155 million Americans have listened to a podcast at least once before, and 104 million of those people listened in the past month alone.
Overall, 50 percent of all US homes consider themselves to be podcast fans. Podcasting is rapidly on the rise and the market has become more and more saturated to meet the growing demand for new content.
If you want to attract attention in this crowd, you’re going to need an eye-catching podcast cover that targets the right listener. While the most important component is the content of your podcast, your podcast artwork will help you grow your following.
Podcast cover artwork is often a potential subscriber’s first impression of your podcast. Creating an awesome podcast cover isn’t difficult, you just need to make sure you follow a few simple things.
What Do I Need?
The #1 priority is the big square image that is the face of your podcast. The two specifications to keep in mind are:
File type: JPG or PNG (RGB)
File size: 1400 x 1400 pixels minimum, 3000 x 3000 pixels maximum
If you plan on promoting your podcast across other channels, consider adding social media and blog image assets to your to-do-list. These might include:
Facebook page banner
Individual episode art
How Do I Get The Goods?
You have two choices. You can design your own podcast cover artwork, which is the cheapest option. If you’ve got the ability, fire up Photoshop, use the specs listed above, and design away. If Photoshop is not your thing, you can always give Canva a try.
If you have other things to focus your time on, a professional designer will be the way to go. Hiring a designer will free up your time and also brings a designer’s creativity to the table. If you don’t have a designer who knows you and your brand, contact me here and let’s talk.
How Do I Make Sure It’s Awesome?
Great podcast cover artwork won’t make or break your podcast, but quality graphics will result in more subscribers and a brand that people will respect. Even if you’re working with an amazing designer, it’s still a good idea to understand what makes a great cover. Start by browsing new or noteworthy shows on iTunes and write down what catches your eye. Here are 9 tips to help you out.
Visually Communicate The Subject
Your podcast artwork should be determined by the type of podcast that you have and visually communicate what it is about. If your podcast is on the subject of a hobby, you’re going to want to use artwork specific to that hobby. If the goal of your podcast is to reach out to existing customers, then you’ll want to use recognizable branding such as your logo. If you’re the host, a personality with a following, then get your face on the cover.
Make it Scalable
iTunes requires 1400 x 1400 images, but keep in mind that your cover art will get scaled down so it must remain readable even when it’s really small. If it still looks good and you can clearly make out what’s there at 125 x 125 pixels or 55 x 55 pixels, it’s perfect!
Future Proof It
A few years ago, the minimum podcast cover art size was 300 x 300 pixels. This has since increased to the current 1400 x 1400 pixels. Ideally, you should make your artwork future proof by creating a larger 3000 x 3000 image pixels max. You can find plenty of great, high-quality images on free stock photo websites, so don’t ruin your cover by using low-quality images.
Avoid Overused Images
Please, for the love of all things clip-art, don’t use microphones, headsets or the RSS icon. If your podcast is actually about podcasting, then you get a pass and may want to incorporate some podcasting elements. Otherwise, do us all a favor and skip the mic. You want to stand out, not blend in!
Don’t ignore the importance of brand consistency. You want to stay recognizable and familiar to your listeners. Use the same logo, fonts, and general color scheme for your artwork as well as your website, social media pages, and accounts.
BONUS TIP: It’s a great idea to create a template for individual episode images so that you can differentiate episodes from each other while keeping them consistent with the show’s artwork and your brand.
Catch People’s Eye
The decision to skip or listen is made in a matter of seconds. As listeners browse through an endless list of podcasts, this decision is based solely on whether your podcast has an appealing image or not. Create artwork with bold contrast and use images that will instantly convey what your show is about.
Use Few Words
Podcast artwork needs to look great when it’s big or small, so keep the words in your artwork to a minimum. When your artwork is displayed at a 55 x 55 pixel size, it will be nearly impossible to make out more than three or four words. Your cover art is not the place to explain in words what your show is about.
Use Only 2 Fonts
Your artwork’s text needs to be readable even at the smallest dimensions. The best way to do that is to use the right font. Make sure you limit the number of different fonts in your artwork. Using multiple fonts will just add another dimension of distraction.
BONUS TIP: Serif fonts like Times New Roman, Bodoni, or Garamond often have small details that get lost at small sizes. Script fonts can be too ornate to read easily unless they’re really big. Sans serif fonts like Helvetica, Verdana, Univers, or Futura work well with thick lines and strong contrasts from the background.
There You Have It… Now Go Get Started!
Click below to download my free PDF “9 Elements For Eye-Catching Podcast Artwork” and make sure your cover is as awesome as you are!