Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Future-Proof Your Album Artwork

Display sizes
While it can be debated just how important hi-res audio is (or even if consumers can hear the difference), one thing that's instantly noticeable is the resolution of album artwork.

Thanks to the increasing number of pixels that displays are using these days, an 800 x 800 pixel graphic is no longer enough. Today's album graphics have to be optimized for both 5 inch and 55 inch screens alike. Tomorrow's graphics need to be formatted for the new 4k displays that seem to be popping up everywhere.

As an example, that 800 pixel graphic would take up about half the screen area on an old 1,440 x 900 Macbook or iMac screen, but on a 4k display (which is 4,096 x 2,160) it takes up only around 8% of the area.

One of the big problems here is that most DIYers don't have the ability to design or check their graphics in 4k, which gives the major labels a significant advantage, at least at the moment.

So what should you do to future-proof your digital artwork?

It's actually not that difficult. Create those graphics at a resolution that fits the 4k display, or 4,096 x 4,096 pixels to begin with.

The reason why is that if you're releasing vinyl, the required artwork for a 12 inch record sleeve at 300 dots per square inch is 3,600 pixels already, so it's not much of a leap up to 4,096.

In any case, it's time to start thinking about creating artwork and graphics for 4k displays. Don't let the major labels get the jump on you.

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