What makes for a good podcast?
A unique theme? A regular schedule that allows listeners to tune in? Forming a connection or authentic bond with your listeners?
If you picked any of those, you wouldn’t be wrong.
But of course, things are never that simple.
What many podcasters fail to realize is that great content is not enough.
The podcasting industry is growing rapidly. As of this year, there are 850,000 active podcasts and 30 million episodes online.
How do you get noticed in such a challenging environment?
Eye-catching podcast cover art.
Because unless you’re an authority figure in your industry, your podcast is going to blend in with thousands of others on discovery platforms like Apple iTunes and Spotify.
In this post, we’ll show you how to create professional cover art, share best design practices, and show you examples of effective artwork.
What is a Podcast Cover Art?
It’s the image or logo that shows up beside your name on podcasting platforms.
If you already listen to podcasts, this might be a familiar sight.
Not sure what it is?
Well, it’s a brief snapshot of all the latest podcasts available on a third-party platform.
While it might not be inherently obvious, hard work and planning does go behind the design of each image to influence what users click on.
Why Do You Need A Podcast Cover Art?
Great artwork is important for several reasons.
First, visually appealing cover art draws eyeballs and sets you apart from the competition.
And like on other platforms, good design means more traffic.
With hundreds, if not thousands of podcasts available in every genre, you want listeners to notice your content. Otherwise, once a potential subscriber goes to a competitor, there is a risk of losing them for good.
Second, cover art can help you reinforce the theme of your podcast.
But that’s not all.
On platforms like Apple iTunes, artwork quality has a direct influence on whether your podcast appears in the much-coveted “new and noteworthy” section.
Apple itself curates this list.
Featuring on this section means you’ll be the first thing millions of potential listeners see when they open Apple’s podcast homepage.
Certainly not a bad crowd to be in.
So how do you end up on this coveted list?
One of the requirements is to have attractive, original artwork. Apple will not hurt its reputation by exposing users to low-quality artwork and potentially bad podcasts.
What Size Should Podcast Cover Art Be?
The recommended podcast cover art size is 3000 by 3000 pixels, which is the maximum permissible size while 1400 by 1400 pixels is the minimum.
But despite these size requirements, most people will likely see a scaled-down version of your cover art.
For example, if someone clicks on your podcast using iTunes on desktop, your cover art will be sized down to 276 pixels by 276 pixels.
So, make sure your artwork scales down for smalls screen sizes.
If you’re not sure whether your artwork will look good on the small screen, try this simple trick.
Export your cover art image at 55 pixels by 55 pixels to see what it looks like. Are all elements, including logos, text, and images, still clearly visible and not cluttered?
If not, make changes until your artwork is crisp and clear.
This is absolutely essential.
Since most people discover podcasts on third-party platforms, you don’t want to drive potential subscribers away before they even get the chance to hear how great you are.
How to Make Your Own Podcast Cover Art?
Let’s face it.
Most podcasters are not expert graphic designers.
However, you can still make beautiful, engaging covers without having to pay someone else.
What’s the secret?
Use a podcast cover maker tool like Pixelied, which is a great cost-effective alternative to platforms like Canva.
Regardless of whether you have a creative bone in your body, Pixelied lets you customize pre-made templates to create a unique, professional podcast cover art.
And the great news is that Pixelied is free to use.
Here’s a step-by-step walk-through of how to create podcast cover art using Pixelied.
Step # 1 ― Open Pixelied’s Free Editor
Step # 2 ― Customize Your Design
Have a quick browse through the templates available to you.
Your goal is to try and pick a design that will visually communicate what your podcast is about to potential listeners (more on this later).
Once you’ve chosen a template, you can customize it to your liking.
For example, let’s say you are the host of a show that discusses mental health.
When you choose a template, it will open it in the canvas.
Here, you will see a range of customization options that let you change the image, color scheme, text, opacity, and more.
Pixelied is a powerful editor with a range of tweak-able parameters you can play around with.
Step # 3 ― Download Your Podcast Logo
Once you finalize your design, the next step is to export it from Pixelied.
