Everyone knows that a podcast cover art is important. But still, most only start fussing over it after they’re done recording their first episode.
I believe I don’t need to check how many podcasts are live on iTunes now to say “there’s a lot of it there”.
So if you just got started, how do you squeeze your way from all the clutter and wave your flag that says “I’m here”? Of course, great cover art graphics.
Look, if Apple decided to use podcast artwork as a determining factor in choosing what to recommend on their New and Noteworthy section, then there’s no reason for you not to literally obsess over this.
In this article, we will discuss the different talking points surrounding how to conceptualize and create an awesome podcast cover art.
Understanding Who & What Your Audience Is
And though the reply is sound, it only answers a “part” of the question. It’s like asking someone what they drive and they reply, “a four-seater”.
To understand a target audience, you also need to consider their collective persona. Do you think most of them are conservative or liberals? What’s their potential buying power? Are they mostly men, women, LGBTQ?
By factoring in the answers to those questions, you will be able to have a clearer picture of what color would probably work best and the overall vibe of your cover art.
Keep Dimensions In Check
When creating a podcast cover art, you need to keep in mind that people listen to podcasts using different gadgets.
With that said, how a covert art is displayed on a phone may differ on a computer.
What I’m saying is that you need to make sure that your covert art will look great, regardless of what device it’s viewed in.
If possible, create your cover art using an RGB colored 3000 x 3000 pixels dimension, saved in either JPEG or PNG format. To add, please try to keep the file size under 500KB.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your cover art needs to fit into a square space. So it needs to have a design that does not only look great and recognizable both on-screen and as a thumbnail.
These are the dimensions for different Apple Podcasts pages:
- Preview Page: 276 x 276 pixels
- New and Noteworthy Section: 125 x 125 pixels
- Mobile App: Not beyond 55 x 55 pixels
Less Is More
Regardless if you’re the digital version of Jean-Michel Basquiat, you need to tone things down.
Actually, the fewer visuals element there are, the better.
Keep in mind that podcast cover arts are not supposed to be a visual canvas that shows your graphics skills.
You can use bright colors if you choose to, but limit the number of visuals and text on it.
Podcast cover arts are meant to be the “logo” of your show. And though part of me is saying that “well, if it’s his/her show, then she can go crazy with the graphics” – well, it may be your show, the graphics are for them – your target audience.
So keep things simple, but interesting.
Making Things POPular | Color Contrasting
Before you decide on your color scheme, go do a quick browse on the category you want your podcast to be in.
Check the list of podcasts on there, and try to get a feel to what the dominant color pattern is.
If most of them use dark colors, then create cover art that is as bright and colorful.
You can also add contrasting colors within through text or the main artwork itself.
Just make sure that the finished product is not only eye-catching but is uncluttered and easy to read.
Now if you are somewhat well known, you might want to use your likeness as part of your cover art.
This has nothing to do with narcissism and more about brand recognition.
Regardless if you’re just starting out, including your face on your podcast cover art will surely get you a few extra clicks or listen.
I mean if people recognize your face, they will most likely be interested in what you have to say right?
Now if you feel that a regular photo doesn’t match the aesthetics you’re going for, then you might want to use a caricature of your self instead.
Like it or not, each episode you do is an extension of your personal brand.
And because of that, it is of utmost importance that you keep your branding consistently.
Is your brand serious or edgy? Is your content funny or simplistic? Your podcast cover should reflect your brand voice and tone.
With that said, if you haven’t established your brand identity yet, then you definitely should!
Now if you feel that you need a bit of help on how to “brand” your podcast correctly, then I suggest your read our article about Your Podcast Strategy Should Include A Well Planned Branding Blueprint.
Be Visually Unpredictable
We’ve all seen it before, earphones, microphones, headsets – all of which have been used over and over again since the first podcasts came into existence.
Now unless the topic of your podcast is podcasting itself, then stay away from using that generic imagery as if it has COVID-19.
Do a quick peek at iTunes and I’m sure you’ll see dozens upon dozens of podcast covert art with that theme. Do you want to join that group and become another statistic?
But it doesn’t just end with the usual podcasting imagery. In fact, it’s present in almost every podcast category.
For example, go to the romance category and check to see how many podcasts you see with a heart or a couple’s silhouette on their cover art.
A lot, right?
Same thing as the earphones, microphones, headsets example earlier.
Too literal, too obvious, too generic!
Take a step back and don’t rush things.
Wait for creativity to strike, and then try and create something that is unique.
Putting Up Fonts
As a rule, a font that has a thin line may look elegant, but it can be a bit limiting when it comes to readability – depending on their background.
Personally, I like fonts with much thicker lines and bolder characters.
Since most of these types of fonts like “Cooper Bold” is widely used in real-world advertising, it is a no brainer why I lean more towards using them.
Too much use of fonts can be quite distracting – and could even ruin the look of your podcast cover art.
To avoid this, just put the podcast title on there and nothing else.
But if you cannot avoid adding additional content, make sure that it is noticeably smaller compared to the podcast title.
Online Image Editing: What Options Are Available Out There?
There are dozens of image editing software available in the market.
But unless you have a fascination with creating graphics, most don’t even bother learning the basics of how to operate them.
With that said, online image editing websites has somewhat lowered the bar in terms of graphics creation.
And what is bad news for graphics designers, is definitely a welcome development for us.
Here are some of my recommendations.
VSCO is a mobile app that allows users to create or edit images.
Though you can use it to create a podcast cover art, its features are somewhat limited compared to its peers.
So why did I recommend this you ask?
Well aside from that fact that I think they have the best filters out there, VSCO is also a social media platform into itself – making it another platform to get potential listeners from.
It’s safe to say the Pixlr X is one of the top online photo editors in the industry today. In fact, it can give it’s software-based cousins a run for their money.
Though it has a premium feature, its free version is more than enough to get the job done.
For those who have used photoshop in the past, then you’ll feel at home using PhotoPea.
To date, I believe that this has the closest interface to photoshop. In fact, you can even say that they cloned PS.
And since you can save files in PSD, GIF, PDF, JPG, PNG formats, you won’t have any problems opening them on photoshop itself if you choose to.
The only downside I see is that you need to be somewhat of an advanced user to fully operate this app.
If it isn’t obvious, yes, we at Podblade love using Canva.
Though our editors use Photoshop and Illustrator most of the time, those of us that are not part of the graphics team uses the platform for almost anything.
For me, I think the appeal of Canva is that is it very easy to use while giving you tons of design options.
And the outcome is more than decent as well. Images are of great quality – even if you’re just using the free version.
Add to that the fact that they give you tons of pre-made design ideas – and it’s not difficult to understand why I’m including Canva in the conversion again.
Anyway, that’s all I have for this podcast cover art article.
If you have anything to add to the conversation, please leave your thoughts on the comment section below.
And if you are in need of podcast-related graphics like quote cards or marketing images, then that is something we can definitely help you with.
Schedule a FREE consultation with us now and ask how we can assist you with your graphics.
Rom is a podcasting specialist, ranking his show in the top 100 for all business podcasts in only his first 6 months since launching. He is also the co-founder of Podblade, creating an affordable yet professional editing solution for podcasters. When he isn’t working, you can find him watching his favorite soccer team (Tottenham Hotspur) in action.