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Does music art really matter? Single art, album art, EP art, social media content, even artist branding like logos – do these things have an affect on the success of the music itself? Are they worth your time and resources?

Short answer – yes, I believe art matters!

Disclaimer – I’m a Graphic Designer by day, so my views might be slightly biased but I’m sticking to them and will explain below with five simple reasons.

#1 – Music only engages 1 of the 5 senses

No matter how good your music is, it can only be heard (let’s not get into synesthesia).

We have five senses and music only stimulates one! If your aim is to create experiences or tell stories, you want to engage the listener in as many ways as you can.

Using your artwork space to its full potential allows you to enhance the listening experience in ways that you could not do with music alone. Unlock another one of the senses – sight!

Who WOULDN’T want to enhance their music?

#2 – Attention

We all browse social media. Which content do you pay attention to, click on, view, listen to.. The stuff that catches your eye!

This space is s-a-t-u-r-a-t-e-d.

We usually see album art before we click on music, so quality art can be a chance to stand out from the crowd.

#3 – It helps get your personality across

Your artwork is another platform for you to express yourself. You don’t have to rely solely on the music to get a message across and show the world who you are.

The art can be an extension of the music/sound – eg. Marshmello’s bright child-like art, or dark grimy Metal album covers.

Why not use the visual plane to strengthen your presence?

#4 – It’s a branding tool

Branding is all around us. Not only in music. Look around and you’ll see the biggest brands in the world sticking to a recognisable image throughout all of their products and media content.

A good brand is consistent by definition. If you don’t have a consistent brand – you don’t really have a brand.

Brands can certainly adapt and evolve over time, but ultimately branding is the process of boxing yourself into a set of guidelines. I KNOW this feels counterintuitive as an artist – as a musician AND a designer myself I’ve always wanted to try different things and experiment, but it’s not effective in the long term. I’m only starting to show some discipline rein in my own branding now.

Your art can be a prime opportunity to introduce consistency to your branding. Being strict with visual artwork could even give you more room to experiment musically without coming across as a complete mess.. Who knows?

If you want examples of branding consistency, look at Coca Cola, Apple, Cadbury, and Red Bull. Brands have design style-guides that stipulate which colours, logo placements, and even font/typefaces they are allowed to use in their products and advertising media.

This might seem repetitive – hint, that’s what good branding is.

If you are an artist in 2019, you are a brand. Sorry.

#5 – It’s a promotion tool

In 2019 we need promotional content, especially for social media.

VISUAL elements are one of, if not THE most important tools we can use across social media. We want attention and engagement.

Photos, videos, album art, these are all visual tools that we can’t afford to ignore. Get your ducks in a row! Work on your visual themes and have fun with it along the way.

In conclusion

Of course the music is the most important thing, but that doesn’t mean we can just let everything fall where it lands. Especially as independent artists, we need to be taking advantage of every chance we get to stand out, and put ourselves out there as professionals.

If you have the money, pay a designer to help you out. If you’re on a budget OR if you just enjoy doing these things yourself, it’s never been easier to learn. Take the same approach as production – tutorials are your friend.