Tag Archive for: art

Podcast cover art is a highly significant contribution and possibly the most important first visual impression of a podcast. It’s the image that is first seen when a potential listener is browsing through their podcast apps or websites. The graphic design for podcast cover artwork determines the brand of the podcast. To ensure your podcast cover art pops amid a very crowded field, check out these 12 ways to increase your show’s findability and consequently listens.

  1. Conduct Podcast Cover Art Research Within Your Podcast's Genre
  2. Consider Your Audience
  3. Find a Cover Art Visual Style That Fits Your Podcast's Tone
  4. Determine Your Podcast Title First
  5. Use Bold and Minimalistic Designs
  6. Use a Unique and Interesting Layout
  7. Don't Use Too Many Elements or Fonts
  8. Use Display Fonts Instead of Paragraph Fonts
  9. Select High Contrast Vibrant Colors and Text
  10. Preview Your Podcast Cover Art On the Device It Will Be Seen On
  11. Adhere to Apple Podcast Cover Art Specifications
  12. Design Tools and Resources

Conduct Podcast Cover Art Research Within Your Podcast's Genre

Glasses notebook and laptop
Photographer: Dan Dimmock | Source: Unsplash

It's important to do research about what the cover artworks look like for other podcasts in your genre.

For example, if you’re doing a podcast on entrepreneurship, check out the covers of other entrepreneurship podcasts in your niche. The idea is not to copy, but to get inspiration and a feel for how you could add something unique that stands out in the crowd. So fire up a browser, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or a podcast research tool like PodChaser to investigate and bookmark podcast cover logos in your niche.

Consider Your Audience

Cheering crowd at rugby world cup 2019
Photographer: Stefan Lehner | Source: Unsplash

Before you design anything, you need to think about the people you’re creating your podcast for.

This is a very important step in the process because it will help your audience immediately understand the tone of your podcast. Remember, if there’s nothing else to go on, people make decisions whether or not to listen to your podcast within the first 10 seconds of seeing your show art, so it’s important that it connects with your audience right away.

Find a Cover Art Visual Style That Fits Your Podcast's Tone and Message

Orange Style lettering on a vintage plastic board
Photographer: Marcus Ganahl | Source: Unsplash

When it comes to choosing artwork, it’s important to make sure that it fits in with your podcast’s overall tone. This is somewhat open to interpretation, but here are some examples:

  • If you’re a comedy podcast, you might want to go with a more vibrant and full-colour design, while a darker podcast might benefit from a black-and-white design.
  • A show dedicated to breaking news in the tech world might have pretty serious podcast cover art. But if you have a podcast that is more entertaining, then you can have a cover art that is more funny or lighthearted.
  • Choices in typography and font selection also make a big difference to the feel of your podcast logo.

Determine Your Podcast Title First

Photographer: CHUTTERSNAP | Source: Unsplash

It helps to be sure of your podcast title before starting the visual design, for inspiration, for certain keywords, or even just bold individual letters that might be incorporated on your cover art.

Resist the urge to add your entire podcast title on the icon, unless it is only one or two words long

You do not need to add the entire text of your podcast title on the icon, since that title will already appear next to your image on Apple Podcasts and all other players.

Use Bold and Minimalistic Designs

An example of minimalistic podcast cover art
Photographer: davisuko | Source: Unsplash

Icons are small, and the busier your design is, the more lost it will get as a small icon on various size screens.

Using a bold minimalistic design is usually more visually impactful in podcast cover design. Is your design minimalistic enough to make for a great podcast business card?

Use a Unique and Interesting Layout

Using unique layouts
Photographer: Kirill Balobanov | Source: Unsplash

Try to be different. For example, if everyone else in your niche features a frontal view of your host’s face, go for a profile layout. Here are some design considerations:

  • Use the “rule of thirds” to position design elements in harmony with each other.
  • If you are hiring designers, challenge them to offer you multiple unconventional layout choices.
  • Place elements near the margins.
  • Use lots of “white space” to distance elements from each other.

