What makes good artwork

When it comes to the artwork of your release, you can definitely go all out and do something cool and creative. Whether it’s a great photo of yourself or your band, or something more graphic, the artwork is an important visual element that can say more about you and your music. But what makes good artwork? Find out more about the relevant spec and some of our do’s and don’ts in this article.

Artwork spec

  • Your artwork should be at least 1400x1400 pixels and should be a JPG, PNG or TIFF file. We would recommend uploading the highest resolution possible (max 6000x6000 pixels), but keep in mind the file cannot exceed a size of 20MB.
  • Your artwork cannot be blurry, pixelated, mismatched, misaligned, rotated or have other quality issues. Upload a high quality file and make sure that no text is for instance cut-off.

Do’s and don’ts

  • Make sure you have the rights to use the image. If you want to do a photo shoot to specifically get an image to use for your artwork, make sure you’ve come to an agreement with the photographer on the usage of the photos. They could charge an extra fee for wanting to use their image for your release artwork (whether it’s a digital only release or a digital & physical release).
  • Don’t mention any social media handles on your artwork (your Instagram or TikTok handle for instance) and don’t add any music store logos (Spotify / Apple) or QR codes. These are not accepted.
  • It's not allowed for digital release artwork to include references to the physical packaging (to mention "CD" or "vinyl", "mono", "45rpm"). Additionally, don't refer to the audio file format on the artwork, such as mentioning Atmos, Dolby Atmos, spatial audio, lossless, high-resolution audio, high resolution, 24-bit, or 192 kHz.
  • You can't add a parental advisory logo to your artwork if the release does not contain explicit content (curse words).
  • If you are mentioning the title or the artist name(s) on the artwork, make sure this is the same as what you’re mentioning in the Make Waves Release Editor during the upload process. So the exact same spelling, and make sure that the artist tagging is aligned as well. For some stores it’s mandatory to have the artist tagging exactly the same on the artwork and in the release metadata. Does it say “featuring Ice Spice” on the artwork? Then Ice Spice should be tagged as a featuring artist in the product as well.
  • With some stores, it’s not allowed to use the exact same cover art for let’s say the first two singles and the EP you want to put out. They see this as “generic artwork”, when the same image is used multiple times. What you can do, however, is play with the idea of there being three or four releases in total as part of this release schedule. You can work towards the final artwork with the pre-release singles, by using the same image but with different colours for instance. Or to use the images to tell a story. Take a look at the singles that were released by MAVICA before the album came out:
Use the pre-release single artwork to tell a story

Questions? Reach out to support@makewaves.fm!

Last updated in May 2024
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