You should never judge a book by its cover, but people often do so, especially with podcasts and other audio series, like FM and online radio.
So, how to make podcast cover art?
Before Designing Podcast Graphics
The difference between “featured” in Apple Podcasts, a ton of new listeners, appearing amateurish, and setting your podcast for failure, can be as simple as the appeal and feel of graphics and the artwork you show.
The real question is: Can you make your podcast graphics stand out? Yes, you can.
With the following JumpStory guide, we walk you through notes on podcast art: classic product advice, simple typography, visual hierarchy, color psychology, size, and specs of multiple platforms, branding, visual identity, and more.
To make a great how to make podcast cover art, you must:
Tell a Catchy Story
Podcasts can greatly influence multichannel marketing strategies with their ever-growing reach and importance in the digital media landscape.
- What’s the secret element of a great podcast?
- The one that keeps people coming back for more?
In theory, it’s simple: Tell a fascinating narrative.
For professional results, you may need to engage an artist or designer to produce the perfect podcast image. That’s money well spent if it brings in new listeners.
Compare Style Of Your Perceived Competition
Explore what others do.
- Do podcast graphics from active publishers and competitors resemble?
- Can you draw inspiration from the best podcast cover found on charts?
Browse until you build a decent feel of the visual standards specific to your desired industry or field of knowledge.
Just don’t get too similar to anything else, or risk the copycat fate. Copy-cats rarely make it big times.
Genres, Podcast Archetype, Examples & Ideas
You may argue that a photograph will frequently depict reality, so if your podcast is about breaking news or science, for example, real-life photographs might be the way to go.
The only exception to this guide is if your podcast is about podcasting, in which case you’ll want to include some form of podcasting iconography in your logo design and artwork.
Different fields come with different established characteristics. Let’s take a look at just a few examples:
When searching for “celebrities” on Apple Podcasts, more than 2/3rds, or over 67% of cover art designs feature a human face.
While with those on “business”, we see strong visual accents on the branding and graphic accents.
They feature straightforward visual cues for “education” and designs. That’s why forming a perceived vision for the graphic identity of your podcast does need to be 101. Standards vary throughout hobbies, business, comedy, etc.
Female Podcast Covers
When searching for podcasts related to “women”. We either have a clear visual feminine motive or a straightforward “women” written in the podcast thumbnail.
Sharpen Your Podcast Title & Message
Your podcast title graphics are the initial point of contact with your listeners, and a strong hook is the best weapon to successfully podcasting.
For example, it could be about your field, a scientific theme, or ethos, could be a keyword, like aroma, food, music, criminal, motion, or tech.
You don’t have to be a unicorn to utilize graphics, photos, colors, and data, you must concisely pledge a brand promise. Make sure your ton is always on-brand, on-message, and aimed at the people you want to reach.
Podcast Art Typography
Fonts are a crazy-strong medium. But what fonts to use for your podcast graphic design?
- Serif fonts, such as Times New Roman, Garamond, and Bodoni, have thin lines and fine details lost or blurred at small sizes.
- Sans serif fonts, such as Arial, Myriad Pro, or Futura, function particularly well with thick or uniform-thickness lines, clear characters, and strong backdrop contrasts.
- Script fonts can be too elaborate to read unless they’re pretty significant (and never use an all-caps script font!).
To put it in a more conversational manner:
- A script is humanistic;
- A modern font is chic;
- A serif font is traditional;
- A modern font is trendy.
For thorough reads, use legible and clear font pairings that won’t tire your eyes. A classic feel comes with fonts that appear timeless and traditional but don’t conjure up images of high school English papers.
For more extravagant looks, you can go wild with more exotic fonts.
Font Licensing & Podcast Cover Art
You shouldn’t use typefaces directly associated or copyrighted with other brands.
Just because someone created a rip-off of the Avatar or Star Wars font that is available as a free download doesn’t mean that it is a brilliant idea or even legal.
There are a plethora of fonts that aren’t completely free! The risks of font licensing and free typefaces should be taken into account to prevent unpleasant legal complications.
Branding Consistency & Podcast Visuals
Never overlook the importance of brand awareness and consistency. You want the world to recognize your brand no matter where it appears. To visually link your brand, set fixed standards for use of logos, fonts, and color palettes in your artwork, whether it’s on Spreaker, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, plain social media, etc.