Don't Use Too Many Elements or Fonts

An example of too many elements for podcast cover art design
Photographer: Alexander Smagin | Source: Unsplash

If you must use text on your cover art design, keep your choice of typefaces to one single font, or 2 maximum. Too many design elements, shapes or colors on your cover art will make it look busy, and this will be difficult to grasp at a glance.

Avoid what we in the UX (User Experience) world call “excessive cognitive load”.

A person will glance at your design for only a fraction of a second next to other podcast icons, so don’t be cute, stay simple, straight-forward and err on the side of being obvious with your design. An easy to understand podcast cover art design is preferable to one that has esoteric references few people would get. Avoid mystery unless it really servers your design.

Use Display Fonts Instead of Paragraph Fonts

Fonts matter in podcast icon design
Photographer: Jeroen den Otter | Source: Unsplash

Learn the difference between display fonts and paragraph fonts. If you are hiring or collaborating with a good designer, this will not be an issue, but if you are creating a design yourself, use display fonts. And, please stay away from the dreaded “Comic Book Sans” typeface (sorry, that’s a design industry joke).

Select High Contrast Vibrant Colors and Text

Vibrant color example
Photographer: Malena Gonzalez Serena | Source: Unsplash

It is tempting to create “elegant” or “subtle” podcast cover art.

But this seldom stands out when seen next to many other podcast icon designs. It is hard to overestimate the importance of bright saturated colors, high contrast cover art and text.

An additional resource on color selection:

Color usage for podcast cover art and icons
Click to read our post on color choices for podcast cover art

In this previous post, we’ve written extensively on color selection and psychology of podcast cover art color choices.

Preview Your Podcast Cover Art On the Device It Will Be Seen On

Our own podcast cover art design
A preview of our own “Podcasting Resources Guide” podcast cover art design

After designing and advising 100’s of podcasters in creating their show’s icon, the single most important advice is this:

Be sure to actually preview your cover art on the device and inside the app where the podcast will appear.

You want to see your podcast icon alongside all the other shows in your niche. Fortunately, there is a brilliant free tool designed to help you preview, called Podcast Cover Preview. With this tool, you can preview your podcast cover size on the top podcast apps your podcast can appear on. You can verify your podcast artwork size on different podcast apps.

So — compare your design to all the other podcasts out there, and see how your idea stacks up. This is the perfect tool to help you do it.

Adhere to Apple Podcast Cover Art Specifications

Apple Podcasts has specified technical requirements for Cover Art that you must meet to be accepted and they also include practices you could work around to help design your podcast .

Technical Specifications:

  • Size: square; minimum 1400 x 1400 pixels and maximum 3000 x 3000 pixels (preferred) Resolution: 72 dpi
  • File type: JPEG or PNG
  • Colorspace: RGB

Additional Requirements:

Artwork must be original and can't contain any of the following:

  • Blurry, misaligned, mismatched, or pixelated images
  • Explicit language
  • Placeholder images
  • References to illegal drugs, profanity, or violence

Design Tools and Resources

Use our own Podcasting Resources Guide (PRG) for additional research on cover art tools, designs and utilities. Besides obvious tools like Canva and Adobe Photoshop, we feature some podcast preview utilities.

In Conclusion

  • Be bold – don't be subtle.
  • Be curious and consultative – don't design in isolation.

The best designs "pop" and are noticeable, bright, graphic and somewhat minimalistic.

Guest Post by Milja Milenkovic, community manager at DesignAdvisor.Net: The colors you choose for your podcast cover art can greatly influence listeners’ first impressions and could even affect whether someone takes the all-important step and presses “play” in the first place. You might be thinking, ”Podcasts are audio, and the minimal visual aspect is not the main point at all so why bother with it?” The very fact that the visual element is so small means that you need to make it count!

