Looking for ways to improve artwork and video for songs

Photo credit: Collaboration across the pond by suzi54241 - CC-BY-ND
Photo credit: Collaboration across the pond by suzi54241 - CC-BY-ND

I think artwork makes a difference in people's perception of a song.

Years ago there was a music website called garageband.com. They had two options you could choose to upload your music.

One - pay a $19.99 submission fee.


Two - you could listen and review four bands and upload your song free.

When you chose option two, you only heard the songs, nothing else.

You would rate the song and move on to the next one, knowing nothing about the song other than what you heard.

When you were done, it showed you the name and album art of the songs you had listened to. This part really opened my eyes.

Looking at the list, I saw the album art and thought “Oh! that is not the type of music I would have listened to.” But I had! And some I even rated favorably.

The album art I saw for some of them were really just poor quality. One I think, was a shot of the group that made them look like a boy band.

This is when I noticed I was judging them after the fact. I realized that presentation really would have made a difference if I had seen this first. The music in some cases, didn't match the way I felt it sounded when I heard it.

This is something I always try to think about when I'm making a single or an album cover. Find something during the writing process that influences me, and try to use it in the artwork.

I talked to a few musicians whose artwork I felt really made a difference in this area.

I asked them -- how they came up with it, who they worked with and how it was made.

Ryan Little


How did you improve your song artwork?

When I first put videos out I was still in college and I had no clue how to – create a decent audio/visual experience. I just put my picture usually as the background. I thought people just liked pictures of the artist themselves, right?

I think there’s one in particular I have, that’s just me [with] an Xbox and I’m even standing in the bathroom! But I [shot it] close up so you can’t tell that’s where I’m standing?

I just did random things like that! I thought it would look cool?

And then I realized, I started looking at other audio/visual channels, just bigger name audio/visual channels. And I thought that looks way better than what I’m putting out!

I realized in order to market my music better, for the YouTube audience and YouTube being very visual, I have to have a better visual experience.

What did you do?

First and foremost none of the photos [recently] are shot by me. I am a terrible photographer.

When I first started there was a website called alpha.wallhaven.cc (I want to say it’s a creative commons site?) And it’s just like a ton of pictures, to be used by whoever.

There is a website called Canva.com I [went there] looked around at some of the stock images. And using one of those images I was able to formulate my own logo [with text].

I also met up with this guy named, Martin Moore out of Milwaukee. He found my music on freemusicarchive.org.

He himself is a photographer. And I asked him – If we [could] collaborate on my videos. if you provide some pictures for me, I can feature you in the videos, put your information in the description. And we was more than willing to do so!

How was your most recent Logo made?

I created that logo.

There is a website called Canva.com I [went there] looked around at some of the stock images. And using one of those images I was able to formulate my own logo [with text].

Dr. Mindflip


An artist based out of Ireland, who makes music in the realm of Hallucinogenic piano cabaret.

He has a multi-media/collage sort of vibe he uses for his album art and two stunning animated music videos.

When I asked him about how he had made the artwork and videos, he told me he reaches out to other creative communities and collaborates with them. Networking with them, where they work online.

How did your album artwork come about?

The collage art on the covers came from a few different artists who are really, really cool with their material. And really generous with it.

I spent a lot of time just looking at people that were putting out their artwork. I was looking at people who were doing interesting collage art and psychedelic art. Looking for something to help me bring the image [and music] together.

I do remember getting a reply from one or two people, saying things like “I’m a professional graphic designer! Don’t go wasting my time talking to me about this stuff.”

That was kinda funny! Because really all I was asking was, would you want to make something cool together and throw it out there and see what happens?

I [was] totally respectful to people's time and energy. If there is an opportunity for me to give something back to someone who’s provided their work [online] for free or under creative commons license, I do.

Most people were super cool about it and really encouraging. They liked to contribute artwork.

...someone who’s provided their work [online] for free or under creative commons license... Sites like deviantArt.com

Where were you finding them?

Sites like deviantArt.com. I was casting the net really wide and looking for something that fit.

I was looking for something that would represent the collage, weird mesh of things [in my music].

What about your videos? You have two animated videos, how did you make those?

I loved both of those video artists that I came across [online].

They had put their work up under creative commons license. They were happy to let me use it and manipulate the video to fit the song a little bit better.

There's been a few occasions where people have taken my own stuff and remixed it back in their own videos.

I saw somebody make a short film, it was like a school project. The guy had used a lot of creative commons music and one of my songs was in it, in this scary scene in the heart of it. And it was just brilliant!

It's really rewarding to see that and it gives me a different angle and maybe an insight into what somebody else sees in my work.

And hopefully it [works] the other way around. They get to see a slightly different interpretation of their [video] work with somebody else's sound or music.

It just makes a more interesting story. It turns it into a more creative conversation between people.

Want more ideas like this?

Sign up for the newsletter and get articles like this weekly

Powered by Blogger.