If you have your own podcast and are trying to gain listeners, you only have one shot at gaining attention - having cover art that stands out from the rest.
There are about 2,000,000 podcasts available right now across the board, with over 300 million listeners on Spotify and 500,000 active shows on Apple. That’s a lot of people browsing many shows, and how exactly would they choose what they want to listen to? Content and interest are vital, but it really would not matter if you can’t reel listeners in with your cover art.
What is a Podcast
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For those of you who may not know yet, a Podcast is a digital audio file available for download so that users can listen to episodes, interviews, and discussions wherever they want to. It can cover a lot of different forms of content such as tutorials, global news, and education, to name a few. Also, most podcasts are free.
Importance of a Good Podcast Cover Art
So we now know that users can get it for free, they have a variety of things to listen to, and they can listen to it anytime they like, anywhere they want. So… what does cover art have to do with anything?
Well, good cover art can be beneficial to your podcast in ways such as:
- It can make your podcast stand out from the rest and generate more clicks.
- You can easily communicate what your content is about.
- It can help your podcast find an audience faster.
- It establishes a brand and identity for you and your podcast.
- Companies such as apple feature podcasts with outstanding cover art.
Fair to say, having great cover art takes you a step further into success, so here are the eight best tips to consider when creating your Podcast cover art.
8 Best Practices to Create Awesome Podcast Cover Art
1) Know what you are about
When thinking of cover art for your podcast, you must think of impressions. Again, with cover arts, you need to aim for a one-time big-time design that’s enough to reel listeners in with just a glance on your cover.
So with just a 3000 x 3000-pixel design, you need to convey your personality, tone, and subject. This will help users identify if your content is what they are looking for, and depending on how you capture a certain mood with your design, be an easy hit for specific audiences.
Luckily, there is a standard design for designated content within the podcasting world. If you are a personality podcast that mainly features open discussions and interviews with two or more celebrities, it would be best to have the host's picture because they are the central figure in the show. Some examples are On the Go with Sarah Jo and The Game with Alex Hormozi.
If your podcast is about hobbies or lifestyles such as gardening, cooking, or sport, it would be best to feature prominent elements from your respective field and include them in your design. Some examples are Food People by Bon Appétit.
2) Focus on your crowd
Now before you think you are set, once you have discovered what you want for your podcast, you are still actually only halfway there. Maybe a bit further than halfway.
The next aspect you will need to consider is your audience. Podcasts are an auditory medium. You will potentially be heard and listened to by many different people from different places and of different ages.
And I’ll be frank here: you will not be heard by millions of people, but your focus is to find the ones that need your content.
You should ask yourself what occupation they will have, how old they are, and what consumer behaviors they possess so that you can modify not only the way you communicate but also how you design your cover art.
3) Master the colors
When it comes to the color of your cover art, it will only need the very fundamentals of color theory. Contrasts, complementary colors, and triadic colors are all things that you should be familiar with when you choose the perfect color scheme to help your cover art stand out.
So, take a color wheel, see what colors are opposites of each other, and combine them to create a design that is sure to pop out and captivate upon sight. If you do things like combine images then you can be able to know what mixes well and if not you can learn how to edit them.
You can also opt for analogous colors, which are beside each other in the wheel or have the same shade. They represent a soothing and pleasing harmony to the eye, which can appeal to a wide variety of users. Take for example the Sounds About Write podcast, which uses a deep blue and orange that complement each other.
4) Don’t be like everyone else
Look, scrap the microphone. Chances are you are going to put the symbol of a microphone somewhere on your cover art, and most other podcasts do as well. My tip is, just don’t
The users know they will listen to something, so a microphone on your logo just states the obvious. My play is, go for something bolder, offer something else, stray from what the users expect.
There are many overused design elements in podcast covers; microphones, headsets, and earphones are the most prominent. Not only would they make your podcast seem boring and that you don’t care, but also they won’t identify what your podcast is about and would never click on them.
So, really, scrap the microphone.
5) Don’t overthink it.
Though I did say that you should be creative and avoid being boring and plain, you shouldn’t create a party of visuals in your cover art either.
