How to make podcast cover art that rocks?

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How to make podcast cover art that rocks?

Learn how to create an amazing podcast cover that will help your podcast stand out!

October 29, 2021 • About 17 min. read

With very attractive podcast cover art, you may boost your number of listens very quickly.

If you’re able to grab the attention of listeners with the right use of logos and images that is…

Therefore, there are some sure-fire directions to follow so that you can design the perfect podcast cover art! 🚀

The phenomenal boom of podcasts is nothing new to you, my fellow podcasters…

There are more and more of them created every day, even every hour.

In fact, as you read this, new shows are appearing on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

And while podcast listeners may technically be aware of many different shows about the same topic, they don’t actually have the time to listen to them all.

This is why it’s so important to have quality content and amazing podcast cover art, so that your podcast cover will stand out against the others on listening platforms.

That way, each day when new listeners are on the different listening platforms, your podcast cover will stand out and they will want to listen to YOUR podcast.

Why do you need good podcast cover art?

Having a good design for your podcast cover can help show your podcast as a brand which can increase your number of listeners.

It can also be used to present logos and images for your podcast which is free marketing for your show.

The podcast cover can be used throughout your social media, like Instagram, on any merchandise that you have in your online shop, or in any video content that you create, like Youtube.

Keep in mind that you should use the same font, images, and colors throughout all your podcast-related content. This includes your website, blog, newsletter, or any marketing materials.

This is why it’s very important to take the time to design a great podcast cover that has the right font, color, and image to represent your show which will help it grow!

Get inspired

Have you ever seen an amazing music album cover that really caught your attention…

Or way back when, if you went to the video store, the cover of the movie may have played an important role on whether you chose that video or not?

Well your podcast cover should have the same effect.

Each day when listeners go into their favorite listening platform, they should see your great podcast cover and want to listen to your podcast!

As with any creative endeavor, it’s always good to look around.

Browse through directories like Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Take the time to look at other podcasts that exist in your category:

  • What kind of design do they use?
  • What colors? What kind of typography?
  • What style of illustration?
  • Does their podcast cover art include the logo for their show?

Don’t limit yourself to American podcasts, there are certainly great ideas to be found among Spanish-speaking podcasts, for example… A sort of world tour of podcasts!

This preliminary work will allow you to:

  • Become inspired to have new ideas,
  • Refine your taste on what you want or not for your own podcast cover
  • See how you can stand out, by choosing a rare type of artwork.
  • Decide if you want to use a template or create your cover art yourself

Be careful, we’re talking about being inspired but not copying at all!

It’s important to preserve your originality to build a strong podcast brand identity.

Colors

It’s not that simple to choose the color of your podcast.

Neurosciences have shown that color has an impact on our brain and on our perceptions.

You may have even noticed it yourself, people associate certain emotions with certain colors.

The color designer, Jean-Gabriel Causse, explains in his book “The Amazing Power of Colors” based on scientific studies and experiments, that colors have a strong influence on us.

Blue will have a strong power of attraction and a relaxing effect. The color green pushes for action; it’s not for nothing that we give the “green light” for someone to act! 🚦

It is therefore important to spend time on this preparatory work because it will have an impact on the way your listeners will perceive you and their decision to listen to your podcast for the first time.

If people are attracted to your colors then they will want to press play, but if they feel as though the colors you chose don’t match the theme of your podcast or that they aren’t compelling, they will not join your audience, which is the last thing you want…

Pay attention to your artwork size

There’s no need to discuss here: a podcast cover must be square. 🔲 Not rectangle or round. Square. And no matter what listening platform you use, the cover will always be that way.

Size of a podcast cover art

Fortunately, the coverage requirements are more or less always the same, regardless of the service used.

Here are the requirements for Apple Podcasts:

  • Podcasts contain images at least 1400 x 1400 pixels and no more than 3000 x 3000 pixels, 72 dpi, in JPEG or PNG format with appropriate file extensions (.jpg, .png).
  • The colors are coded in RGB.
  • To optimize images for smartphones and tablets, Apple recommends compressing your graphics files.

Please note that these rules are not set in stone. In the past, the minimum requirement was 300 x 300.

It’s the growing popularity of podcasts and their availability on all types of screens (and better quality) that has led to the new size constraints.

We recommend that you create a 3000 x 3000 design from the start, to avoid having to change the size later.

Aside from the size, the biggest constraint is that your design must be square.

This is not a very common format these days, given all the big screens/HD and phones around us… But it is a very versatile format and looks good whether your screen is vertical or horizontal.

While you’re thinking about the artwork of your podcast, think carefully about its final size so you don’t have to cut some of your graphic elements.

Not only will your cover be displayed in square format everywhere, but it will appear in a very small size. 🤏

If you decide to use Canva, a free website, to create your podcast cover, you can simply set the pixel size and insert your logo or other graphics to have an amazing cover!

Cover of podcast on Apple Podcasts

But be careful, there is one small exception to these cover directories.

If you are lucky enough to be selected by the Apple Podcasts’ editorial team to be featured on Apple Podcasts, you have to provide artwork in several formats.