Look for the “Download” option on the top right of your screen.
You’ll be asked to select the format of the image file (.jpg vs .png).
And that’s it!
Your new shiny podcast logo is ready for use.
Best Practices For Creating Podcast Cover Art
Naturally, creating cover art for your podcast is a little unnerving.
After all, it will follow you around everywhere.
But fear not.
If you stick to some of these universal podcast cover art design rules, it will shine rather than blend in with the crowd.
1. Visually Show What You’re All About
Remember the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words?”
Think of your podcast cover art in a similar light.
You have one opportunity to convey your message. And although text-based descriptions often do accompany podcasts, listeners will only see them once they click through.
So, your task with your podcast cover art is two-fold.
It must both inform potential listeners what the podcast is about and the tone of your podcast through visuals alone.
How do you accomplish that?
By understanding your core audience.
Once you identify your listener demographic, ask yourself: How do you want to make them feel? Why are you making this show? How are you different from your competitors?
As you start answering these questions, write them down.
Brainstorm how you can visually represent these ideas. Think of images or visual representations of the topic or key words that often feature in your podcast.
Here are some great podcast cover art examples that are simple yet informative.
2. Don’t Get Too Wordy
Just because you’re designing cover art doesn’t mean you can’t use text.
In fact, you should be using text where possible.
It provides a rare opportunity to connect with people and convince them to pick you.
But there is too much of a good thing.
Don’t start writing paragraphs. Text should complement and add to your visual message, not detract from it.
Stick to three to four words.
To ensure your message is clear and legible on all screen sizes. Keep in mind that eight in ten weekly podcast listeners tune in from their smartphones.
Most people will shy away from a mass of text on a small image.
Additionally, using a few words is better for branding as it lets you create a catchy, fun tagline that listeners can remember you by.
If you’re struggling to figure out what words to use, here’s a few examples of suggestive words you can use:
NPR has perfected the art of creating podcast art that gets text absolutely right every time.
3. Avoid Overused Images
When it comes to image selection for your covert art, cliches are a big no-no.
No one wants to see this:
Stock or generic images of people of items such as headsets, microphones, speakers or any other audio-related device has been overplayed.
Avoid them at all costs.
Otherwise, besides telling potential listeners very little, if absolutely nothing, what you’re actually saying is that you are lazy or lack the creative skill to communicate.
That’s not something you want to be letting your listeners on to.
Note that the above examples include some of the most commonly overused images across all niches.
However, depending on your niche, there will be some additional objects, items, phrases that you will have to avoid so be on the lookout for them.
4. Be Consistent With Branding
Branding is all about influencing the emotions of potential listeners.
For example, let’s say you’re Best Buy.
As a trusted name in the industry, your cover art should take advantage of existing branding and feature your logo that listeners have seen elsewhere.
It’s part of your brand identity.
Since listeners are investing their time, they will naturally favor podcasts by businesses they are familiar with.
Here are some great examples of podcasts with branding almost anyone will recognize.
Also, make sure to incorporate copy, images, fonts, and colors that people associate with your brand elsewhere to help create a consistent feel across different formats.
This will help cement that connection you have with loyal fans.
For example, Neil Patel’s podcast logo is a great example of how to stay consistent across platforms.
Here’s how his artwork looks on the iTunes platform.
Compare that with his website.
Both images are consistent and use of the same colors, text, and photos.
But what if your podcast is not linked to any large organization?
Is branding still possible?
Ask yourself what kind of brand image you want to establish: sharp, edgy, smart, funny, simplistic, or something else entirely?
Your artwork should reflect your answer.
5. Let Typography Do The Talking
Not sure what typography means?
Well, it’s an art form that deals with the arrangement of text to provide additional meaning and context to your image.
For podcast cover art, this mostly means the type of font you use, however, it can also include the use of different shapes to share a message.
So how do fonts add additional meaning to your text?
By provoking a psychological reaction that shapes emotional response in humans.
It’s a trick professional designers and marketers have known for decades. By using font psychology, you can communicate certain themes to listeners without saying a word.
