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Podcast Cover Art: 6 Tips and Tricks To Design Your Own

Podcasting is super versatile. Whether you do it as an individual contributor or as a marketer it can expand your brand’s reach.

But like every other content type, podcasts can only make a difference when you manage to maximize your reach. 

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Which leads us to an important question: How do you get more subscribers to your Podcast? Well, you should consistently deliver quality content that actually adds value to the listeners. 

But to even get people to listen to your podcast in the first place you need a very important visual hook – your Podcast Cover Art.

As a listener scrolls through an endless stream of podcasts, your Podcast Cover Art will make that much-needed visual connection. And cover art does more than that too. It helps you market your show, and evolve as a brand. So, before we tell you how to design a podcast cover art, let’s take a look at why it matters so much.

Why the design of your podcast cover art is a big deal 

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You might already know that to create a show and upload episodes, most podcast directories ask for a podcast cover. And you might be thinking can’t you just use any stock image as the cover? Do you really need custom cover art? Well the answer is yes, you do. Let’s tell you why with some statistics:

  • Based on the current podcast listening trends, the number of listeners in the US alone is expected to reach 100 million by the year 2024. Given the ever-expanding pool of listeners, if you manage to create designs that capture attention, there is a huge potential for the growth of your podcast. 
  • 74% of people who listen to podcasts tune in to this medium to learn something new. If your cover is bland, how will your listeners know that your content will add value for them? So you need a podcast cover that evokes their curiosity. 
  • 40% of podcast listeners find new shows from well-known podcast directories. So, you are competing against other podcasters, probably many in your niche as well. This means that you need a design that will make your listener stop scrolling and take notice.

Not convinced yet? Let’s try an experiment. Open your favorite podcast streaming service on your phone and play your favorite show. Now when you lock your screen, what do you see? The podcast cover art flashing big on the screen, right? An image that is persistently displayed even on a locked screen! Imagine what that can do for your brand recognition. Cover art is definitely worth spending time on! 

And for this very same reason, you should be careful about the design of your cover art. Here are some tips and tricks to help you design podcast cover art that will help your brand grow. 

6 Effective Tips to Design your Podcast Cover Art

Before a listener listens to your podcast, before they appreciate the great content you have carefully curated for them, they will notice and appreciate your Podcast Cover Art. So, if you really want to make a difference; if you really wish to grow your Podcast network; one of the very first things to do is to get an attention-grabbing Podcast Cover designed for your show. 

What does podcast cover art tell your audience?

  • It gives a sneak-peek into your brand
  • The design tells your audience what your podcast is about
  • And the message your design conveys convinces them why they should hit that play button

So you will want a design that is truly ‘you’. You want a design that communicates clearly with your target audience and showcases what makes your podcast special. How do you get this design right? Let’s take a look at the elements that impact this.

1) Let your brand do the talking

If it is a podcast created as a part of a brand’s marketing efforts, you already have a brand to build upon. But if it is your personal podcast, you can still work on personal branding. Either way, think of the big picture. How do you want your podcast to be perceived by your audience? Do you have a brand personality drafted out for your show? These are the details that set your show apart even if there are many similar shows in your niche. 

A podcast cover that follows your brand personality can be a creative variation of your logo or perhaps even use the mascot you use in your logo in an interesting way. Remember to consistently use similar imagery in your ads and social media channels too. Like Headspace does with its Radio Headspace podcast:

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Source: Headspace

From the color scheme to the mood, the very essence of the brand is captured across all the channels in the designs above. That’s how you imprint your brand in the minds of your listeners. After all, marketing a podcast is also about strong branding and consistent customer engagement. And your podcast cover art plays a vital role in this.

So make use of your brand colors. If you do not already have those sorted, now is the time to come up with a color palette for your brand by thoroughly understanding color psychology

Kimp Tip: When you are competing for your listeners’ attention, first impressions are of paramount importance. Colors are pivotal in forming strong first impressions. 

Finding it difficult to identify the colors that best suit your podcast? Get a Kimp Graphics design subscription, and get unlimited design and revisions for a flat fee. You’ll be able to test out as many different iterations as you need to find the right color combinations for your brand.

2) Learn the language of your target audience

We are not talking about the vernacular here but the visual language. What you tell someone doesn’t really matter if the person does not understand your language right? Similarly, a stunning podcast cover design will be of no use if you do not consider your audience’s preferences. 

But how do you know what your target audience will like? Social listening is the buzzword here. Observe the conversations they have. The content they share. The kind of designs they show the most interest in. The brands they love. This takes some time and a lot of patience but it is well worth your effort. 

That’s also why experts keep talking about the need for a good niche for your podcast. When you have a clear niche, it is easier to understand your target audience. And when you understand your target audience, you know how to get their attention. This further helps you understand the kind of design that works best for your podcast cover. 

