Your podcast’s visual brand is just as important as its content. Check out these seven tips to elevate your podcast cover art game.
While we often abide by the expression “Don’t judge a book by its cover” in life, it simply doesn’t apply to podcast cover art design.
In the podcast world, listeners typically scroll through a library or category of different podcasts. They may search for a topic they’re interested in, then glance through what is available. The first thing listeners pay attention to is a podcast’s cover design. If a podcast has a stunning cover design, it speaks to the quality of the podcast itself.
The key to acquiring new listeners is an eye-catching podcast cover design. While the podcast content itself keeps those listeners coming back for more, the cover art acts as the “hook” for new listeners. A decent podcast takes into account the visuals and the audio.
Now that we know the importance of a podcast’s graphics, how do we make them truly stand out? Read on to find seven expert tips to give your podcast a much needed visual boost.
Tip #1: Take a Look At The Competition
Before embarking on your podcast cover design journey, take a look at your competitors. Get an idea of how they approach thumbnail design, from the imagery to the color palettes to the typography. Use this time to get some creative inspiration, learn about who you’re up against, and see who is dominating different categories.
Get to know how your competitors approach cover art. Thumbnails via Green Dreamer Podcast, Heavyweight, Happy Place, Perspective Podcast, Skip the Repeat, Business Logic, The Creative Punch, and Toss Out The Rules Podcast.
The best way to approach this is to scroll through specific genres, whether it is education, health, or business. Take note of the podcast covers that stand out to you and find out why. Is it the color combination? The unique typographic placement? Write down what it is that speaks to you and apply it to your own podcast cover design.
Tip #2: Get Your Dimensions and Specs Correct
The size of your design truly does matter. For your podcast cover to be viewable across multiple platforms, the cover design needs to follow specific image guidelines and dimensions.
The best place to start is to ensure your cover design fits within the parameters set by Apple Podcast. Images uploaded in this platform must adhere to a minimum dimension of 1400 x 1400 pixels or a maximum of 3000 x 3000 pixels. Podcast art should always be designed in a 1:1, or square, format. Once you’re ready to export your design, set the export to a screen resolution at 72 DPI. File formats should be set to a PNG or JPG for best image compression displays.
Tip #3: Convey Your Podcast’s Message
A cover design should encapsulate the entire theme or topics discussed on the podcast with the help of graphics, color, and typography. If your podcast goes into detail about the health industry or about the brain, that message should be apparent in the design of your podcast cover. Stick to iconography, colors, imagery, copy, and typography that supports your message.
While this applies to all visual components, it’s also crucial to come up with a title that resonates with the nature of your podcast. Stick to a few words maximum that effectively communicates what the podcast episodes may cover. Avoid wording that is too vague or too specific.
Tip #4: Stick to Two Fonts or Less
Many designs warrant a typeface or two for getting a message across, and a podcast cover is no different. Due to the smaller size of many podcast thumbnails, having three or more different typefaces can obscure the visuals and tone.
When choosing your typefaces for your podcast design, it’s crucial that the fonts work well together. By mastering the art of font pairing, you can easily take your podcast cover to the next level.
The best approach is to select two fonts that contrast each other. If you’re set on using a script font for the title copy, select a simple sans serif to accompany the script header. Take a font’s appearance and then find the exact opposite of it. A geometric-style font is best paired with an organic font, and a bold font best accompanies a lighter weight one. If you’re unsure of what works for your design, simply create multiple variations of it with different typefaces, then work from there.
Tip #5: Make the Visuals Stand Out
While we may say that we don’t judge a book by its cover, listeners certainly pay close attention to a podcast’s visuals when choosing from a library. First impressions are critical, and having an eye-catching thumbnail is the key to getting more listeners.
Entice your viewers by incorporating unique illustrations, typography, and imagery to your cover design. Think about how all elements of your composition pair with each other. Basic silhouettes and simple typography can often get lost with other podcasts.
Tip #6: Use Color Thoughtfully
Next to the overall visuals and typography, color is an important matter to take into consideration when designing your podcast cover. Having an essential knowledge of color psychology and theory is imperative to getting the correct tone, mood, and message across to your listeners.
Use a color palette that relates to the topic of your podcast. Image via vectorpouch.
The theme of your podcast should correlate to the hues used in your cover design. A neon color palette is not the best choice for a business podcast; instead, opt for a harmonious palette that evokes professionalism. Avoid expected color choices when picking out hues; having a predictable palette oftentimes means your cover art will blend in with competitors.
Tip #7: Source High Quality Images and Vectors
A high quality design goes a long way. It can easily differentiate your podcast from others, just in the visuals alone. Lucky for you, Shutterstock features a vast library of high quality vectors, photography, backgrounds, typography, and more. You can easily browse through all of these images in our free Shutterstock Editor program and apply them to your new podcast graphic.
Find high quality vectors and graphics to use with Shutterstock Editor’s tools. Image via Helga Khorimarko.
Cover image via Dmytro Novitskyi.
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