(Updated on November 2020)
First impressions count. And, although you should never judge a book by its cover – people inevitably do, especially when it comes to podcasts. Good podcast artwork can make the difference between being ‘featured’ in Apple Podcasts and gaining a lot of new listeners, to appearing unprofessional and setting your podcast up for failure
Therefore, the real question is: how do you make your podcast’s image pack a proverbial punch? Luckily there are some handy (and easy-to-follow) tricks you can employ which will immediately help your visuals. Read the guide, cross the items off your checklist, and give your podcast some added pizazz!
Are you just starting your podcast? Before you take out your microphone and hit record, there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself before you start podcasting. Intrigued? Watch our Youtube video to learn more. Also, make sure to subscribe to the Spreaker Youtube channel here.
1. Get Your Podcast Artwork Dimensions Right
Size DOES matter. Before you get into the nitty-gritty of designing your logo design, make sure you understand your podcast artwork must follow some basic requirements in terms of dimensions so that it gets accepted across the main podcast directories.
Out of all the main podcast directories, Apple Podcasts has the strictest requirements, however, luckily, many of the other platforms have the same demands.
Here are the Apple Podcasts’ album artwork specifications:
- Must be a minimum 1400 x 1400 pixel resolution, recommended 3000 x 3000 pixels
- Needs to be JPEG or PNG file
- RGB color space & 72 dpi
- Extra consideration: be mindful of Apple’s Dark Mode
Here are three of the key Apple Podcasts dimensions to be aware of:
Apple Podcast Page on desktop displays at 220 x 220 pixels.
Apple Podcast New and Noteworthy Section on desktop displays at 125 x 125 pixels.
Apple Podcasts on mobile displays at 55 x 55 pixels.
Spreaker Pro tip: If you want to make sure that your podcast artwork looks good on mobile, export your file at 55 x 55 pixels to see what it looks like. If your main text and images are too small to read, then you need to re-think your design!
2. Check Out the Competition
If you’re lacking inspiration for your podcast cover art, a great way to get your creative juices flowing is by looking at what your competitors and peers are up to.
For example, if your podcast is centered around learning, why not try selecting the Apple Podcasts category for ‘Education’ see what’s already listed? Or click the ‘What’s Hot’ section for ‘Education’ and have a think about why those particular podcasts stand out from the crowd.
Below is a snapshot of the current educational podcasts in the section. Take the time to look at the podcasts included, think about which one your eyes are drawn to, why is that? Do they have anything in common? What have other podcasters done which might work for your podcast?
3. Communicate Your Podcast’s Message
Your podcast artwork is the first touchpoint your listeners will have with your podcast. That’s why it’s SO vital that you immediately communicate what your podcast’s about, the topic, theme, or ethos of your podcast – using imagery, visuals, and colors.
Your podcast artwork has to visually evoke the content of your podcast to your listeners. With this in mind, think about the answer to this question and it might help inspire you: What is my podcast really about?
Here are some great examples from our community:
Credits to: Cooking By Ear by Kristina Loring, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Timbuktu Labs, Be Your Change by Juliette Roy
4. Keep It Consistent With Your Podcast Logo and Brand
Never underestimate the importance of brand consistency: you want your customers to instantly recognize your brand, wherever it is being represented. That’s why you should use the same logo, fonts, and color scheme for your artwork, whether it be on Spreaker, Apple Podcasts, or your social media accounts, so as to visually connect your brand.
Spreaker Pro Tip: Create a template for episode images to distinguish episodes from each other whilst keeping them consistent with the podcast’s overall artwork.
5. Decide What Type of Images You’ll Use
One of the first things you’ll want to decide is, whether you want to use a photo or a drawing for your podcast cover art. And just as important: what will it be a picture of?
This also really depends on the type of podcast that you have. For example, is your podcast about your hobby, about you promoting yourself, or about a business? Furthermore, what is the tone of your podcast? Is it a serious chat about an important topic, or is it a light-hearted and silly conversational-type discussion among friends? These types of questions will drive the type of imagery that you’ll use in your podcast logo design and artwork.
99Designs argues that a photo often depicts something real, so if your podcast is about hard news or science, for example, then maybe photography might be the way to go. And using a quality image will convey that you mean business with your podcast. However, make sure to avoid using overused and obvious images such as microphones or headsets — they’re boring and a waste of space. The exception to this rule is if your podcast is about podcasting, then obviously you would need some sort of podcasting imagery in your logo design and podcast artwork.
In terms of photography, you can either opt to use personal and branded photos of the podcast hosts, but if you are looking for more generic photos, then you can find a number of free stock images on websites like. Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay.
Another option is to go the graphical art route which can give your podcast a definite edge by setting the mood and building the appeal of your show before the audience even starts listening.
But whether it’s a photo or an illustration, the most important thing that you need to understand is: what should your cover actually depict? If your podcast is all about you, then you should probably have a photo or an illustration of your face. But that’s not all. The facial expression you choose can reflect, and even inform, the viewer’s mood or feelings. And if your podcast is not about you, then what is it about? If it’s about soccer, add a soccer ball in there; if it’s about drinking wine, draw a wine glass.
Remember that you should always think about your audience, what do they like and how can you draw them in with your cover art.