Fine-tune your template for episodes to visually identify each yet keep the series consistent.
Control Colors & Style
These podcast covers don’t shy away from employing bright, even fluorescent colors to evoke a pop-culture sense.
Color psychology is a crucial factor in the realm of digital podcasting medium. Graphics and typography need to play together. Therefore, it’s critical to grasp a basic understanding of color psychology to communicate the right tone, mood, and message to your audience.
Colors have a savage impact on how people perceive your podcast. A neon color palette is not the most excellent choice for more serious-minded fields, like health, legal, political, or news, where more cliché palettes hold the standard.
Yet, a creative and harmonized palette signals professionalism. Having a predictable palette can cause your cover art to blend in with competitors, and that’s not what hero images do!
Use High-Quality Imagery
Do you want a real-life photograph or other type of visualization?
Is your podcast after a matter of global meaning, or is it light-hearted and amusing for friends and family? How does your tone correspond to visual hints in your podcast cover image?
Another alternative is to use visual art, which can give your podcast a distinct advantage by defining the tone and increasing the attraction of your show before your listeners ever begin to listen. But, whether you’re using a photograph, animation, or else, the most crucial thing to clarify is: what associations should your cover convey?
If your podcast is all about you, you should include a photo of yourself. People appreciate photos of real people, and your choice of facial expression might reflect and even inform the viewer’s mood or sentiments. What is the point of your podcast if it isn’t about what inspires you? If you’re talking about soccer, draw a soccer ball; if you’re talking about wine, put out a glass of wine.
Always keep in mind who your target audience is, what they like, and how to appeal via cover art.
Restrictions & Resolution per Podcast Platform
According to popular podcast quality requirements, podcasts with cover art that has pixelation, artifacts, high-contrast background art, fuzzy or hard cropping (unless artistic), or other style concerns” will not be included.
Being the most popular, Apple Podcasts has the strictest standards of all the major podcast directories; nevertheless, many other platforms have similar restrictions.
Besides that, specifications for podcast cover graphics are pretty consistent across the board.
Album artwork specifications for Apple Podcasts cover art:
- A minimum resolution of 1400 × 1400 pixels is required,
- Recommended resolution of 3000 x 3000 pixels.
- JPEG or PNG file.
- RGB color space;
- 72 dpi.
- Extra caution: be aware of Apple’s Dark Mode.
Here are three crucial Apple Podcast thumbnail parameters to keep in mind:
- On a PC, the Apple Podcast Page is 220 × 220 pixels.
- On a PC, the Apple Podcast New and Noteworthy Section is 125 by 125 pixels.
- Apple Podcasts are shown at a square format resolution of 55 × 55 pixels on mobile devices.
* Pro tip: To test whether your podcast artwork will appear excellent on mobile, use export your logo file at 55 x 55 pixels. If your main text and photos are difficult to read, you should reconsider your design.
Spotify Cover Art Requirements:
- Lossless encoding in TIFF, PNG, or JPG file formats.
- The highest possible resolution.
- A minimum of 640px wide and tall is required.
- The aspect ratio is 1:1.
- Color profiles were applied directly using an sRGB color space and 24 bits per pixel.
- Don’t upscale the images. Embedded color profiles and orientation metadata are also not supported.
YouTube Banner Image Guidelines:
* Note: Specs listed above are subject to changes. So keep on the lookout for the latest updates regarding the dimensions & resolution rules changes by podcasting platforms.
Podcast Logo Design
A fantastic brand will help you attract the eye (and ear) of new followers, whether you’re just starting a podcast or starting to treat the podcast you already run, seriously. Play around with an online logo creator just to get a general feel of logo design and how you envision your own podcast logo:
- Aim for a logo that captures your unique tone and story.
- Balance pictograms, visual composition, typography, and color.
- Get a memorable intro logo reveal to stamp your videos with a brand-y intro.
Explore what makes a good podcast logo before creating yours that will keep your audience tuned in every time you release a new episode.
Avoid overused and obvious elements like microphones, music notes, or headsets, as these are pure cringe comedy.
Make Your Podcast Logo Adaptable
The logo of your show will often appear alongside your cover art. Therefore, it must work wherever you market your podcast.
You don’t have to use the same image for all of them. Using consistent graphics, fonts, and colors, on the other hand, will make your brand stand out.
Try to make both the artwork and banners unique. It should be clear that they’re all associated with the same brand.
