Podcasts are almost all about audio and sounds. Your voice in your listener’s ear. An intimate connection without any extra frippery. However, before you, as a podcast host, even get to the point of making this connection with your audience, there is one area where the visual plays a bigger role than the audio. Your podcast cover art.
It seems a bit silly to direct so much attention to visual detail in a purely audio medium. Yet, many podcasters underestimate how important it is to have an appropriate podcast cover for their show. It is in human nature that visuals catch our eyes before words do. A poorly designed cover will make your show look unprofessional and inferior, and potential listeners will just overlook it before they even hit “play”. But how can your podcast catch the attention of people scrolling through their podcast app in search of their next favorite show?
Creating a podcast cover art is not as complicated as it sounds, and you don’t have to be a graphic designer to come up with something good. Keep on reading, and you will discover some helpful tips and tricks for your podcast cover art to stand out. We make sure your show looks as good as it sounds!
Before we dive into the specifics of text and image, let’s have a look at some general customs, such as the basic rule that great podcast logos all have in common:
Cover art has to be simple, even if this sounds a bit boring to you. Don’t overload your graphic design with text and images, since you don’t want to distract your audience from the main point or subject you’re making.
Moreover, think about the fact that the majority of podcast listeners use their mobile phones to listen to their favorite shows. Your logo will appear to these people in thumbnail size, and if you want them to properly see it you need a plain, straightforward design. Make sure everything is recognizable, also in mini-formats.
One tip: Before you start your art project, scroll through your podcast playlist and pay specific attention to the covers. You will notice how simple most of them are, and that they relinquish to a big part from fanciness and too many gadgets. A picture, some colors, a specific font, and that’s it.
These three podcast covers are very good examples and can serve you as an illustration for your own cover art.
Apart from keeping your design simple, it is essential that you don’t forgot the following:
Know about podcast platform requirements and formats.
Every podcast platform has its specific formats allowed. If you use these platforms for your podcast, browse these requirements first. Because if you don’t meet them, your cover art will be either not shown or pictured in the wrong way. You can easily find these requirements by doing a quick Google search.
Let’s visualize this aspect on the example of Apple Podcast. This platform requires a size minimum of 1400 x 1400 pixels and maximum of 3000 x 3000 pixels. The format of the file has to be JPG or PNG, with JPG being favored over the other. And, as a bonus tip, it’s recommended to have no text in the lower 15% of your cover art. This part will be hidden because of the podcast player shown in the app.
Of course, before you even get to this point, you need to develop an idea of how your logo should look like, and what you want to show. To figure this out, ask yourself this question:
What exactly is your podcast about?
The art should hint at what you talk about in your show. It should hook your potential listeners as they’re scrolling through their playlists. By asking the question of what your podcast is about, you can narrow down your options. What symbols and signs go along with your topic? It can be the Dollar or Euro sign if you talk about finances. A ball or a tennis racket when you discuss sports.
In short, include what your podcast is about. If it’s about Lord of the Rings, include something or someone from Middle Earth. If it’s about your company or your business, include your logo. If it’s about you, include a picture or a drawing of you. Such as the following examples illustrate:
These three covers are almost self-explanatory and show what the podcasts behind are about. Or who’s responsible for producing and hosting them. Harry Potter, Nike, and Dolly Parton – all we need to know before we dive into the actual audio.
It might take some time and a good bit of thought before you come up with an idea. The good thing is, once you do, your life gets much easier. The only thing you have to take into account:
As soon as you have developed a cover, there is no longer a need to brood over profile pictures on your social media platforms. Take your cover art and reuse it on all your channels. Design your graphics around your podcast cover art. Use the same colors, the same picture, the same fond. It will help people to recognize you.
This also works the other way around. If you already have a brand or a company and you want to include podcasting, for example in your marketing strategy, take existing logos and wordings and add them to your podcast cover.
And now we turn to some more details when it comes to the actual design of your podcast cover art. You don’t have to be a graphic specialist. However, there are some general graphic basics to be aware of. Let’s start with…
The image in your cover art.
First things first, microphones and headphones in your logo are overused and won’t catch people’s attention. Unless your topic has something to do with creating podcasts or music, podcasting is not what you talk about but the medium to convey your message. Use a unique picture and not one that many other podcasters decide to include.
If you’re not going for a picture but use colors, choose two to work with, one for the background and one for the text. Take contrasting colors as it helps your audience to distinguish the details in your cover. And think about what colors represent your topic the best, because different colors can convey different messages. Blue makes your podcast appear trustworthy and true, for example, whereas red indicates boldness and passion.
These podcast covers have very clear color schemes and pictures that are not overused. In addition, they work with dark and light fonds and contrasts to make all the details on the cover visible to the listeners.
And finally, we should make some remarks about…
Text in your cover art.
You want to include your podcast title and maybe some more information on your cover. Use big block letters and keep your hands off silly or gimmicky fonds, as it makes readability harder. A good rule of thumb for the number of words to use is five or less so that you can keep it simple and not overload your graphic.
The above examples use bold letters and make the title to their main focus, so that it doesn’t even need a picture to show the purpose of the podcast.
In summary, podcast cover art is a critical element of your brand. First impressions are important, and if you don’t nail it potential listeners will scroll right past your show. That show you probably spent a lot of time making it perfect. So why shouldn’t your cover be perfect too?
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