10 Tips for Creating Podcast Cover Art

by Katie Elfering | May 3, 2022 | Podcasting

Read Time: 4 min read

Summary: TL;DR: Your podcast cover art is crucial for attracting listeners and meeting directory requirements. Research competitors for inspiration, stay consistent with your brand, and tell a visual story that reflects your podcast's theme. Keep text minimal, embrace white space, and play with colors to make your cover stand out. Preview your design on different screens and repurpose it for marketing. Use free design tools like Canva to create engaging cover art that aligns with your brand and attracts listeners across platforms. Remember, a well-designed cover art can make a significant impact on your podcast's success and audience engagement.

Although podcasts are mostly an auditory experience, podcasters should still try to grab potential listeners’ attention with visual elements like podcast cover art. Your cover art is not only your podcast’s first impression on your audience as they search for new podcasts, but it’s also a requirement from podcast directories. Here are ten tips for creating podcast cover art that’s engaging and effective!

Check Out What Competitors Are Doing

Before designing your cover art, research competitors to both draw inspiration from their podcast artwork and figure out how to set your podcast apart. Pay attention to how they approach their design—from their color palette to their typography. You want your podcast cover artwork to be unique, so avoid overused podcasting images and icons, such as microphones or headsets.

Stay Consistent with Your Brand

What works for competitors may not always be in line with your podcast brand. Brand consistency is a key factor in building brand authenticity, and it can help listeners easily identify your show across different platforms. When creating your podcast cover art, you should reference your podcast brand style guide to stay consistent with your fonts, colors, copy, and images.

Follow Cover Art Requirements

If you don’t meet the requirements when submitting your podcast cover art to podcast directories like Spotify or Apple Podcasts, your artwork will not be approved and your podcast might get rejected by the directory altogether, causing you to lose out on potential listeners. Below are best practices and requirements for podcast cover art on the most popular podcast directories.

  • Original artwork
  • No explicit language or imagery
  • High-resolution images (72dpi recommended)
  • No periods in file name after file extension
  • JPEG or PNG file type
  • 1:1 aspect ratio
  • Minimum of 1400 x 1400 pixels; 3000 x 3000 pixels preferred
  • RGB colorspace

Tell a Visual Story

Your cover design should visually represent what listeners can expect from your podcast theme, tone, format, and topics. For instance, if your podcast reports on serious news, you might opt for a simple, streamlined design to convey professionalism. Or if your podcast is about pop culture and has a lighthearted or comedic style, you might incorporate more colors and fun, eye-catching imagery. You’ll also want to consider whether a photo-based design or an illustration is the best choice for your podcast cover.

Keep Text & Fonts Minimal

Since your cover image will typically be viewed in a very small size, especially by mobile users, you’ll want to use text sparingly to ensure readability. The only text on your podcast cover art should be your podcast title and subheading. This avoids overcrowding your design while still giving listeners enough information to understand what your podcast is about. Similarly, text should be appropriately sized—not too small that it can’t be read when compressed, but not too large that it blocks other visual elements in the cover design.

Don’t Be Afraid of White Space

White space is a key element in good design since it gives your artwork room to breathe. Without negative space, your podcast cover art distracts from its main elements and can make the design feel cluttered. Along with impacting how your listeners comprehend the visual assets in your cover art design, white space also helps text stay readable.

Play Around with Colors

Make your podcast cover stand out from the crowd by choosing a color scheme that’s eye-catching! Consider color temperature—warm or cool colors—to set the proper mood for your podcast. Warm colors (oranges, reds, and yellows) make listeners think of sunlight, heat, and energy and can signify intense emotions like anger, happiness, or passion. Cool colors (blues, greens, and purples) tend to be calm and soothing. Depending on the theme of your podcast, you might even consider using complementary colors, analogous colors, or triadic colors for your color scheme.

Preview Your Cover Art

After you finish designing your podcast cover art, make sure you view it in different sizes and on different screens, since podcast directories will display compressed versions of your cover. Check your work on everything from a large computer monitor to a small phone screen or tablet to make sure the elements of your design can be easily recognized regardless of how it’s being previewed by your listeners. You don’t want your artwork to look grainy, blurry, or distorted—otherwise, you run the risk of listeners scrolling right past it. Some may even view poorly designed cover art as a reflection of your show’s poor production value.

Repurpose Your Podcast Cover Art

Your artwork can be used for more than just podcast directory listings—it can also be used as a marketing tool to help cross-promote your podcast, whether it’s in social media ads, thumbnails for YouTube videos, or visual elements on your podcast website! Create a simple, high-contrast logo that can easily be used anywhere. A simple logo allows you to quickly layer on different backgrounds without having to redesign every time. By repurposing your podcast cover art in this way, you can create a consistent brand that listeners can easily recognize across different platforms.

Use Free Design Tools

Podcasters don’t need to be professional graphic designers to create fun cover art, nor do you need to spend money on your podcast artwork. Take advantage of free online tools like Canva, Adobe Express, or Pixelied to make your podcast cover art if you don’t have the budget for professional services. These design resources provide templates, so you don’t have to start from scratch, allowing you to create cover art in minutes.

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