Similarly, make sure your podcast artwork is adaptable enough to operate in various sizes, styles, and locations. Will you use it in your email and Twitter marketing campaigns? Do you need to print it out?
Avoid Busy Podcast Logos
When it comes to podcast cover graphics, less is more.
Someone is sifting through a sea of tiny icons, trying to figure out which one to trust. So, naturally, they’re going to click on the first one that grabs their attention. But, unfortunately, a crowded design with many distinct parts makes it difficult for the observer to figure out what’s going on.
That’s not a good sign.
A simple podcast logo is also easier to remember. The more memorable your branding is, as any influencer marketing expert will tell you, the better.
So, please don’t overdo it with the visuals, and keep your logo as simple as possible. For example, the title of the podcast should suffice as text. If you need to, don’t be scared to reduce the number of design elements.
It’s also worth remembering not to pile too much toward the corners of the square you’re working on.
Mind Who Will Listen
When you start a podcast, the first question everyone will ask is, “What is it about?” If you want to build a dedicated fan following, you need to be very clear about the focus of your show.
You should pick a field where you already have both a fundamental understanding and the unique perspective you have to give. Finally, before you start filming a single episode, imagine where and how far you want to go with your audience.
Another point to consider when starting a podcast is if you’ll produce enough content on this topic to keep growing your following. Thematic XYZ may appear intriguing at first, but after you start brainstorming future episodes, the podcast doesn’t feel as exciting as it felt at first.
Are you able to narrow down your niche, industry, or category?
Rather than keeping it broad, it’s critical to narrow it down to a specialized niche. Talking about parenting, for example, is good, but it may be too wide to attract — and sustain — an audience. It will be better if you create a content marketing calendar beforehand, to make the topics more organized and interesting for your audience. This will help to make the content creation process easier, as you already know the topics for the month.
To build the most devoted fans, narrow your focus to something specialized.
Keep Wording Brief
To give the most relevant material to your audience, thoroughly research all aspects of your chosen subject. With more professional fields, the narrative style should be conversational and welcoming, and on the contrary, the opposite is full of jargon or industry-specific phrases to accommodate your listeners.
Don’t try to cram a paragraph into your artwork because it needs to be readable in small sizes (or even a long sentence).
Instead, make the primary headline your show’s name. Subheadings are fine but keep words brief and to the point.
Leave Space Between Words & Imagery Edges
Limit the number of words in your title and subheading to avoid crowding your image with too much content. Allow enough space between the words and the image’s edges to ensure that nothing is cut off.
Stay Away From Overused Images
Whether you create SaaS welcome email templates for your email marketing strategy or design cover art for your latest podcast idea, it is never pleasant to see when something gets repetitive.
I’m sure you’d imagine a microphone as a stereotypical motive. The subject of your podcast, not a recorder or a headphone, would have a great spot on your cover.
What if, on the other hand, your podcast is about podcasting? This is out of the question in that instance.
The theme of podcasting runs through all of these podcasts, as evidenced by their cover images. You can use this space to show your creativity.
Don’t Crowd Contents
White space is essential in design, so don’t cram too many elements.
Along with finding the appropriate typeface, podcasters must foresee that the text on podcast covers stays almost forever. Don’t use a lot of words. Listeners don’t have time or want to read a lengthy blog article detailing the topic of your podcast.
So instead, save those syllables for the podcast description! Also, keep legibility in mind. In both sizes large and small, your podcast should look ace.
Creative Podcast Graphics
Podcast cover art is a crucial aspect of podcast promotion, as creativity in design drives acquisition like just a few other marketing mechanics do.
Killer Thumbnail Photo Ideas For Podcasts
It may appear to be yet another insignificant last-minute duty, one that, after a lengthy planning and production process, does not seem particularly crucial.
Thumbnails lore “window shopper” listeners in. Unless somebody is specifically looking for you, the thumbnail is the only thing in your control to win attention.
Adding too much text will render it illegible. This does not imply that you must be unclear, though. Be it a visual representation of a concept or 100% abstract. The important thing is that you need to make sure it’s good enough to please eyeballs.
What are you attempting to convey to your audience, and how can you manifest it visually?
When it comes to design, you must consider your context. Your thumbnail will show alongside many others, so how can it stand out? If possible, stick to two colors or typefaces; if you use too many, the title will appear too convoluted and cluttered, and people will not bother to read it. You might intend to leverage your podcasts and their creative thumbnails through email marketing or social media.
