The sight that comes before the sound.
Your podcast cover art is one way for you to stand out from other competitors and be noticed by new supporters. When a listener searches a directory for the topic that your podcast is about, various images will appear. This is your time to immediately capture the interest of a listener and encourage them to choose your podcast over the rest. It’s no secret that visual content increases engagement across all platforms so let’s dive into how to create podcast cover art that resonates with your audience.
Planning Your Podcast Cover Art
Before reaching out to a designer to create your podcast cover art, or doing it yourself, be sure to take the time to plan out the message you want the image to convey. The image should communicate the goal of your podcast while also remaining consistent with the branding that your current audience has already grown to love and identify with.
Because of the small size that your podcast artwork will be viewed most of the time, it is important to keep the design clean and simple. The topic and focus of your podcast should also influence your design. Here are some examples of show themes and how this guides the artwork:
- Celebrity or Personal Brand – This person’s face should be on the cover
- Business Brand – The company logo should be incorporated
- Business Topic or Hobby – An image, graphic, or text that represents that topic should be on the cover
Podcast Cover Art Guidelines
Whether you are creating your own podcast cover art or hiring a designer, it is important that you are aware of the guidelines put in place by major hosting platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. Each platform has their own list of requirements so be sure to always double-check the Help or FAQ pages to determine if you are meeting the standards. If your artwork doesn’t meet these specific guidelines it has the potential to be removed.
Apple Podcasts is the oldest, largest and most common podcast app. Getting your podcast listed on their platform will significantly increase your reach. Regarding cover artwork, if you get it right for Apple, you should be good everywhere else. According to the apple.com requirements, these are the podcast cover art specifications that should be reviewed prior to submitting a podcast to their platform.
Apple Podcast Cover Requirements
- Size: square; minimum 1400 x 1400 pixels and maximum 3000 x 3000 pixels (recommended)
- Resolution: 72 dpi
- File type: JPEG or PNG
- Colorspace: RGB
Show artwork must be original and can’t contain any of the following:
- Blurry, misaligned, mismatched, or pixelated images
- Explicit language
- Placeholder images
- The Apple Inc., Apple Podcasts, or iTunes Store logos
- The terms Apple Inc., Apple Podcasts, Apple Music, iTunes Store, or iTunes
- Visual representation of Apple hardware
- References to illegal drugs, profanity, or violence
Keep in mind, these are only the specifications for Apple Podcasts artwork requirements. Be sure to visit their website for other requirements regarding your system and count, feed, and content. In addition, if you are utilizing a different platform such as Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, etc. you must cross-check the artwork requirements for their platforms as well.
Designing Your Podcast Cover Art
Now that you have determined exactly what your podcast will be about, narrowed down your target listener, and checked your hosting platform’s specific artwork requirements it is time to put all the pieces together to create podcast art that is captivating and clearly depicts your message.
- Consistency: This is one of the most important factors to consider. You want your audience to be able to recognize you wherever you go. Chances are, if they like your podcast, they will search for you on other social media platforms as well, and vice versa. Remaining consistent with your branding helps your audience continue to connect with you. Your podcast cover art should include the same font, colors, and types of images that your brand is already known for.
- Typography: Again, if you already have a distinguishable font that you use for your brand, this should be carried over into your podcast cover art. This is also a time to evaluate whether your font is legible at first glance. Stay away from using more than two types of fonts, fonts that are difficult to read, and fonts that don’t express the message you are going for.
- Spacing: Try not to crowd your image with too much content which also includes limiting the number of words you are using in your title and subheading. Leave space between the words and edges of the image so that you can be sure nothing is getting cut off. Also, view your artwork at various sizes, small and large, to ensure it is always legible. Being mindful of your spacing allows the viewer to quickly understand the image.
Note: Do not include any important text in the lower 4th quarter of the image as some podcast players will overlay their controls in this location.
- Be Unique: Avoid images or symbols that have been overused by other podcasters. You want your podcast cover art to tell a story and this is the time to do just that. Be clever with the images that you choose to convey your message. Now may be a good time to incorporate your logo if it is simple and easy to recognize as small sizes.
- Color: As discussed earlier, you do want to remain consistent with the brand colors that you are already known for. However, if you haven’t taken the time to dissect the colors you already have been using, now might be the time. Your color choice can emit uplifting or calm feelings. Keep in mind that men and women are attracted to different colors as well so if you are targeting only one gender, this is significant too. One way to really make your image stand out is by using contrasting colors.
- Image: Your podcast cover art should contain high-resolution images. Blurry images that are not proportionate is unappealing to the eye and will most likely result in listeners scrolling past. If you are opting to use an image it should complement your font choice and podcast name. However, an actual image is not always necessary and you can choose to use your logo or a beautifully designed title.
Your podcast cover art is an integral part of creating a well thought out podcast that will keep listeners coming back for more. This image is what your listeners will see from the very first time they discover your podcast to every time they play a new episode. It is not an area that you want to take lightly which is why I recommend utilizing the strategies in this post to help ensure you create podcast cover art that continues to elevate your brand and keep your audience engaged.