Table of Contents

The Impact of Color

Color choices for podcast cover art can be a science
Color choices for podcast cover art can be a science

Human beings are such visually wired creatures that even the small bit of cover art on your podcast can set the tone for the listening experience. Various color choices can trigger a whole host of different emotions and convey different meanings to the observer. The impact on color is more significant than most people realize. In fact, Design Advisor claims that 62-90% of product assessment is based on color alone!

So let’s take a look at how you can enhance the impact of your podcast logo through the colors you use for your icon and podcast cover art, your podcast background and even your website.

Color Impact For Your Podcast Logo vs Podcast Background

Depending how your podcast logo is designed, podcast background color can be even more impactful and influential in setting the overall tone of your podcast artwork than the logo itself. This is because the background color of your podcast takes up more real estate than the logo itself. In general terms your logo versus the background will benefit from contrasting color choices, which make the design “pop” or stand out.

  • So our advice is to view the final design from a distance and judge the overall impact of the color combination.

Podcast Logo Design With Color In Mind

When you start the process of designing a logo or hiring someone to do it, the below sections should help you understand which colors will work for your podcast logo, and to create a design brief to satisfy Apple Podcast specifications as well as any other platforms.

  • A helpful resource is to use the free Adobe Kuler tool which lets you browse, preview and define your own color schemes and combinations. You can then pass these along your podcast logo designer.

Apple Podcast Podcast Icon Specifications

Wether you design your podcast cover art yourself or wether you hire someone, the Apple Podcast specifications are an important consideration. Apple recommends a resolution of a minimum of 1,400 x 1,400 pixels and a maximum of 3,000 x 3,000 pixels at 72 dpi (dots per inch). The files should be .jpg or .png formats. the color space should be RGB, and the color profile should be embedded in the .jpg file.

At Polymash we prefer top have the artwork created at 3,000 pixels, but we then downsize it to 1,400 px and .jpg format in order to reduce the podcast logo file size to somewhere below 250KB.

In the past we have had issues with 3,000 pixel .png cover art images being too big for some podcast platforms.

  • When you hire someone on Fiver or 99Designs or Upwork to design a podcast logo for you, be sure to clarify your expectations
  • You should ask for the “Apple Podcast Ready” files in both the above formats
  • But you should also request the original artwork in Adobe .ai (Illustrator) or .psd (Photoshop) format. This is so you can use your podcast logo design original artwork and concept in other formats, such as for page headers, Facebook / Twitter profiles and your website.

A Word About Licensing and 3rd Party Components

We also recommend ensuring that you will be the exclusive and full owner of the podcast cover art license.

  • So do not accept Creative Commons licensing, or icons and components you may not own outright being used on your podcast artwork.
  • You should own the copyright exclusively, including all elements used for your design. Ask your designers to include all licenses for icons or artwork that they used in the creation of your podcast logo.

What Kind of Message Does Each Color Convey?

In this section, we will break down the messages conveyed by each color and follow that with a few questions you should be asking yourself when deciding what colors will work best for your particular podcast. Color psychology can be a significant ally in web design as well not only in terms of aesthetics and mood but also when choosing the color of CTA buttons and other elements. To learn more about how the psychology of color can boost your website conversions, take a closer look at the infographic below.

Green: Growth and Health

Podcast pover art closeup photography of green leaf plant
Photographer: Hello I’m Nik | Source: Unsplash

This calm and peaceful color gives a sense of health and harmony, but also symbolizes nature and growth. Depending on the topic of your podcast or business, green could be a great cover color to attract your listeners. It’s a popular choice within the energy sectors as well as finance, household, technology and some subsections of the food industry.

Blue: True and Trustworthy

podcast cover art blue wall and shadow image
Photographer: MAURO BIGHIN | Source: Unsplash

There’s a reason why they say ‘true blue’ for something that is tried and tested. Blue is a tranquil color that is a worldwide favorite across the board. If you want to send a message of stability, reliability and trust, you can’t go wrong with blue. Remember, there is a myriad of different shades of blue available, so don’t be worried about not standing out.

