I was going to write about Justin Bieber's new album cover this month. I even got a couple of paragraphs in. I knew to give up when I started researching why he had a gothic looking 'r' painted onto his naked chest, and wondering why the time on his product-placement watch was 3.30. And then I somehow found myself on the Daily Mail website, and then it was almost 2 in the morning on a Tuesday.

Thankfully, David Bowie announced his new album, and there was something better to talk about.

Revered Graphic Designer Jonathan Barnbrook is behind it - in addition to Bowie's two previous albums, and evidently seems to have been granted a lot of creative freedom with the projects, with ★(Blackstar) being no exception.

They are laden with abstract symbolism and ideas, which allow Barnbrook's graphic, anti-establishment tendencies, and Bowie's subversion of himself, to shine in equal measures. They are a good match for each other. Very deep.

Barnbrook discussed the project with It's Nice That, and said: "When you're designing a record cover, it's about getting the atmosphere, not taking things too literally and doing something cheesy." I think this is a great approach to have. It means the cover is ambiguous, yet partially informative. It helps you to imagine what it sounds like before you even hear it, but it doesn't give too much away. After all, the best film posters are the ones which give you an intelligent idea of the tone of the film, without resorting to showing you every character in setting, and condensing the film's selling points into an unmoving rectangle.

I'm also a big fan of how 'Bowie' is spelt out using fragments of the star. It works well in so many ways; the 'w' makes the word mark look almost symmetrical; it suits Bowie, by being glamorous and abstract at the same time. It also teeters on the edge of legibility, which makes it a more rewarding word to read, once you work it out.

Blackstar is a perfect collaboration between an artistic musician, and a musically aware artist. However, is this process too slow today?

Art Angels by Grimes, and EVENIFYOUDONTBELIEVE by Rustie, both fell out of the sky in November with very little official forewarning, and their artworks were both created by the respective musicians themselves. Grimes has illustrated her previous albums, directed her videos, and had precise and consistent control over her output, meaning nothing is diluted from its original source.

Rustie has sort of done the same, but used what is essentially an Instagram post as his artwork. Is it treating the artwork as an afterthought? Or perhaps it could be considered a parallel creation, which perfectly mirrors the characteristics of the music? It also enables the listener to feel closer to the musician, due to the layers of record label meddling and marketing strategies being removed.

SoundCloud has enabled the journey from Final Export to strangers' headphones to be shorter than ever before and is a place where experiments and works in progress' are welcome. It also doesn't let you upload a song without some artwork attached. So, this often means if it's a quick release, a random desktop jpg may end up as the final artwork for it. After all, SoundCloud displays the song as a visual waveform, so the need for an interpretive image isn't necessarily important in this format. The songs do exactly what they say on the tin.

Despite this slapdash approach, Rustie's album isn't let down by its artwork. The music feels fun, raw and limitlessly energetic. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and neither do the pink sky and cheeky seal. After looking at Justin Bieber's try-hard prayer stance for a bit too long, it's nice to see something with a bit less 'Purpose' and a bit more 'Porpoise'.