The only thing more iconic than the Dark Side of the Moon album cover is the music itself. For established musicians, the album design can enhance the listening experience; for unknown bands, it can actually attract new fans.
But it takes more than just a great artist to make great album art. You want to hire a designer who understands the music industry and has experience with album cover design—not to mention someone who gets the music they’re designing for. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the 10 best freelance album cover designers to make sure your album looks as good as it sounds.
How to get the best album cover design
Traditionally, to get album art designed, you find a freelance designer you like and hire them. But there are other, less-known options to give you even more control over the final product—namely design contests.
In an album cover design contest, you describe what kind of art you’re interested in and designers from all over the world create designs based on what you’ve described. You choose the finalists from among the submissions, give them your feedback and ultimately choose the one you like most. If you’re the kind of person who likes to see their options before making a decision, an album design contest is the perfect route for you.
But maybe you already know what kind of album design you want. In that case, it’s just a matter of finding the best designer with the style you’re looking for.
The 10 best freelance album cover designers to hire in 2021
How did we choose these as the top album cover designers?
The best album covers both represent the soul of the music and entice new listeners. Album designs should be artistic, but also strategic in their marketing goals. Accomplishing that is more than just any designer can handle, so we took extra care in selecting the top ten album designers on our list above. Here’s how we narrowed it down:
1. Design quality
All designers that join the 99designs community must first go through a rigorous evaluation. Experts from our team inspect their portfolio to determine how well the designer displays conceptual thought, technical execution and general knowledge of design principles. Designers are then assigned one of three levels:
- Top Level
- Mid Level
- Entry Level
We display these levels on every designer portfolio, so you know whether you’re dealing with an expert in their field, or a young rising star.
2. Album cover design experience
What’s the difference between a good designer and a good album designer? Someone who knows music and the music industry, and can apply to that knowledge to their work. In our list above, we considered more than just overall design skill, but also how often those designers worked on album art before—and how satisfied their music industry clients were with their work.
Trashing hotel rooms and back-talking authorities might fly with the musical talent, but that kind of behavior is unacceptable for album cover designers. In addition to showing their design skills, our designers above also proved their professionalism by communicating with clients throughout the process, delivering on time and generally being agreeable.
Are you ready to hire an outstanding freelance album cover designer?
You won’t leave your imprint on musical history with a mediocre album cover designer. Hire only the best designers to match the skill and dedication that went into the music. Choose the freelancer above that spoke to you, and they’ll help you speak to your fans.