Your podcast cover is most potential listeners’ first impression of you. When you start a podcast, people may find you on iTunes – hopefully, New & Noteworthy – Google Play, your podcasting platform, or another distributor. However, you are one of many podcasts competing for attention. Your podcast cover needs to stand out, as well as be descriptive and fit your brand.
But where to start …
Whether you design your own podcast cover art or outsource, you need to take an inventory of what you have and what you need.
Podcast Artwork: Concept
Before your even start the cover art design process, you need to be clear about your podcast branding. Each element should align with your personal or professional brand, so be sure to know the following:
Podcast Title: Is your title simple, descriptive, easy-to-remember? Note: It should be at least one of these. Will it fit nicely on an album cover?
Tag Line: While your podcast subtitle or tagline may not actually end up on your album cover, it’s a significant part of your written and oral description. Knowing it will inform your design decisions.
Logo: You will want to incorporate your logo into your podcast art, so it should match in color and style. For instance, a classic-style logo will not fit with a modern-themed podcast, unless, of course, you are trying to make a point. You may even want to bring design elements from your logo into your podcast art.
Image Types: What graphics do you use on your website? Are they illustrations (paintings, drawings, cartoons)? Photographs? Your podcast art should be in the same vein of the graphics you currently use.
Colors & Fonts: Since your podcast as an extension of your website branding, you will also want to use the same – or similar – colors and fonts. Everything should match for a more cohesive client – or listener – experience.
Podcast Artwork: Ideas
Once you are clear about your podcast concept and branding, then you can come up with ideas for your cover art.
Visualize: Close your eyes and think about your podcast. What do you see? What colors, images, and concepts come to mind? Is your photo on the cover? Is it all graphics? What appeals to you and would appeal to your new listeners.
Brainstorm: Make a list of at least 30 ideas for your podcast art. It should include concepts from your visualization, as well as any new thoughts. The great thing about brainstorming is when you have to come up with a long list, you really have to stretch your brain. As a result, you can think of some pretty unique concepts. Feel free to also sketch out ideas ad part of your brainstorm.
Research: Look at covers art for podcast that are in and out of your niche. Make a list of the things you like and don’t like about them. This will help you make informed decisions about your own podcast cover art design.
According to iTunes, your podcast cover art must meet the following specs:
- A minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels
- 72 dpi, in JPEG or PNG format with appropriate file extensions (.jpg, .png), and in the RGB colorspace
- Apple recommends compressing your image files in order to optimize images for mobile devices
Include the following elements:
- Artwork: a background image, photo, or other graphic
- Something that represents what your podcast is about (topic, industry, theme)
- Your name (optional)
- Your photo (optional)
When designing your podcast art, keep in mind that you actually need two versions: a cover for your series (that’s primary) and an episode cover you can adapt with the titles/guests of individual shows.
Designing Your Own Podcast Cover Art
If you are artistically inclined, try designing your podcast cover art. There are plenty of free and inexpensive design resources available, as well as places to find free or inexpensive images.
One of the most user-friendly online design resources, Canva has album templates, where you can mix and match art and text. Upload your logo and graphics – or chose one of their free or paid images – and add podcast title.
Cait Donavan used Canva to create her podcast art. (see image)
Adobe Spark is another excellent resource that walks you through the podcast cover design process. Chose the square template, upload and/or add art, and choose from a variety of text styles. If you already pay for Adobe Audition via Creative Cloud – you may already have access to Adobe Spark included – worth for you to check!
Our very own Izabela Russell created podcast cover art for Audio Unicorn using Adobe Spark.
If you still need pics for your podcast art, check out Shutterstock, iStock, or Pixabay for free or low-cost images. Keep in mind, stock photos are used by many, so you may see your pic turn up in other places. Original art is usually your best bet. Ask your photographer friends if they have pics you can use or take your phone and start snapping.
Once you design a few possibilities, upload two or three choices to social media and ask your friends to vote for their favorite. It’s a great way to see what appeals, as well as get your network excited about your new podcast.
Outsource Your Podcast Cover Art
Need support with creating your podcast cover art? There are plenty of options for that too.
Fiverr is a freelance services marketplace where the price point starts at $5 (hence, the name). The website has a category for podcast art designers. If your budget is low, this may be the best option for you. Just be sure to read the reviews and look at samples before hiring anyone.
Carolyn Kiel hired a designer on Fiverr. (see image)
Sometimes the best way to find resources is to ask. Post on your social media to see if you have any graphic designer friends – or friends of friends – in your network. When you get someone through referral, the chances of a successful partnership are more likely. Plus, you may be able to keep that referral thread going.
Your podcast – and your podcast cover art – are reflections of you. Make sure you love your podcast cover art, before you launch your podcast into the world. And if you have to go through several iterations before landing on something you love, that’s OK. It’s your podcast. Put your best foot – and image – forward, so people notice your podcast … and tune in.
What do you think? How do you design podcast art? What resources do you use? Please share your favorites in the comments.