5 Things Every Musician Should Know About Mixtape Cover Design



Do you ever stop and wonder why mixtape covers really matter. Think back to the time when someone handed you his or her mixtape without a mixtape cover. Imagine the first thought that went through your head.  Yes you got it…in reality; we all think it’s unprofessional.

But hey – there are some great mixtapes out there that don’t have a mixtape. Cover. While there is definitely some dope mixtapes out there without any mixtape cover graphics, you will notice that the majority of them end up lost under someone’s car seat. So lets try not to forget about mixtape cover graphics.  We are firm believers that every mixtape needs a mixtape cover, especially when it comes to digital marketing. And to no surprise we are going tell you why we think Mixtape Cover Design’s are so important. So following this are 5 things we think every musician and artist should know about mixtape cover graphics.

First, lets dive into the misconceptions about mixtape covers. Then lets look at the benefits of having a professional graphic designer create a high quality graphic for your next mixtape or album.

The All Time Greatest Misconceptions About Mixtape Covers 

1.    “Mixtape Covers Are Pointless”- Huh? In fact, Mixtape covers are critical in this era where irresistible eye catching images garner clicks.
2.    “Mixtape covers should be free”- If you think Mixtape Covers should be free, wait till you find out how much it cost you when you don’t pay a professional.
3.    “Mixtape covers have to be really complicated”- Wrong, wrong, wrong. Theres no rules on how to design a mixtape cover. Sometimes less is more.

The truth is your listeners love mixtape cover graphics! They show the listener exactly, what they are getting ready to listen to, plus they make people click. You definitely want people to on your music. They also capture your story and brand essence, and with so many other artists out there, being able to stand out from the competition is highly valuable. So, when you’re planning your next mixtape cover keep these 5 things in mind:

1. Mixtape Covers Need to Look Like a Good Thumbnail

Whether you are getting your mixtape printed, or just using your mixtape cover graphics for your website, you always want to consider what it looks like as a thumbnail. While you want your mixtape cover to match the normal cd case size, it is important that your mixtape cover stands out in digital retail stores and streaming sites, such as iTunes, CD Baby, Spottily, Pandora, Livemixtapes, Datpiff.com and more. Therefore, every time you get a new mixtape cover designed shrink it down to the size of a thumbnail so you can see if it still pops.

2. If you don’t have an eye for composition you should get a creative person

The problem with mixtape covers is they contain a ton of fluff and not enough concepts. Here’s an example of artist requests for their mixtape graphics:

•    Can you bury the sky in the water with two guns shaped like a cloud
•    Can you add this picture to that picture but make it look like its not me
•    Do you make bubble letters with bullets wrapped in gummy worms?

We can’ t make this stuff up. No wonder people think mixtape covers are pointless. People overloading there mixtape covers with layers of fluff. Not to mention they are ignoring the original concept behind their mixtape.

A good mixtape cover has an amazing concept and compels people to see what it’s about. And   even though some mixtape covers are full of eye-catching images, they all fit the title and sound of the mixtape cover. If you’re unsure about how you want your mixtape cover to look, take a look at some other mixtape covers for inspirations. Warning: No Swagg Jacking! Make sure you don’t copy their mixtape cover.

3. Use High Quality Images That You Own

This is the most important one.  If you’re working on your mixtape cover-- and you want it to look good—use high quality images. This is particularly important if you are using a picture of yourself, because it’s hard to make a picture look good that was taken on a flip phone.  This can also make your fans skip over your mixtape, and cause you to lose sales. Therefore, don’t make things difficult on yourself on anyone else. Just take a get a high quality picture taken of you.

4. Do Not Follow Mixtape Cover Trends

Make sure you don’t get caught up in the trends. While they are catchy, they are here today and gone tomorrow. Your goal is to make classic unique cover art. Therefore, it’s worth, investing the necessary time to create a mixtape cover that is unique.


5.   Do Not Tell The Graphic Designer “I Want Something Simple and Quick”

Last, but certainly not least, do not hire the graphic designer if you don’t have an idea.  While graphic designers can pull together magic, we are not mind readers.  If you ask for a quick and simple mixtape cover, you get something randomly slapped together.  Not to mention it will take more to make it than you expected.

These are just a few of the things musicians should know about mixtape covers, or album covers that make or break their next release. Do you have any others to add? Let us know in the comments.

Domonique DardenComment