First impressions count. Your podcast artwork will be the first encounter people have with your show. A professional-looking appearance is fundamental. Looking as though you’ve knocked something together will do you no favours in winning listeners. So let’s go through the essentials to designing great podcast artwork.
Here are my 6 tips to designing great podcast artwork:
- Do your research
Head over to iTunes and look at the current top-ranking shows in your podcast’s category. Judge the effectiveness of the imagery. Notice colours, artwork and fonts shared by the most popular shows. Is there a style preference for the genre? Do the highest-ranking shows disrupt that pattern? Which images stand out on the web page? Be aware of the shows your podcast is likely to be positioned alongside should you launch successfully enough to be included in the New Shows or Top Shows sections within your chosen categories.
2. Decide what appeals to you
What do you notice when you look at the shows in your chosen category? What pulls you in? Which fonts can you read without effort? Which are almost illegible? What can’t you make out or understand in the imagery? What do you have to examine closer to know about? Which images or styles capture your attention? Which photographs don’t you like? Decide what appeals to you, what doesn’t and work out why.
3. Get the sizing right
There are some common trends amongst sizing and type of font. You’ll see that information on artwork is legible even when it’s reduced in size. On a mobile phone app- the most popular way to consume podcasts – some of these images are incredibly small. For your own artwork, ensure that your design and fonts translate equally as a large image or a tiny image inside an app on your phone.
When submitting your show to the main podcast directories, there are strict criteria to meet. Make sure that extremely small artwork can be seen and read on any device. Artwork file dimensions for iTunes are between 1400 by 1400 pixels, or the largest is 3000 by 3000 pixels. Your image must be square and saved as a JPEG or PNG file. The saved file size must be smaller than 500kb and you may need to use a file compression tool to ensure you can meet iTunes requirements.
4. What is the purpose of your podcast?
For wording on the artwork, some podcasts simply display the show title. Others have more text, including a sub-title and/or the host’s name on the podcast cover. Think again about the purpose of your podcast. How important is it that your name is displayed there? You may decide to keep your artwork clean and simple, highlighting the show’s name only. I’ve seen many shows start out with no host name – just the logo and the name of the show. With increased audiences the hosts rebranded to include their names. Whatever you initially decide on, nothing is set in stone. You have flexibility to change later.
5. Keep it simple
Personally, I prefer artwork with simplicity. Too much going on visually can feel messy and overwhelming. You’ll see certain style preferences in artwork designs. Do you want to follow the majority or do something different? Your podcast should look as though it belongs to the genre, and should draw attention. Think about the main colours – your artwork should ‘pop’.
6. What is the aim?
Whether or not to include a picture of yourself is a style choice. It depends how far you are using your show as a personal brand-building vehicle. Is your following big enough to warrant that at time of launch? I do use a photograph of me on my podcast because a great deal of my messaging is about visibility and being seen. My face has to represent that. Additionally, I am using my podcast to catapult my personal brand. However, it is by no means a requirement. Some experts argue that doing so wastes valuable ‘real estate’ on the artwork. They prefer to use big, bold text to make the purpose of the show obvious through its name. You may want more of a community atmosphere and feel that a photograph of you is not representative of, or appealing to, that community or group.
Podcast cover art is one of the most important pieces of your podcast’s brand. It’s the first thing potential listeners see. It sets the tone for your show. Use your platform and audience already to ask them of their opinion. Feedback from other’s is only going to help with your final decision.
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