Working on a podcast for professionals? Using graphs, iconography that depicts growth, and professional-looking colors like blue will all add value to your design. Like the below podcast cover:

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3) Humanize your cover art 

Listeners love to see real faces on podcast covers. This can be a photo of the host of the show or if it is an episode cover, you can also add the guest’s photo. Faces add a ‘human’ touch to the cover design. For new listeners, your face will act as a foundation of trust and for your subscribers, it will be a way to put a face to the voice they have been listening to.

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A very professional profile picture will be difficult to connect with. So, what you need here is some creative flair. Interesting overlays, brand-appropriate colors, illustrations, and the right mood can make your photo look perfectly optimized for your podcast. 

To get the mood of your cover art right, try to describe your podcast in one word. “Informative”? Great, but all podcasts are informative. You need to get more descriptive than that. “Inquisitive”, “fun”, “sarcastic”. It can be anything. Did you notice that we spoke more about the tone of the podcast or the tone of the presenter here? Try to capture this tone in the facial expressions if you are adding a photo to the cover.   

Kimp Tip: If you prefer using photos, stay away from stock images. To build trust, you need your own photographs. Or if you still do not want to use your photo, go for custom illustrations. In fact, the character in your illustration can set the mood for each of your episodes or even tell the story of your show on your social media pages.

Wondering how you can get custom illustrations made for your podcast cover? Try a Kimp Graphics design subscription to test out different options for custom illustrations for your brand.

4) Cut the visual clutter  

Just because you have a single graphic to represent every episode you post, do not try to cram too many things into your podcast cover. Having a cluttered cover is worse than having an unrelatable stock image as part of your podcast cover art. 

Build over a simple concept and create a straightforward design. That’s the way to win your listeners’ hearts. A minimalist cover with a great message will also be a way to show your audience how you like to keep things crisp. So they will know that your podcast will convey a lot of valuable information in less time.

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The image above shows how a visually pleasing color palette and legible fonts help create a simple yet memorable podcast cover. 

5) Play with typography

We spoke about the use of legible fonts in the previous example. That brings us to the next important element in your cover art design, typography. Whether it is a text-only design or one that combines imagery and text, you should pay special attention to the typography. 

A subtle flavor of your brand should be reflected in the font colors and font styles. Contrast is another aspect to look into. You want your text to be easy to read on the vibrant background you create. 

Your listeners listen to your voice in each of your episodes. So, they know whether you sound friendly or professional. They know the tone of your content by the time they listen to a couple of episodes. Why are we talking about this? Because your font style should be a reflection of your voice and your tone. 

Remember we spoke about coming up with descriptors for your podcast earlier? Use them here. Eclectic, humorous, calming, thought-provoking – whatever it may be try and visually capture these emotions in your font style. Notice how the font has a unique character of its own in the example below. 

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6) Optimize for platform-based dimension requirements 

Every podcast streaming platform has a different requirement when it comes to attributes like the dimensions of the cover art. If your design looks great when expanded but does not have much of an effect when displayed as a thumbnail, your efforts are wasted. Before you begin designing your own podcast cover, make sure that you do some groundwork on the dimensions required for the podcasting platform you choose. 

A good quality design is one that is optimized to look visually appealing everywhere it is displayed. This is where working with a graphic design team might feel a bit easier than taking up the burden of all this extra work on your own shoulders. 

For example, if you are creating a design for Apple Podcasts, the requirements for the show cover are as in the image below. You can also find more details about the specifications supported in the link here. Apple also provides a template to help you begin with your cover design, which is pretty helpful if it is your first time designing a podcast cover.

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Source: Apple

Make it a goal to create designs that look good even when resized. Because some platforms keep changing the requirements with updates in their interface. And you don’t want to have to design the cover from scratch, all over again. 

Kimp Tip: Coming up with an idea for your cover design and then fitting all your ideas within a particular dimension might make you feel overwhelmed. We get it. But in that process, you should not ignore the quality of your image and the visibility across different screen sizes as well. 

Does this make you feel nervous about designing  podcast cover art yourself? Book a call with the Kimp team today and find out how you can get your podcast cover designed with Kimp’s unlimited graphic design service. 

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Give your podcast a whole new look with podcast cover art designed by Kimp 

Are you busy doing your research and brainstorming content ideas to keep your users engaged? Then don’t spend another moment worrying about squeezing out extra time for your podcast cover art design. Leave it to the design team at Kimp. Our graphic design subscription gives you access to unlimited graphic designs – which includes different iterations, revisions and mockups. So not only will you be able to get your podcast cover art designed and finalized, you’ll be able to get all the designs to promote it too! 

You can pick a logo for your personal branding. Or some interactive graphics to promote your podcast on social media. And if you would like to try something new, you can also get engaging audiograms designed for your podcast by choosing a Kimp Graphics + Video subscription

For all this and more, start your free trial today.