op view of rows of paintbrushes laying on abstract colorful oil paint artwork.

Should my podcast have original cover art?

Your cover art is usually the first impression a new listener will ever get when they discover your podcast. You better believe listeners judge a podcast by the cover! How your cover art evokes emotion can make or break whether or not a potential listener will take the next step to learn more about your show or commit to a download. 

Don’t let all of the arduous work you put into your podcast go to waste by neglecting to have cover art that makes you stand out. You only have a couple of seconds to catch a new listener’s attention, and the best way to do that is with outstanding original cover art. 

Here are some best practices to help get you noticed above the competition and make sure your podcast looks as good as it sounds!

Less is more.

When it comes to podcast cover art, the design should be eye-catching and compelling, yet simple, legible, iconographic, and scalable. The visuals should communicate your show’s subject, tone, and content at a glance. 

Your artwork must be able to scale, meaning it looks great at all sizes, from tiny to massive. The standard ratio is 1:1, with iTunes Artwork Requirements for sizes at “square; minimum 1400 x 1400 pixels and maximum 3000 x 3000 pixels.” 

Any text should be readable on a small screen as most listeners search for podcasts on a mobile device. For this reason, you’ll want to limit the amount of text. A good rule of thumb is to keep your text at five words or less. While we’re keeping it simple, it’s good to note here that you’ll want to limit your choice of fonts to no more than two different types.

You’ll want to avoid:

  • Gimmicky fonts
  • Tiny or illegible fonts
  • Overused images like microphones or headsets (unless your podcast is about podcasting)
  • Stock photos
  • Mixing too many visual elements, images, or patterns
  • Copyright infringement
  • Inappropriate images

Do some research.

Take a good look around at what’s already out there for podcasts in your category. A simple search of the featured cover art on the front page of Apple Podcasts or Stitcher or Spotify will let you get a feel for the competition. What can you do to stand out from the crowd?

What is your podcast’s visual identity?

You want to be able to show what you’re about with your cover art. To do that, you will need to define and understand your podcast’s identity. Integrate your taste, your style, and your unique personality into your cover art.

Think about what makes your podcast unique. What keywords would you use to describe your show? Who is your target audience? What are your main topics of discussion? What categories is your podcast in? What is used by other podcasts in your categories?

Ask yourself these questions and some mental images should start to come to mind. They may seem like mundane symbols at first, but the way you creatively arrange and present them will help define your visual identity.

Here are some do’s you’ll want to incorporate as you’re brainstorming:

  • Use high-resolution photography
  • Use high contrast colors and imagery, remember to keep it simple
  • Use complementary colors and consider the psychology behind color theory
  • Use simple photos, illustrations, and patterns

Find a podcast cover art designer.

If graphic design isn’t in your wheelhouse, you can always hire a professional cover art designer. Most freelance artists will have a portfolio available for you to peruse of past work so you can find someone that offers the right vibe for your podcast. You can also find someone that will fit in any size budget you may have.

Don’t want to take a chance with an unknown freelancer? Podcast Taxi has a team of experienced graphic designers ready to create the perfect cover art for your podcast. Your cover art is crucial to making your first impression, so why not leave it in the hands of professionals? Sign up for a complimentary discovery session to see how we can help design the perfect cover art for your podcast.

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