Why Allison Iraheta’s album cover needed a concept

airahe-justli_03.jpgAfter I wrote a review of Allison Iraheta’s new album cover (right) this morning, I started thinking about what makes the difference between an average cover that is simply designed to sell the album and those memorable album covers that make a lasting impact. The cover for Iraheta’s Just Like You doesn’t really say much. It features an attractive portrait of the artist, but it doesn’t tell us anything interesting about her — other than the fact that she has brightly colored hair.

If you’re a fan of American Idol, you watched Allison grow as a performer during the competion. She matured from a timid young girl who had difficulty speaking her mind into a confident star. Why isn’t that story conveyed by her album cover?

Below is a mock up of a concept that I came up with for Iraheta’s album cover. It shows her standing in what could be a backyard or neighborhood playground anywhere in the world. Standing in front of a tire swing is a small girl with a frightened look on her face. This child is “just like you” or just like anyone who has ever been small enough to be afraid to jump in that swing and head for the sky.

concept_allison_cover.jpgA talented photographer could do much to improve a concept like this. It would result in a cover for a debut album that Iraheta could be proud of for the rest of her career. I think this kind of image would be inspirational to Iraheta’s young fans who view her as a peer who has already achieved fame and success.

This concept shows a contrast between the edgy pop star that Iraheta has become and the child that she used to be. It is something that will contrbute to her image and be valued by fans years from today. There are dozens of album covers that portray female artists as sexy vixens. There are very few that are smart and sexy at the same time.

It took me about an hour to come up with a concept for this album cover. That demonstrates the small amount of effort that must have gone into creating the final cover for Just Like You. The record label just slapped something together without considering the artist’s image or her future. That is very typical and should serve as a lesson to young artists who are just starting out in the business. Ask for concepts that you can live with for the rest of your career. Your album art will help define you.

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