I decided to write this post after fielding questions about graphic design. A lot of artists (rappers, emcees, singers, beatmakers) contact me about album cover artwork.
There are tons of graphic designers that can make your CD artwork/single artwork stand out. A lot of artists struggle with finding available graphic artists. You can find graphic designers on forums, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, DeviantArt, Pinterest, Instagram and more.
The goal of this post is to make your search easier.
Why did I put this Directory together?
I put this directory together because I value CD/Single artwork. I struggled finding artwork when I started releasing material (music) to the masses in 2004. I found that a lot of my friends were graphically challenged haha. They could rhyme well but they couldn't design.
I found graphic designers on niche forums. This post was created to answer the question, "Do you know any graphic designers?"
My goal is to facilitate relationships. A lot of artists release material WITHOUT artwork because they do not have the funds (the barter system works people!). These artists also lack the knowledge in regards to finding graphic designers.
How did I put together this directory?
I put together this directory by utilizing a specialized Twitter List. The idea to organize people into Twitter Lists came from Lilach Bullock.
I utilized the Visual Giants list that I created. The Visual Giants list is full photographers, videographers and graphic designers.
I also reached out to people on Twitter and Facebook and asked them if they knew any graphic designers (Thank You for the responses!).
I found a lot of graphics designers on Behance.net.
I also found a website the highlights album cover artwork. The website is called Mixtape Wall
The Correlation between Music and Art
I few years ago I checked out this awesome post about beautiful music album covers. The post made me think about the correlation between music and art.
Artwork is the first thing that people see when they search for your project. Album cover artwork is always present on iTunes, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Audiomack, etc. The awesome passage below sums up the relationship between art and music.
And the best way to get a potential buyers’ attention is with an eye catching album cover. We all know you can’t just judge a book by it’s cover but it doesn't hurt to give a CD a spin based off a sexy piece of art. - Smashing Magazine
It is all about presentation. I believe that we (as humans) gravitate towards things that convey professionalism. If you present an amateurish looking album cover than your fans will assume that you are an amateur.
The goal is to draw them in with the artwork and keep them listening with the music (Good Music). You have nothing to lose!
Having quality artwork makes it easier for your promotional efforts as well. Sharing cover artwork is an effective promotional tactic. Encouraging your fans to use your artwork as their avi extends the reach and visibility for your project. This tactic is very effective on Twitter.
If you think about it, the album cover is the last expression... other than the way your music sounds. Because you can own a persons album on iTunes, be a huge fan and listen to their music all day... and never see their video, never see their live show, and JUST see the cover as it comes up in your phone/iPod. So that's when I realized the most important thing is just that cover. - John Mayer on the importance of album artwork
This list highlights people or companies that are graphically superior. Make sure you have a budget for the artwork and approach the designers with respect.
This list will be updated often (so please check back)!
The 22nd Design
Allegedly, Of Course
Anne Marie-Kirwan (Website Designer as well)
Art by JLC
Art by Shake
Atrayo Harper (Graphic Design based clothing line)
Castle (Website Designer as well)
CB Designs Shop
Craig Flux Singleton
Creative Munkey (Website Designer as well)
Designs by Guru
Dzire 2 Dzine
The Fresh Community
gk2 designs (Does Twitter Layouts)
Ill Dill Design
Illus aka Adam Wallenta
iNanz the Unseen
Keren Yishi'i Media Group
Kodax Graphix Designz
Kyle W. Knapp
Made You Look Graphic Design
Marcus Thomas Art
Memetic Supply Co. (Dr. Quandry)
On Deck Agency
The Photo Doctor
Pink Dyamond Graphics (Does Twitter Layouts as well)
Quinelle Holder (Website Designer as well)
Renasantz Graphic Designs
Romain Jacquet Lagreze
Ryan Wheaton Illustration
Sam Gfx (Website Designer as well)
Sean L. Miller
Shorty Illustration and Graphic Design
Simon Banda II
SpDesigns (Website Designer as well)
Street Hustler Gfx
Sydney The Artist
Top Level Design and Print
Votary Media (Website Designer as well)
XVII Media Co.
Yo Gfx Designs
Zion Eye Media (Website Designer as well)
If you find this post helpful let me know by leaving a comment or sharing this post via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, email, and other social media sites.
I count on YOU the audience to share this post. I know that I can't spread this by myself (that is why this blog post is public).
After you get your graphic needs met you might want to find out where to submit your music to. Check out The Ultimate Hip-Hop Blog Directory (Search Hip-Hop Blogs That Accept Music Submissions).
This is an ongoing post. Please link me to graphic designers that are not on this list by using the comment section below. I will make sure that they will be added ASAP.
Image provided by Know Life