A Guide to Podcast Cover Art that Pops
Learn how dynamic cover art can be the key to getting more streams and listeners to your podcast.
So you want to make a podcast. That's awesome! You've probably taken the time to consider important details like the theme, your co-host, and even where you want to stream your content.
These are all essential aspects of your podcast, but there's one other detail that is equally important for making a good impression on your listeners: the podcast cover art.
Just like in life, first impressions for podcasts are vital. While it may sound silly, the cover art of your podcast can determine whether someone listens or doesn't.
Luckily for you future podcast stars out there, there are easy steps you can take to design podcast cover art that pops.
But First... What is Podcast Cover Art?
Before you start creating, it's important to have the right terminology in mind. One of the most common definitions in the podcast world is "directory." Podcast directories are the services where you will find, listen to, and review podcasts (think Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts, etc).
Additionally, many prospective podcasters may be confused about the difference between a podcast logo and podcast cover art. While these seem the same, they're completely separate parts of your podcast design.
Here's a quick breakdown:
- Podcast logo: A graphic or image that can be used across different aspects of your podcast branding. For example, the podcast logo can be used on cover art, social media, and marketing materials.
- Podcast cover art: The cover art is the design uploaded on the podcast directory, and seen when scrolling through the podcast library.
Having these definitions at the top of mind will help you create the best podcast cover art possible.
Getting Started on Your Podcast Cover Art
Before you start slapping cool graphics down on your canvas, there are some important steps to maximize the effectiveness of your cover art.
1. Guidelines for your Cover art
According to Apple, your podcast artwork needs to meet certain requirements. The good news is that these are the same for each podcast directory:
- Minimum 1400 x 1400 pixels, or Maximum 3000 x 3000 pixels
- A resolution of 72 dpi
- JPEG or PNG for your file type
- RGB colorspace
These guidelines help guarantee that your cover art is optimized for all directories and is in the best format for mobile and desktop users.
2. Stick to the guidelines and don't break the rules
In addition to the formatting guidelines, most directories have an established set of rules:
- Avoid blurry images
- Avoid small detailed images as they can become obscured
- No vulgar language, violent imagery, references to drugs
- Be relevant with your imagery (A bitcoin podcast probably shouldn't feature sports illustrations, for example)
- Don't include sponsor logos
The quickest way to lose those precious streams and listeners is by getting kicked off the directories for violating the platform rules. If you adhere to the guidelines, your podcast cover art will be on the right track towards catching the attention of your target audience.
3. Choose your style
There's plenty of visual styles to choose from: photos, customizable illustrations, or text-based covers are some of the most common.
Your podcast is your brand; it's a project that goes beyond just speaking into a microphone. The style should reflect your podcast's message and should be recognizable on Instagram, Twitter, newsletter, or wherever you're advertising.
4. Design for your listeners
Before starting the design phase, you need to know your audience. podcast cover art that engages the correct audience.
Think of it this way: if your podcast is about solving a decades-old spooky mystery, you probably want to create podcast cover art that is dark and creepy. You will almost certainly bring in the wrong audience if your design is full of rainbows and bright colors, right?
A good way to know that you're creating the right type of cover art for your users is by checking out the competition. See what attracts you to their podcast, and what kind of themes they're using to draw in users.
5. Keep it simple and clear
Regardless of the type of imagery and style you choose, you want to keep your design simple.
Designs with lots of elements tend to lose visual punch, especially when seen in smaller formats. Because of that, it's in your best interest to keep your podcast artwork clear and easy to process.
Think of it this way: you want your potential listener to be able to distinguish your podcast cover art at a glance while scrolling. Since most people scroll through their directories quickly, the faster your design catches their attention, the more likely they are to click and stream.
6. Blend typography with imagery
Your podcast cover art should have typography that matches the tone and topic of your podcast.
Back to the example of a spooky mystery podcast: a curly typeface that is bubbly and charming probably is not the font you're looking for.
You should test out multiple fonts to find the perfect match for your podcast cover art, but in the meantime, here are some suggestions for typefaces that go well with mysteries, thrillers, and darker topics:
- Gill sans
On the other end of the spectrum, here are some font recommendations for "lighter" podcast themes:
- Brush script
There are thousands of fonts out there, so it's up to you to decide the best fit. Like with the artwork, make sure your font isn't too busy and is legible across all formats.
For more tips on what fonts, check out these cool fonts.
7. Capture attention with colors
The color selection should harmonize with all the other elements of your design.
If you're unsure where to start with color combinations, here are some basic color theory principles that you can research and apply to your cover art:
- Triadic - 3 colors equally spaced apart in the color wheel
- Analogous - colors that are side by side on the color wheel
- complementary - opposing colors on the color wheel
The best combination of colors will depend on the podcast's theme; will you be discussing political issues? Sports? Or is it a lifestyle podcast? Just like with your choice of illustrations and fonts, potential users will make snap judgments about the colors you select. Test a few out, and ask your friends and colleagues which they like best!
8. Test your artwork for all devices
Some listeners will prefer listening to podcasts on their laptops, while others will opt for streaming on their mobile devices, so it's always a good idea to have your designs optimized for all devices.
To guarantee that your cover art is ideal for all formats, it's important to test your design on a small canvas. You can do this by exporting your artwork at a size of 100 x 100 pixels to see if everything is still visible and clear.
If you can clearly see your artwork like this, you've got a winning design! Otherwise, you might have to go back to the drawing board to make some edits.
Podcast art inspiration
There are a lot of great examples of podcast cover art to get your creative motor running. Here are a few designs that caught our eye and could provide the inspiration you need to make your own stunning artwork.
1. Broccoli Book Club
Broccoli Book Club's artwork is simple, bright, and straightforward. The colors are matched perfectly with the illustrations, and everything is legible and discernible in all sizes. Even if someone has never heard of this podcast, the cover art has an inviting quality.
2. Dear Me
Another sweet and clear design, Dear Me, is a podcast about advice you'd give to your younger self. The charming illustrations mixed with the friendly font do an excellent job of highlighting the nature of this podcast.
Natal is about having a baby while being Black in America. The cover art leaves no question about the topic, and it balances multiple illustrations with bold text. Even though there are numerous elements, the composition isn't cluttered or difficult to understand, making it a great example of how design doesn't have to be minimal to be beautiful.
Get Started on Your Podcast Cover Art
With our customizable Figma template and a library of customizable illustrations at your disposal, you have all the pieces you need to create the perfect design for your podcast cover art.
As always, please share with us your creations so we can feature share them with the Blush Community! We always love to see what you make.