Podcast cover art - the ultimate guide
As a podcast host, your art-from is connecting with your audience through the power of audio. That’s the beauty of podcasting. But to build that audience, there’s one important visual element to consider — your cover art. We’ve all heard of the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but first impressions count when it comes to artwork for your podcast. Well designed cover art, reflecting your podcast and the handwork you put into it, can be the reason a potential listener chooses your show. We sat down with Graphic Designer Sarah Capel to discuss all things cover art, from its importance to how you can create it yourself.
Photo from Unsplash
Do I need cover art?
While it’s not essential to have podcast artwork, it could be important if you are serious about your audience. A well-designed cover not only attracts the attention of listeners, but also adds a level of professionalism, brand identity and trustworthiness. Plus it’s fun to get creative!
Where can I create my artwork?
You don’t need to be a Photoshop whizz to create effective cover art yourself! There are plenty of free online tools such as Canva, which offers thousands of easy to edit templates. Avoid pinching photos off Google, (a quick way to infringe copyright!) but rather take them yourself or use a dedicated site allowing free commercial use. Looking to pay an artist? Fivr lets you find and pay creatives for their work. This is a great option if you’re after a more personalised or illustrated look and have the budget for it.
Examples of templates available on Canva
The technical bits
It’s important to get the sizing right to avoid losing your resolution or having to crop parts of your creation. Before you start designing, make sure that your canvas or template is a 1:1 aspect ratio (a square!) with a 3000 x 3000 pixel dimension. If it's less than 3000 x 3000 pixels it won't be accepted onto iTunes. Remember to save it as a JPG or PNG file at the end too
What design should I go for?
Now you've got the technical bits sorted, it's time to think about design! While the style and design of your cover will be largely dependent on your podcast, here are some good general guidelines to follow:
Text - This is arguably the most vital element! Your cover should include the name of your show presented in a readable way. Whether you choose a professional Serif typeface or something more fun, the letters should be bold, clear and nicely spaced out. Choosing font colours which contrast your background will further help these letters to stand out. Consistency is also good, if you have a set of house fonts stick to those for a more memorable brand.
Colours - Similarly, creating a colour scheme is also a strong design choice. If you think about any major supermarket, you can probably say what their brand colours are. Creating your own small set of colours ensures you’re instantly recognisable. Need some ideas? Try Coolors, a website that generates random colour palettes when you tap the space bar. It may be useful to consider the meanings of colours and what they represent to ensure the best fit for your podcast.
Photos / illustrations - If you wish to use a photograph, one high-quality photo is usually enough as multiple photos can be visually confusing. As is often the case in radio advertising, many hosts chose to feature a photo of themselves for a more personal look. If you don't wish to use a photograph, relevant illustrations are also a brilliant option for your cover.
A final top tip?
Less is more! Simple cover art is the way to go. You will only have a split second to grab the attention of a potential listener, so picking a clean design is essential. If your artwork is too busy it can be too much for a listener to take in in a glance. Plus it won't be scalable, meaning tiny details will be lost when it’s shrunk down!
Feeling inspired? Get designing! We would love to see your creations, tag us in your photos @reason_fm on Instagram and we will feature our favourites.