The only thing more iconic than the Dark Side of the Moon album cover is the music itself. For established musicians, the album design can enhance the listening experience; for unknown bands, it can actually attract new fans.

But it takes more than just a great artist to make great album art. You want to hire a designer who understands the music industry and has experience with album cover design—not to mention someone who gets the music they’re designing for. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the 10 best freelance album cover designers to make sure your album looks as good as it sounds.

How to get the best album cover design

Traditionally, to get album art designed, you find a freelance designer you like and hire them. But there are other, less-known options to give you even more control over the final product—namely design contests.

In an album cover design contest, you describe what kind of art you’re interested in and designers from all over the world create designs based on what you’ve described. You choose the finalists from among the submissions, give them your feedback and ultimately choose the one you like most. If you’re the kind of person who likes to see their options before making a decision, an album design contest is the perfect route for you.

Learn more about album design contests –>

But maybe you already know what kind of album design you want. In that case, it’s just a matter of finding the best designer with the style you’re looking for.

The 10 best freelance album cover designers to hire in 2020

  1. 1
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 81 )
    • Logo design
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Product packaging
    • Poster
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Card or invitation
    • Other business or advertising
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other packaging or label
    • Icon or button
    • Banner ad
    • Book cover
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Product label
    • Other book or magazine
    • Infographic
    • Brochure
    • Web page design
    • Signage
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Landing page design
    • Typesetting with imagery
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Other web or app design
    • Other design
    • Menu
    • Facebook cover
    • Email
    • Magazine cover
    • T-shirt
  2. 2
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 62 )
    • Book cover
    • Illustration or graphics
    • 3D
    • Other art or illustration
    • T-shirt
    • Poster
    • Other design
    • Magazine cover
    • Character or mascot
    • Product packaging
    • Other book or magazine
  3. 3
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 92 )
    • Tattoo
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Other design
    • T-shirt
    • Sticker
    • Poster
    • Clothing or apparel
  4. 4
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 149 )
    • Book cover
    • Poster
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other book or magazine
    • Other design
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Logo design
    • Product packaging
    • Signage
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Banner ad
  5. 5
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 94 )
    • Logo design
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Other design
    • Logo & business card
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Other art or illustration
    • Character or mascot
    • 3D
    • Book cover
    • Product packaging
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other business or advertising
    • Web page design
    • T-shirt
    • Other web or app design
    • Logo & brand guide
    • Infographic
    • Car, truck or van wrap
    • Business card
    • Banner ad
    • Stationery
    • Poster
    • Other packaging or label
  6. 6
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 94 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • T-shirt
    • Other art or illustration
    • Book cover
    • Logo design
    • Character or mascot
    • Product label
    • Product packaging
    • Poster
    • Tattoo
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Other web or app design
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • 3D
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Merchandise
    • Menu
    • Brochure
    • Banner ad
  7. 7
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 131 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Character or mascot
    • Book cover
    • T-shirt
    • Logo design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other design
    • Icon or button
    • Tattoo
    • Other Graphic Design
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other business or advertising
    • Cup or mug
    • Web page design
    • Social media page
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Signage
    • Other web or app design
    • Card or invitation
    • Banner ad
    • 3D
  8. 8
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 56 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • T-shirt
    • Product label
    • Logo design
    • Product packaging
    • Other web or app design
    • Other design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Merchandise
    • Brochure
    • Tattoo
    • Signage
    • Poster
    • Cup or mug
    • Character or mascot
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Card or invitation
  9. 9
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 13 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • Book cover
    • T-shirt
    • Product label
    • Logo design
    • Product packaging
    • Other design
    • Card or invitation
    • Tattoo
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other web or app design
    • Landing page design
  10. 10
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 246 )
    • T-shirt
    • Logo design
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Merchandise
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Social media page
    • Poster
    • Other art or illustration
    • Sticker
    • Product packaging
    • Product label
    • Other packaging or label
    • Logo & business card
    • Signage
    • Other business or advertising
    • Book cover
    • Tattoo
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other design
    • Facebook cover
    • Cup or mug
    • Brochure
    • Logo & brand identity pack

How did we choose these as the top album cover designers?

The best album covers both represent the soul of the music and entice new listeners. Album designs should be artistic, but also strategic in their marketing goals. Accomplishing that is more than just any designer can handle, so we took extra care in selecting the top ten album designers on our list above. Here’s how we narrowed it down:

1. Design quality

rapture album cover
by Fredrick Richard

All designers that join the 99designs community must first go through a rigorous evaluation. Experts from our team inspect their portfolio to determine how well the designer displays conceptual thought, technical execution and general knowledge of design principles. Designers are then assigned one of three levels:

  • Top Level
  • Mid Level
  • Entry Level

We display these levels on every designer portfolio, so you know whether you’re dealing with an expert in their field, or a young rising star.

2. Album cover design experience

What’s the difference between a good designer and a good album designer? Someone who knows music and the music industry, and can apply to that knowledge to their work. In our list above, we considered more than just overall design skill, but also how often those designers worked on album art before—and how satisfied their music industry clients were with their work.

3. Professionalism

Trashing hotel rooms and back-talking authorities might fly with the musical talent, but that kind of behavior is unacceptable for album cover designers. In addition to showing their design skills, our designers above also proved their professionalism by communicating with clients throughout the process, delivering on time and generally being agreeable.

Are you ready to hire an outstanding freelance album cover designer?

You won’t leave your imprint on musical history with a mediocre album cover designer. Hire only the best designers to match the skill and dedication that went into the music. Choose the freelancer above that spoke to you, and they’ll help you speak to your fans.

Want more album cover designer choices?
It’s impossible to represent every musical style in just ten selections.