You can check the Apple guide on this subject.

Apple has prepared templates to simplify your work to adapt your podcast cover art.

If you follow the guide carefully, you won’t have any problems. 😁

Imagine the uses of your cover beyond your podcast

You don’t know how far your podcast can get you. 🚀

The future success of your show could also bring you the opportunity to:

  • write emails and sign them with a personalized signature
  • to send newsletters
  • to create a website
  • business cards
  • social media accounts
  • to distribute goodies to your community

By designing the cover art of your podcast in a square format, you’re sure you can reuse it pretty much everywhere.

That’s very convenient !

You can also incorporate your podcast cover into any video content, like your future Youtube thumbnail, which will be great for making sure that all of your podcast content is coherent.

This is also good for marketing your podcast because those that come across your podcast cover on Youtube may want to go and listen to it on their preferred listening platform.

In the future, if you decide to create an online shop for any podcast merchandise it will be best to have a beautiful podcast cover that you will want to don on all your new merch.

However, if you are worried that someone might misunderstand that your logo refers to audio content, you can add the word “podcast” after the name of your show. 🎙️

Our last advice is to choose a very simple logo so you can use it easily in any communication materials you need.

There is nothing worse than podcast cover art that is too crowded, with a lot of graphic elements on it. 🤔

Imagine yourself as a listener, you wouldn’t be attracted by a cover with too many colors on it, so many that you wouldn’t even see the name of the show.

And keep in mind that people like to look at colors and fonts that complement each other, not clash. But not colors that blend into each other either, because you want your fonts to be easy to read.

The images should be in line too, to make sure that your podcast cover art is the best it can be!

You really don’t want potential listeners to not press play if they didn’t like your podcast cover because they couldn’t read the title properly.

Your cover must be simple but catchy. 😎

Example of good podcast cover
Example of very attractive podcast covers : Morning Wire & The Start (The Guardian’s show)

Define the style of your cover

Before reading the summary of a book, you are attracted by its cover, right?

Well, for a podcast, it’s exactly the same thing. The cover of a show or the cover of an episode is the first thing that listeners see in their streaming application. 😁

Example of Artwork
Design example with the “Happiness Happens” podcast

So take advantage of this opportunity to show the DNA of your podcast and, why not, give a quick look at your show with only one picture of the topics you will cover in your podcast.

The first thing to do before even choosing your design, is to ask yourself some questions about your podcast :

  • What’s the name of your podcast?
  • What’s your slogan?
  • What other colors inspire you?
  • What are you going to talk about?
  • What is the tone of your show?
  • What is the type of podcast?
  • Who are your listeners?

Once you have answered these questions, it will become easier to define the style of your podcast cover art and, more generally, all the artwork that you have to provide to promote your podcast on your website, newsletter or your social media. 😁

Example display of artwork podcast

Most podcasters use their podcast cover on their social media to promote it. For example, on Instagram, the format of every picture is square, just like the cover of a podcast. 😉

When you don’t have the time to make more assets for your social media,  you can just use your cover and it will say everything about you and your show.

So you have to very carefully choose the elements you want to display on your cover. 🤓

Do you prefer photography or an illustration for your podcast cover?

The podcast is audio content.

So, some podcasters use their artwork to show their faces. Others, on the other hand, decide to display an illustration, that is more abstract.

There is no right answer, you choose what you prefer to do with your podcast cover. 🤷‍♀️

If you choose an illustration to design your cover, you have infinite possibilities. This can be very useful to create a whole universe around your show in which your audience can really be immersed.

For example: you talk about movies? Why not choose a film reel on your cover? 🎬 Is your podcast an audio saga? Represent the main character of your story in your artwork. 🥸 

Example of podcast cover with illustration

However, if you launch a show that talks about science, about the news or if you talk about true crimes or want to tell true stories, then photography is a good option. Because it will bring some realness to your podcast.

If you are making an audio fiction podcast, photos will help you anchor your story in reality.

Keep in mind that nothing attracts the human eye more than the faces of other humans. 👁️ 👁️

And it’s also very nice for your audience to be able to put a face to the name behind the voice of your podcast.

But a quick note: try not to put any pictures of audio equipment like mics or headphones in your podcast cover, unless they relate to the topic of your podcast. Otherwise it will just make your podcast blend in, and it doesn’t make it very personal.

Example of podcast covers with human faces

Create the brand identity of your podcast

When you know how to design your podcast cover and how to relate it to your episodes, you must define which colors you want to use on all your communication platforms. 🌈

These colors must be chosen very carefully because they represent the theme of your podcast but also your universe.

  • If your tone is quite friendly and fun, you may use warm and flashy colors. 💛
  • If the subjects you talk about are very serious, you may use colder colors like blue, green, or grey. 💙
  • The true stories and the testimonials can be highlighted with pastels and other soft colors. 🤍

Once your colors have been defined, keep them close by for reference at all times

To find the style of your show, the colors are really important, but the font you choose also plays a big role in your podcast’s brand identity

A stronger font would go well with a deep or intense podcast show, while one that is a bit more comical or relaxed would work better with a softer font.