Red: Bold and Passionate

podcast cover art person wearing red running shoe
Photographer: Martin Widenka | Source: Unsplash

There’s no denying that red stands out. That’s the reason it’s used for anything from clearance sale signs to stop signs. The sight of red has also been shown to increase people’s heart rates, and it is undoubtedly the color of emotion and passion. If the content of your podcast is bold and passionate, maybe red is the right color for your cover design.

Orange: Ambition and Confidence

orange fruit with orange background
Photographer: Holger Link | Source: Unsplash

Orange comes between red and yellow on the color wheel and is a warm and enthusiastic color. Orange gives a feeling of confidence and is said to stimulate the logical areas of the brain and also to encourage creativity. It is a favorite with kids and young people, as well as those who are young at heart.

Yellow: Bright and Sunny

podcast cover art headphones on yellow
Photographer: Malte Wingen | Source: Unsplash

This warm and cheerful color has a powerful effect, especially when set against a dark or contrasting background. Yellow stands out in the crowd and works well for the food industry, household and energy sectors. It is a symbol of joy, cheerfulness and optimism.

Purple: Rich and Regal

photo of ice cream
Photographer: Sharon McCutcheon | Source: Unsplash

The color of kings and queens, purple is indeed associated with royalty and wealth. It is a favorite in the beauty industry and for anti-aging products. Purple suggests eternal youth and wisdom, with a whiff of mysticism. Does the message of your podcast fit with this image? Then perhaps purple is the color for your cover!

Pink: Pretty and Positive

pink balloons
Photographer: Amy Shamblen | Source: Unsplash

As a lighter shade of red, pink is also a passionate color, but with a much softer touch. There are many different kinds of pink, from pastel salmon to bright fuschia. In color psychology, pink denotes compassion, nurturing and hope. The feelings which tend to be evoked by the color pink are usually positive, warm, comforting and calming.

Grey or Silver: Stylish and Sophisticated

The color silver as it applies to podcast cover art
Photographer: Robert Haverly | Source: Unsplash

Silver and its close cousin grey are very useful as neutral colors that bring balance and give that sleek accent, much like the proverbial silver lining. Silver and grey can be beautifully matched with just about any other color.

Black: Classic and Elegant

silver headphones on top of black surface
Photographer: Frank Septillion | Source: Unsplash

Black is in a class of its own. It speaks of luxury and elegance, as well as power, authority and strength. If you want a professional and timeless look to your podcast cover, you might want to choose a simple black and white design.

White: Pure and Perfect:

Photographer: Verne Ho | Source: Unsplash

White is such a versatile and useful color, whether you use it as a background for your podcast icon or as part of your icon. White gives a fresh feeling of cleanliness and perfection, and can also stimulate creativity.

Questions to Help You Choose Your Podcast Cover Art Colors

What is the topic of your podcasts?

What are your podcasts about? What is your message and what industry or sector do you identify with in terms of your product or service? Given the above basic messages associated with the different colors, which one most closely fits for you?

Who are your listeners?

Do you anticipate that most of your listeners will be men or women, wealthy or budget conscious, professionals or amateurs, younger or older folks? Bear your demographic in mind when making color choices as different groups of people tend to respond differently to colors.

Do you have a logo or brand color?

If you already have a logo or brand color, then you are more than halfway there. Let your listeners identify you immediately when they see your logo. Make sure that the format you use for your podcast logo and icon will look good on any platform you might choose to use.

What about color combinations?

Once you’ve identified what your main color should be, you may want to add an accent color or two. You could choose a shade or tone of the same color, or go for a different, complementary color. Try to limit yourself to no more than three colors to avoid an over-the-top appearance.

What kind of impression does the overall look leave?

With the limited space available for your podcast icon, you need to make sure that your overall look is not cluttered or messy. Keep it clean and simple with fonts and images that stand out, are easy to read and recognizable.

Now that you have some ideas and pointers about the power of color in visuals, it’s time to choose that icon art for your podcast! Let them be a fitting visual complement to your amazing audio content!

Infographic: 40 “Psychology of Color” Facts

Infographic: 40 "Psychology of Color" Facts