“Shelter” – the brainchild of Porter Robinson & Madeon was released in August 2016 and took the world by storm. They used a pretty straightforward album art, with a photograph of the duo. However, there’s a crucial element in the album art that people seem to miss – one that covers 55% of the whole artwork – it’s frame.
Ever since I saw that artwork, I started appreciating minimalism a lot more. To my surprise, I also started noticing more and (a lot) more artists using broad frames for their album arts. This drew my interest in the style further.
Let’s start from the start
In the early days of Instagram (in fact until very recently), one could only upload square images. To avoid unnecessary cropping, people started adding white borders to their images. This little trick very quickly turned from functional to aesthetic.
We all know how quickly Instagram has become one of the most popular social media apps. And with that rise, this trend continued. Using white borders on images is now a matter of internet culture for many people (including me).
Since the average screen size for phones has increased in the past few years. More visual real estate allows artists to experiment with such frames and still be practical.
I believe such a large white space gives the actual artwork some breathing space. In the modern times of social media and mindless scrolling, this space sets the artwork aside from the rest of the hustle-bustle. It allows you to immerse into the art, without any direct distraction.
Examples of Broad Album Art Frames
Sasha Sloan – Sad Girl
Jai Wolf – The Cure to Loneliness
MEMBA – School’s Out
BLACKPINK – Forever Young
Amabilla Stills – Hushed Premonitions
LIONE – Glimmer (William Black remix)
Examples in the Pop industry
Avicii – Tim
Lady Gaga – The Cure
Justin Beiber – Despacito remix
John Legend – Darkness and Light
Cheat Codes ft. Demi Lovato – No Promises
Machine Gun Kelly & Camila Cabello – bloom
Examples from Zedd’s discography
Zedd & Elley Duhe – Happy Now
Zedd & Alessia Carey – Stay
Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey – The Middle
Zedd & Liam Payne – Get Low
How I make these artworks (and you can too)
Select a picture you want as your main artwork. This could either be a photo you clicked, or a stock photo – whatever you like. If you have trouble selecting, you can simply choose a photo of you.
(Learn how you can give your photos the “Spotify look“)
Download an app called VSCO and open your image in it. Crop out the photo into a square. You can mess with different aspect ratios if you’re feeling creative.
Add a suitable filter to the image. Skip if you’re already satisfied with your image.
In VSCO, go to the menu and select an option called ‘Borders”. Select the color, and adjust the width of the border. The great thing about this is that the border get’s added outside the image, and not inside (so the artwork becomes smaller instead of being covered from the edges).
I like to make my artworks slightly grainy. I feel that it makes the image more coherent and adds an organic feel to it. Go to the “Grain” section and set it to somewhere between 2.0 – 4.5.
Export out the Image
Add some text to it and your artwork is ready!
I use VSCO as I like it’s workflow & filters. However you can use any other app (like Picsart), or even Photoshop to do this.
If you’re a music producer that wants to add a quick professional touch to their album art, adding a simple border is one of the safest thing you can do without worrying if it’ll look good. Using some simple apps on your phone, anyone can do this. You don’t have to restrict yourself to white borders either. Colored borders add a certain distinct character to your artworks.
Hello! I am Anirudh Singh (paresthexia). Thank you for checking this article out. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. You can also follow me on my Instagram to stay updated with more content.