Optimizing album artwork


Q: Hey gang, I import lots of old albums (vinyl) that I have preserved over the years into iTunes by way of a turntable and Audio Hijack Pro. This works great and all is well except when I can’t find album art for my old records. What I do is take a picture of the album cover with my digital camera and import the pic into iTunes. The problem is, these images are not quite the right size and do not fill the album art window. Do you know how I can remedy this? Thanks in advance.

– Scott

A: There are a couple of simple things to keep in mind when creating album artwork for iTunes:

Firstly, iTunes expects any album artwork to be perfectly square. Since most digital cameras do not take square photos, some post-processing of these images to crop them to a perfectly square size (ie, a 1:1 aspect ratio) will ensure that they’re displayed properly in iTunes and on your iPod devices.

Secondly, the resolution is an important consideration. Artwork images that are too small will not fill the album artwork window, while images that are too large will result in wasted space, since each artwork image must be stored within your actual media files. 200 X 200 should be considered a realistic minimum resolution for any artwork and will generally suffice for display on the iPod or iPhone. If you’re using Cover Flow in iTunes or viewing your artwork on an Apple TV you may want to go a bit higher, but generally 600 X 600 is a practical maximum resolution, and is also the same resolution that content purchased from the iTunes Store uses for its album artwork.



Photo of author

Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.