Why Your Podcast Cover Design Matters

Even though podcast recording is mainly an audio content medium these days, you do need to have some visual components, and chief among those items is your podcast cover artwork, also known as podcast artwork, podcast cover art, cover art, podcast tile, and more. A lot of new listeners will discover your podcast via their podcast directory, where your cover image will be the first thing they see and how they learn about your podcast brand. You want your cover art to appeal to them and invite them in to see what your podcast is all about.

For many reasons, podcast cover art design can make or break your podcast brand. In this post we’ll go through many of the reasons you need a podcast cover and how you can create good podcast cover art that is effective in connecting with your podcasting audience.

First, we want to make sure you meet the requirements of directories like Apple podcasts. Your podcast cover design must meet the following requirements…

  • square
  • 1400 x 1400 pixels minimum up to 3000 x 3000 pixels maximum in size
  • jpeg or png file type
  • as close to 500 kbs in size as possible

At Emerald City Productions, we use professional designers to create the best podcast artwork for our launch clients and also advise our production clients on how to improve their existing podcast cover art.

podcast cover graphic design color palettes

What should be on a podcast cover art?

Your podcast cover art is very often the first thing people see when they encounter your podcast for the first time. First impressions are important, right? Consider making your podcast art visually distinct.

In addition to that, they are the main visual representation of your podcast in most podcast apps and the thing that will grab your listeners attention each time they are listening to your episodes. They will see it in major directories, apps, social media posts, in Google, and much more.

With those things in mind here are a few key graphic elements we recommend having on your podcast cover art.

  1. A photo (preferably a headshot) of the podcast host(s) smiling and looking engaging. Listeners are creating a mental image of you each time they hear your voice. Have you ever had that moment of shock when you finally saw a photo of radio or podcast hosts that you’d listened to for a long time but they didn’t look anything like the picture in your mind. We’re trying to make sure your listeners connect with your face every time they listen and the podcast cover art is the best way to do just that.
  2. The title of the podcast as big as possible. Remember that most listeners will see this podcast cover art on their mobile devices as a small square. They will need to be able to read the title. Typgraphy and legibility are extremely important. And here’s a tip that many people miss… Your listeners will know it’s a podcast by the time they see your podcast cover art so you REALLY don’t need to include the word “podcast” in your title or on your podcast cover art. Save that real estate for making your title bigger.
  3. And finally, it’s a good idea to have the host name(s) displayed somewhere. Preferably much smaller than the podcast title.
  4. If you have a logo for the podcast or the business or the main sponsor, it is also a good idea to put this on your podcast cover art.

Do podcast covers matter?

Absolutely. Besides being required by almost all podcast directories and being really good for connecting with your listeners, having eye-catching podcast cover art will help you find new listeners and potentially get featured by podcast apps. Cover art is very important. Spend time investing in creating good cover art.

What makes a good podcast cover?

Besides everything we’ve mentioned so far, your podcast cover art should be top notch, attention grabbing, eye catching, consistent with your brand, and look great in a variety of sizes and settings. The font you choose matters. Podcast artwork should use no more than two fonts, not have too many words, and have complementary and contrasting colors. More so than any of these things make sure your podcast artwork follows the requirements of your media host for your RSS feed and the podcast directories like Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, and more.

How important is a logo for a podcast?

If a logo is important to your brand, then it should be important for your podcast. You do not need to have the perfect podcast logo in order to have a successful podcast. Some of our clients have a podcast logo, and some do not have a podcast logo. And many don’t have a podcast logo on their cover art. If it is important to you, then hire a logo designer to design your podcast logo that gives a great visual representation of your brand.

How do I choose podcast cover art?

First know that your podcast cover art will be the main visual connection to your podcast. In designing your cover art, you should consider your personality and your podcast’s subject, energy, and topic. Then also consider your audience. Ask all of the questions you normally ask when doing any customer branding exercise. Demographics, behaviors, etc. should factor into podcast artwork design.

How much should I pay for podcast cover art?

You can design your own cover art for free using services like Canva or other graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, but if you have room in your budget to hire a professional designer that has experience in podcast graphic design, you will get a much more eye catching podcast cover art. Podcast cover art cost can range from $5 using sites like fiverr to $500 for professional freelance designers. Depending on the scope of the project and the design service you choose, the cost of professionally designed cover art can vary. However, keep in mind that in most cases, you get what you pay for.

Can you change your podcast artwork?

Yes, you can change your podcast cover art at any time, and it’s a pretty easy process. Podcast artwork can evolve with your podcast over time. If you change the title of your podcast, then definitely change your podcast art to match your new podcast branding.

How often should you change your podcast cover art?

Making frequent, significant changes to your podcast’s cover art might come across as unprofessional, unstable, and lacking focus. Even worse, the drastic shift may cause listeners acquainted with your old cover image to overlook your podcast. These may be harmful to the expansion of your program, leading to a loss of viewers or diminished credibility (depending on the subject matter of your program).

This is why it’s crucial to keep your identity and design consistent unless a change is really essential. You may make modifications without compromising the distinctive branding components of your cover by enhancing the quality of your cover picture, changing the color scheme, and changing certain other characteristics. Existing listeners may still easily recognize your podcast in this manner.

Changing your cover image for each season might still be a smart idea despite the risks involved, particularly if you have a seasonal theme. For your audience, this keeps things new and fresh. Just make sure the primary branding components are maintained (and present) on all seasonal covers and are mostly consistent. It should still be very obvious for listeners to recognize that the cover is for your show.

Can I use Canva for my podcast artwork?

Yes, Canva has podcast cover art templates and is a great tool for all design needs and especially for designing your own podcast cover. It includes royalty free stock images, free photos, visual theme, stock images, and can help you create cover art that satisfies the different platforms. Before you hire a graphic designer, try using Canva to mock up some sample podcast cover art designs to show your designer.

How do I make sure my podcast cover design will meet podcast directories’ requirements?

If you want to put your cover art on all the major podcast directories, it must adhere to certain standards.

Your audience will download, listen to, subscribe to, rate, and review your podcast via a podcast directory app. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher are the top podcast distributors.

The size, quality, and file type requirements for podcast cover art are uniform across most directories. For example most directories require:

  • 3000 x 3000 pixels Image Size (but Apple will accept cover art ranging from 1400 x 1400 to 3000 x 3000 if your show is submitted through RSS feed; the biggest size dimensions are usually recommended)
  • JPEG or PNG files with a 72 dots per inch (dpi) resolution and RGB colorspace

The majority of directories, including Apple, likewise stipulate that the artwork for podcasts shouldn’t be pixelated or blurry. Additionally, it shouldn’t include any offensive language or graphic material. The majority of directories also advise that you should include the name of your show on your cover artwork in a clear, big typeface.

Why Emerald for Your Podcast Cover Design?

As you can see, there are many reasons why your podcast artwork matters. It not only gives a potential listener a visual preview of your podcast, but it is also a representation of your brand. While we’d all like to hope that listeners don’t just judge our podcast by its cover, the reality is that they do. So make sure your podcast cover design is inviting, relevant, eye-catching, and engaging to draw in audience members and visually communicate what you’re all about. Our team at Emerald City Productions are experts at helping you do just that. We are in the business of helping your podcast grow and deliver your message clearly to a wider audience. We help with not only production but also cover design and other marketing and promotion tools to make a successful podcast. Reach out to us today and find out how we can help you take your podcast to the next level.

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