But really it’s up to you, and what you think goes with the image of your podcast.

In the podcasting world, as you know, words are extremely important. 99 times out of 100, the words on the cover of your podcast will simply match its title. Why not play with these words and letters by choosing a really identifiable graphic style? ✏️

If you’re already very well known, you may be able to afford to use an abbreviation or even initials, that your audience can find and recognize quickly.

And, if you’re part of a podcast network, you may have to include their name. This can be tricky: you don’t want the final design that you create to be too busy..

Also keep in mind that if you’re creating a podcast for your business, make sure you include the logo for the business so that your audience knows its a company’s podcast show!

Having the name of your company in your podcast cover is also free marketing for your business!

Example Podcast Cover with Fonts

Typography would deserve an article on its own, but as an amateur, if you work with a professional graphic designer, it is not difficult to find the right font for your project.

A modern font tends to be chic, serifs are classic and handwritten ones have a very personal human touch. The possibilities are endless.

Even if you think you’ve found THE font, never lose sight of legibility.

Your text should not be too small, otherwise no one will be able to read it. Likewise, it shouldn’t be too big, so that it doesn’t overpower your design. (Unless, of course, that’s what you want.)

What tools to use to create your podcast cover?

If you’re not sure what you want to spend, or which tool you want to use, shop around and find the one with the right price for you.

There are lots and lots of free options that you can use to create great podcast cover art.

You can also create logos on these sites that you can then out into your podcast cover art if you’re really feeling creative.

If you want to edit and modify an image, Photoshop remains the unquestionable master whether you want to create your own cover, crop a photo, edit an existing photo, etc.

There is also a free substitute called Gimp which is quite easy to understand.

If design is not your cup of tea and if you have the budget, you can create the podcast cover of your dreams by asking professional graphic designers to create it for you.

Just tell them your concept and explain to them in a few words what you want to display on your cover and they will do wonders! ✨

There’s also the MacGyver solution. ⚒️

With Canva, you have plenty of pre-created designs to draw inspiration from.

They have many templates that you can choose from that you can add logos and images to.

Google Drawing is also an online image editor that lets you import images from your Drive, which is pretty practical.

Or if you’re lucky enough to be skilled in art, create your own logo and podcast cover from your own artwork.

What about a template to create your podcast cover?

You can also find an online template that can help you create your podcast cover art.

These will save you time when creating your podcast cover because you can just upload your logo and have amazing podcast cover art!

People sometimes share template designs that they have made, and then you can just make it personal with your own graphics and colors.

This is a great idea if you’re looking for the best price, because they can often be free or not too expensive!

Templates are something that you can simply put your logos and graphics into that can be free and time-saving, to help you create your podcast covers!

Templates are great for people who may not have a lot of designs in mind. They’re easy to use and can help you create the best podcast cover.

Just make sure that you make it has the fonts and colors that are associated with your podcast so that your audience will recognize it!

How to choose the right cover?

If you decide to use templates to create your podcast cover, you can create a few at a time, then see which one will work the best.

Get your friends opinions: post a poll on Instagram of a few different covers and have them vote to see which they like the best!

Just make sure that they all represent your show well, and have the right colors and fonts to do so.

Things you should avoid on your podcast cover:

Make sure that all the language that you choose is appropriate and that it cannot be misinterpreted by anyone.

Also make sure that you don’t use any images or words and phrased that have copyrights associated to them.

Canva tools for your podcast artwork

To sum up :

To make an effective podcast cover and covers for your episodes, here’s what you must pay special attention to:

  • Your podcast cover must be square and respect a size of 3000*3000px ideally 🔲
  • It must really represent the universe of your podcast, even with its colors and fonts 🌈
  • You have the choice between displaying an illustration or a picture of a person. There is no rule for that, except that you have to respect the readability of the name of your podcast. It is very important that the design of your cover is not too crowded. 🧘‍♀️
  • The colors and fonts you choose for your cover should be consistent with a graphic theme that you will use in all your communication materials to consolidate the brand identity of your show. 🖼️
  • You have many free tools to create a beautiful cover like Canva, Google Drawing or Gimp.

The perfect podcast cover art combines a multitude of elements together to achieve a single goal: telling your audience who you are and why they should listen to you.

The task may seem daunting, especially because most podcasts start with a personal project or passion.

But you don’t have to do all this work on your own. The right graphic designer can help you set the style and tone of your story, creating a design that accurately conveys the spirit of your podcast.

Now you know how to create a perfect cover for your podcast ! If you need some inspiration, you can go on the Podcastopolis Instagram account.

Credits for all the cover artworks on the article’s picture : @podcastcover & @podcastcover_ We really appreciate their work, don’t hesitate to DM them to get more information about their services.

by Emma
October 29, 2021

In life, to be able to buy pasta and other useful stuff, I'm Brand Content Manager at Ausha. 💜 I create a lot of content to help (future) podcasters to boost their listening. Other than that, what I love in life besides podcasts and pasta 🥰 : writing stories, reading self-help books, singing Beyonce in the shower, Science Fiction and Harry Potter.

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