communities for emerging artists to join, who would also benefit from an awesome album cover. There’s nothing to stop pro signed artists using Canva to create a layout for a new album either – it’s free, easy to use, and frees up time for more jamming!

8Upload an album cover for all of your tracks

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Too much music, not enough time? It's the bane of many musicians' existence. If you're an artist who uploads a large amount of tracks to hosting platforms like SoundCloud, you'll need an image for each original piece of music. Canva's album cover library allows you to create original designs in as little as 5 minutes, freeing up more time to make music!

9Link your podcast via iTunes Link Maker

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For evangelists, public speakers and all-round-thinkers creating covers for their podcasts, iTunes Link Maker can help you spread the word. Access a searchable URL for your podcast via this link, which will direct listeners to a landing page including your audio and podcast cover.

10Create campaigns around your album cover

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After your album cover has been created and launched, keep creating regular posts for social media to help spread the word. Start with these ideas, and don't forget to use consistent colors and fonts to maintain your personal branding!

  • Thank your fans once you reach milestones (number of shares)
  • Add lyrics or quotes from your music or podcast to your album cover image for a powerful visual post
  • Use the branding (image, color, text) from your album cover to make a poster for your next gig or speaking event

Be creative, and don't be afraid to experiment! You can create these graphics quickly and easily by using hundreds of Canva layouts – accessible from the Canva homepage.

The potential for musicians and thought-leaders to get their sounds and ideas heard online is incredibly exciting! Create your own unique album or podcast cover in Canva today, and use it to boost your reach like you never imagined possible! 

Follow Canva's board Canva Layouts: Album Covers

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