Add "Style / Cover Art" guidelines (STYLE-856)?

cover-art
proposal
Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f2a002757c8> #<Tag:0x00007f2a00275660>

#1

I would like to have discussion and maybe a consensus on a new Style proposal, Add “Style / Cover Art” topic (STYLE-856).

As far as I can tell, we have no (zero) style guidelines for Cover Art. The closest we have is documentation on the Cover Art feature, and How to Add Cover Art instructions.

Considering how important Cover Art is, and how it relates to distinguishing whether two physical products are part of the same Release or different Releases (artwork differences mean different Release), there should be Style guidelines.

I propose that we get a rough consensus about some minimal Cover Art style guidelines, write a first revision of the page, and go from there. There should be links to this page from the Cover Art documentation and the How to Add Cover Art instructions.

This builds on the discussion from Artwork Guidelines / Preferences. There are links to more sources in the proposal ticket.


#2

This has been intentional in the past (we wouldn’t want to add guidelines about anything like a minimum size or scan quality). “Any difference in artwork requires a different release” (from the ticket) is not a cover art guideline, it’s a release one (which should indeed be a guideline).

I would like to keep guidelines for the CAA (so, for images/scanning as such) at a minimum. In general, I’m thinking it would be enough to have a section for cover art inside Style/Release, with stuff like:

"The cover art for a release must always exactly match the actual art for this specific release: do not add artwork to a release just because it looks “similar”. For example, digipaks are not square, and a square cover should not be uploaded to a digipak release.

Any difference in artwork requires a different release. This includes a different legal text, even if everything else is the same. An exception should be made for releases where every cover will necessarily be different (like hand-printed covers or knit covers)"


#3

Just my 2 cents: The more detailed you force such a style guide, the less user will follow and accomplish it.

Example: Minimal cover size.
I prefer to see a tiny little matching cover then no cover at all. If I really need a bigger cover, I can search for it and compare it visually. If I have no cover, there is nothing to search and compare.

Example: Maximum cover size.
Why should a style guide restrict the cover size? If someone really has pin sharp 8000x8000px cover, why should this not be added? Everyone with little knowledge can reduce the size by itself (or the CAA does it automatically).


#4

Silence isn’t the only way to leave style guidelines loose. We could also publish a style guideline with loose guidelines. We can have guidelines that say, some is better than none, and good is better than some. And, wrong is bad (don’t give one Release the cover art from another Release, even if it’s in the same Release Group).

From the discussion I’m seeing the outlines of a principle about what “better” is. High fidelity is good. Enough pixels to provide fidelity is good. Fewer pixels, or too many pixels, is less good than enough pixels. But contributing an image with lots of pixels in high fidelity is better than not contributing because it’s too much effort to reduce the image to fewer pixels.

It would be helpful, I think, to give guidance about whether it’s OK to use the pristine digital artwork from a digital-only Release as the cover art for the corresponding CD Release. This is essentially the “wrong is bad” case above. But maybe the pristine digital artwork matches the appearance of the CD cover, in which case maybe it’s not wrong.

Even the two paragraphs which @reosarevok quotes above would satisfy my desire for “some minimal Cover Art style guidelines”.


#5

I’ve added a slightly extended version of my previous paragraphs to the release guidelines. I’d appreciate any suggestions on improvements to it, or any complaints if needed!

We might want to change this slightly if we decide to add STYLE-845, especially the bits about square covers :slight_smile: But that’s easy to change.


#6

Thank you! The text at https://musicbrainz.org/doc/Style/Release#Cover_art is a good start, and (in my humble opinion) is much better than the absence of guidance we had before.