Keep it simple, add an element that is a niche to your podcast, then work on ways to make it look appealing and more unique. Your podcast will be central, focused, and streamlined on a singular topic or agenda. Users will be looking for just that, so look for a design that captures just enough punch and impact on the right amount of elements.
This also means fewer colors. Two to three primary colors would suffice. Use fewer words too.
For example, Tierra Connor’s The Nuclear Option. This podcast continues to come up with wonderful designs that utilize color theory and creativity to maximum effect.
6) The font is at the forefront.
So far, you learned that you should not be boring, you should keep it simple and become a master at colors. For a rookie at design, these tips might be hard to balance. However, you can all tie it in with a neatly picked font.
Typography can be tricky when it comes to podcasts. Depending on the complexities of your design, you may need to use more than one font, but it is key that you never use more than that because your design will look messy and difficult to read. You need to adjust the thickness of your lines on the elements and color of everything else around your font. Therefore, avoid focusing solely on having your font carry your overall design. It should tightly knit everything together.
Some podcasts show creativity and cohesion with their font design. An example of this is Short and Curly. Despite the relative weight of elements around it, it worked because they used a font that contrasts with the color and plays along with the quirkiness. Or maybe the podcast Word Vomit made its font look wobbly, almost as if it was drunk itself, but it does not interfere with readability because it is the only element present.
7) Consistency across platforms
Users will have the option of listening to your podcasts on their mobile phones, computers, desktops, or even apple watches. You need to keep in mind that you need to maintain the quality and dimensions of your design across all those platforms.
It is important to remember that the default shape you will be considering your canvas is a square, which is a little restrictive but creativity can help you jump over such hurdles.
Companies will also always have requirements, but it will be 3000 x 3000 pixels more often than not. You should see that you can use similarly themed visuals even if you combine images to have consistency.
Nevertheless, think of your cover design as the brand of your logo. It will carry you everywhere, and it will represent your content on every site you intend to share it on.
8) Employ some help.
A helping hand never hurts anybody, and in the world of design, we are not all professionals, so needing some assistance can only do you good.
Sometimes you will not have time. Sometimes you do not have the skill. If you need help, you can either find an artist who can make your cover art for you or use graphic design apps to help you create cover art with ease. You can use these tools to combine images, crop, adjust colors and more.
Some of the most useful apps that you can have at your disposal are…
Adobe Creative Cloud Express specializes in creating the best possible cover art for you. You can easily pick out templates specifically suited to your needs since you will be able to filter by aesthetic, mood, and platform. You can use your own images or search up the thousands available in Creative Cloud Express. Never worry about reshaping or adjusting your design to fit specific dimensions because Creative Cloud Express does it all for you once you are finished with your project.
Canva is a graphic design tool that is easy to navigate, offers a lot of different options for images, vector illustrations, templates, and fonts. With Canva’s easy pick and drop mechanic, you can combine images so that you may achieve the tone and style you like. It is very versatile considering that it is free to use, and it also allows you to edit wherever you find yourself because it is available on mobile.
Pixelied is one of the most flexible graphic design solutions you can opt for with the vast selection of tools you have at your disposal. From background removers, product mockups, inverted photos, and the millions of stock photos to choose from, your creativity will have no bounds with Pixelied’s dedicated software and layout.
Gimp has software that allows the users to be flexible. Offering beginners in graphic design the chance to be as comfortable as they like, Gimp will enable you to navigate with a customizable interface and code that allows you to upload third-party programs that make your work easier for you.
Never take your cover art for granted.
In the world of podcasting, you won’t get anywhere without a cover art that fits the bill. With podcasts growing increasingly popular as the world continues on its course, the possibility of standing out becomes more of a challenge, and by not learning how to create your trademark designs as soon as you start, you will find yourself stuck in the tail-end of the line. So, if there is anything to learn from the tips above, it is:
Always know where you are, who you are around for, and how you can offer your service to your target audience.
Shelly is a digital marketer specializing in guest post outreach and SaaS SEO. She is the CEO and co-founder of SaaSLaunchr, a digital marketing agency dedicated to growing SaaS businesses.