For example, trustworthy, playful, friendly, and creative are just some emotions you can share by changing font type.
How does this translate into the world of podcast cover art?
Let’s say you are the host of a comedy podcast.
What font type should you use?
Something playful obviously.
But on the other hand, if you run a finance podcast, you’ll want to use fonts that make people feel you are trustworthy and an expert in your field.
Here’s a great table that associates various feelings with different fonts:
But remember one thing.
When choosing a font to build an emotional connection, make sure it does not impede the readability of your message.
6. Use Color Contrast To Your Advantage
Color plays a key role in forming first impressions.
According to research, humans judge other people and/or products within the first 90 seconds of initial exposure.
But what influences their judgment?
You guessed it!
It’s the choice of color or color scheme.
Between 62%-90% of all impressions are based on colors alone, so you want to pick colors carefully as they can set the tone, mood, and message people to take away.
Here’s a great example of how color contrast can work both for or against you.
You should always pick shades that reflect on the tone of your podcast.
In the above example, neon is not the best choice for a business podcast as it has a charitable undertone. Orange is a much better choice as it relates to vitality and health, things which you relate with your career.
So how do you know which color to use?
First, spy on the cover art of your competitors.
Do you notice any patterns in their color scheme?
For example, if you notice your competition is using an abundance of dark colors, you can opt to use bright and contrasting colors to get noticed.
Similar if they are all using similar bright colors, you can change it up a bit.
Not sure which color has what meaning?
Here’s a great graphic that gives you the basics:
Remember, your color choices are not limited to what’s visible in the background.
You can also add contrast through text and/or graphics you use. Just ensure the final product is easily noticeable, easy to read, and uncluttered.
Best Examples Of Podcast Cover Art Designs
Now that you understand the nuts and bolts of great podcast cover art, let’s look at some podcast logo examples from Pixelied in action.
Example # 1 ― What’s Wrong With Your Business
What makes it great?
Effective use of contrast.
A few things are going on with the color scheme here.
First, notice the contrast achieved using two similar shades of color in the background image. It guides your eyes directly to the center of the page where the main text is.
But that’s not all.
The contrast effect continues in the text.
By highlighting the key word in a different color, visitors will find it easy to understand what to expect from this podcast.
Example # 2 ― The Fitness Journey With Sophia Steve
What makes this cover art so great?
It’s all about clever use of typography and taking a simple message to reflect on the host’s playful character.
Notice the different font used for host Sophia Steve’s name?
How does it make you feel?
Relaxed? At ease? (It should unless you’re a robot..)
All it took was a simple tweak of the font style, however, the playful theme does not stop there.
You’ll see a similar strategy applied to the image of the host by using external styling elements to make her appear friendly, goofy, yet smart at the same time.
Example # 3 ― The Lady Gang
The Lady Gang’s podcast cover art is a great example of how powerful visuals can help you share your story.
Although the podcast name doesn’t give much away, one glance of the image tells visitors all they need to know about the show; from the group of women hosts, their seemingly close friendship, and casual but professional outlook.
To reinforce this point, the artwork uses color to great effect.
Notice the prevalence of black everywhere?
Each host is wearing one article of black clothing and the podcast title is placed on a black backdrop also.
What’s the significance?
Black is linked to a sense of professionalism.
Example # 4 ― Business Process Simplified
The last example shows how simplicity is powerful when executed correctly.
While it may seem like not much happening in this cover, its genius lies in the use of a simple tagline to tell people exactly what to expect.
And to make sure people don’t miss the text, contrast is used cleverly to draw attention to it.
Besides the text, color is again used to impart different moods.
The host is featured on a black backdrop indicating professionalism while orange is all about fun.
Over To You
While easy to overlook, podcast cover art is essential for success.
It is the face of your show and what people see first. If you fail to make a good impression, you’ll not only lose people’s trust but a loyal audience base.
So don’t take it lightly.
Follow the tips mentioned in this post and head over to Pixelied to create a distinct podcast cover that complements your content and sets you on the path toward success.
Ready to get started?
Begin your journey by clicking here.