6. Make it eye-catching
As listeners browse through podcasts on Spreaker, they’ll be deciding in a matter of seconds which ones to listen to, based solely on who has attractive or unattractive images. So, consider creating artwork with bold contrast and try to use images that will immediately catch people’s eye as they’re scrolling through.
Make your image eye-catching through the use of colors, graphic elements, or pictures. But make sure that it isn’t too crowded with complex images or text.
And it goes without saying that if the artwork isn’t attention-grabbing enough, Apple Podcasts won’t feature it.
Credits to: Reaching for Words Category by Spanish Obsessed, Always Listening: Podcast by Joel Sharpton, Your Soccer Passport Category by Public House Media
7. Typography Matters
Typography. You might not give it a second thought, but the type of font you use is important.
A great tip from Daniel J. Lewis:
Serif fonts (with “feet”), like Times New Roman, Garamond, Bodoni often have thin lines and small details that get lost or blurred at small sizes. Script fonts can be too ornate to be legible unless they’re really big (and never put a script font in all-caps!).
Sans serif fonts (“without feet”), like Arial, Myriad Pro, or Futura, work really well with thick or uniform-thickness lines, clear characters, and strong contrasts from the background.
A modern font is chic; a serif font is classic; a script is humanistic. The possibilities are endless. Here’s a handy guide for finding the right font for you.
8. Use Your Words Carefully
Along with nailing that perfect font, podcasters need to realize that 9 times out of 10, the words on your podcast cover will be the title of your podcast. That’s it. Don’t use too many words. Listeners don’t have the time nor want to read a full blog post explaining what your podcast’s about. Save those syllables for your podcast description section!
Also, be mindful of legibility. If you shrunk down your podcast cover art, can you still read the title?
“The easiest word to remove from your cover art can be the word ‘podcast,’ as it’s really unnecessary in your title. […] Think of ‘podcast’ as the label for your distribution method (which it actually is, technically) and not part of your title unless necessary.”
9. Just Have Fun With it!
Yes, your podcast artwork is like the business card of your podcast, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Remember, you can always change your podcast artwork if you want to in the future.
Summarising: What Makes a Great Podcast Art Work?
As summarised by the Podcast Host in their article How to Make Great Podcast Cover Art (aka. Your Podcast Logo), making great podcast artwork is so important when trying to find your audience. New listeners will judge a book by its cover.
But making your podcast logo doesn’t have to be difficult.
- Think about what’s important to your podcast. What category does it fit and what makes it unique? Factor that into the images, colors, and font.
- Make your art simple.
- When you’re designing your art, zoom out to make sure it still looks good when it’s small.
- Don’t forget to plan on what your header images and merch will look like.
If you are still doubting if your artwork looks good, you can use Podcast Artwork Check to preview it on multiple platforms.
So, whether your podcast’s been running for a long time or just getting off the ground, a great image is vital to its success. But now that you know the basics, how can you actually create your podcast artwork? Well, you can go two routes, either do-it-yourself or outsource it.
Free DIY Podcast Artwork Design
If you’re quite a creative person (lucky you!) here are some of the best design tools available:
- Canva – Create your own images using one of the custom templates available. There are both free and paid versions of Canva’s stock images available. Images can cost as little as $1, and you only pay once happy with the image in your artwork.
- Snappa – Snappa is a free graphic design tool that allows you to create eye-catching images in minutes with professional-quality templates and a library of over 500,000 photos to choose from.
- Stencil – Over a million icons and images, hundreds of design templates, ready-to-go quotes and shapes and graphics. Stencil is extremely easy to use for people looking to create professional-looking graphics.
- Desygner – Desygner is a free graphic design software with thousands of ready-made beautiful templates that can easily be tweaked, shared, and printed in minutes. Best of all, it can be used on your computer, tablet, or even a phone.
- Adobe Express – made for web and mobile Spark makes it easy to create social graphics, web pages, and short videos in a matter of minutes. In fact, Adobe Spark has a number of pre-made templates specifically for podcasters that you can start editing right away.
Outsourcing Your Cover Art
If like most of us you somewhat lack artistic creativity, no worries, outsourcing is also a great option. There are many different types of options if you decide to outsource, depending on your budget. Some of which include Fiverr, Upwork, 99Designs,
Fiverr ($) — Fiverr offers the option to find design freelancers who provide excellent quality work at decent rates. With Fiverr it’s your responsibility to contact and select from the potential candidates. It is always better to go with someone who has good feedback and a portfolio you like. All designers will want to receive a very detailed brief. So if you’re going to use the platform, make sure you have a clear idea in mind!
Upwork ($) — Alternatively, with Upwork, you publish a job with your requirements and wait to receive applications from potential candidates – it’s the better solution if you don’t have a clear idea in mind. You’ll probably receive lots of applications. But you can sort through the candidates quickly by seeing who’s got good feedback and a portfolio that you like! It’s also standard practice to discuss with your chosen designer the specifics of the job.
Podcast Design Company ($$) — The Podcast Design Company creates professionally made cover art designs & logos specifically for podcasters. They also have a 30-day guarantee, UNLIMITED revisions, and a typical 3 day delivery time.
99Designs ($$$) — Although it is definitely a more pricer option, 99Design can offer podcasters a variety of different cover art options that they could choose from. The way it works is that you start a contest. Then designers from around the world review your design brief and submit unique ideas. You provide feedback, hone your favorites, and choose a winner.