In these particular cases, get one step ahead, check SPF records and high email deliverability for your email marketing campaign, and ensure proper message in your social media posts.
If required, make changes to your thumbnail. It’s a feature on every podcast platform, and it can be a handy tool. You could wish to communicate something else once you’ve captivated your audience’s attention. Perhaps you’ve started a new series with a unique perspective, or maybe you’ve published some items that you’d like to show off visually. Or perhaps you’re just not getting enough attention.
Test & Gather Feedback
It’s a good idea to check out how effective a podcast logo is before you get too wedded to it.
- Gather comments on your podcast logo.
- Ask people to guess what your podcast is about only by looking at the cover art.
- Place thumbnails near other podcast logos and ask whether people will listen to yours.
Soliciting feedback from others on whether your podcast graphics are effective will help you make a decision.
Acknowledge The Risks Of Failure
Since Apple’s embrace of the medium through iTunes, which allows simple access to thousands of podcasts, there has been a lot of talk around podcasting. Podcasts have been practically popular since Apple offered podcast features to iTunes, and the first for-cash podcasts have lately emerged.
However, not everyone listens to podcasts, and many people try a few and then abandon them. In addition, some podcasts get things wrong, and listeners quickly move to something else within a few minutes.
Mind Intellectual Property
The legal concerns with podcasting stem (basically) from using any third-party material for commercial use. Materials such as a logo you use to promote or advertise your podcast, a song for your intro, footage, interviews with people, business data, and the list goes on. Publicity rights, and trademarks, are the primary legal considerations that apply to podcasts. Original works of creation that are fixed in a tangible form of expressions, such as a physical copy, videos for YouTube, film, vinyl, CD, or mp3 file, are protected by copyright. It guarantees and limits rights to exhibit, perform, copy, distribute, and prepare derivative works of the original work.
Try Professional Designers
It sets you apart from the crowd, increases awareness, and allows you to handle challenges in novel ways. It also aids you in gaining market share and audience.
If you have the funds available, you should consider the help of a designer. However, it will take some back and forth meetings to define and create your logo, but delegating the design work to someone else could be a smart alternative if you’d instead focus on actually generating your podcast than developing the art for it.
Harmony of Words, Logo, Cover Art & Thumbnails
When it comes to finding an audience for your podcast, having outstanding artwork is a game-changer or game-breaker. New listeners judge a book by its cover.
However, creating a logo for your podcast is a lot of fun.
What category does it belong to, and what distinguishes it from others? Consider this while choosing images, colors, and fonts.
- Make your art as simple as possible.
- When creating art, zoom out to see if it still looks okay at a smaller size.
- Don’t forget to think about your header photos and merchandise as well.
Make Episode Images Unique?
In general, you want your podcast cover to be consistent so that people can recognize your brand.
Therefore, your tagline and logo should remain the same. It’s OK, however, to make minor tweaks to keep things interesting. For example, you could:
- Include the episode’s title.
- To lure listeners, include an image of a high-profile visitor.
- Special episodes’ cover art should be updated to make them stand out (like anniversaries, lookbacks, season finales, etc.).
- To help the audience comprehend what the image is about, include distinctive visuals.
- Just remember to maintain some continuity so that listeners can recognize the episode as part of your show at a glance. You don’t want people to think each time it’s a fresh podcast.
What Is The Best Way To Make Podcast Art?
- You can DIY as there are tons of design tools you will find online.
- Consider employing a graphic designer or a freelancer if you require expert assistance.
Some of the top podcasts developed their cover art for free, but you may also hire a professional to do it for you. Depending on the graphic designer you select, fees can range from $65 to $1,000.
Your podcast title, brand colors, and a graphic that depicts the content of your podcast should all be included in the artwork.
About the author
Dimitar Karamarinov is an award-winning digital multi-instrumentalist with authorship in a broad range of digital medium and multimedia starting as early as 2006. With over a decade of experience in audio, graphic and motion design, along with various forms of business and communication, Dimitar gains experience with Entrepreneur Franchise 500, Inc 5000, and multi-continent companies, along with various charity initiatives under his belt. Dimitar Karamarinov is proactive in appearance on established media such as Forbes, Metro News, CMSWire, BBN Times and more.