While discussing new podcast plans this week, our client expressed surprise that cobbling together podcast cover art from existing artwork just wouldn’t do the trick. 
Your podcast cover art is as important to your carefully produced podcast as the very audio itself. Why? Because it catches the eye of your potential audience and alerts people to your production values. 
It’s not such a complicated matter to get it right – it’s about implementing the right dimensions, using your logo to the best effect and severely limiting the amount of text you use (about 5 words is right). 
A good graphic designer will produce a polished impact like the above picture from the Xceptor podcast. This makes spectacular use of colour, clear use of the logo and tells you what you need to know. Well, perhaps not you – but certainly to Xceptor’s niche fintech audience. 
It doesn’t take long and it needn’t cost an arm and a leg to design – but there are some considerations to bear in mind. 
Podcast cover art is the first impression your podcast makes and it counts. It is what pulls in potential listeners. It is your shop window. 
It needs to work in a variety of sizes – some people will see it on a laptop but most people will view it on their phones 
It needs to express graphically, with colour and a few words the essence of your content. Like this one: 
...What does this convey to you? 
The word Chernobyl of course is a clue in itself, but the murky grey/green colour, the stark choice of image suggesting nuclear apocalypse and the sheer eerie silence of it is simply brilliant. 
In the business world, eerie and apocalyptic is not what you are trying to convey! 
The cover art below though from The Start Up Canada Podcast effectively depicts energy and innovation, with its eye-catching colour and clear graphics. 
Rob Moore’s The Disruptive Entrepreneur also makes a colourful but effective splash while promoting the presenter himself. 
This is a podcast clearly driven by the personality and brand of the host, which is explicit in the artwork. 
But you might well opt for something a little more sober, reflecting your company persona. 
These two examples are clearly but simply branded: 
The take-away from all these is that people should understand at a mere glance what your podcast is all about. 
Indeed, the podcast maker needs to ensure that is the case, as their small thumbnail image is vying for attention with a huge range of similarly colourful images. 
En Clair is a brilliant podcast and highly recommended by students of linguistics and those interested in the subject. 
But the artwork lets it down principally because the text at the bottom of the graphic is too small and the red colour makes it difficult to distinguish against a background of a similar colour. 
Similarly, the cover art for the Association Chat podcast fails because while the main title words are legible, not much else is and the picture of the woman does nothing to add to our comprehension. 
It’s dark too and, although the design looks great at a bigger resolution, it doesn’t work as a thumbnail and fails to communicate the subject of the podcast. 
Dimensions are a ‘thing’ 
Apple Podcasts (formerly known as iTunes) remains the largest and most popular podcast directory, despite the continuing role of other directories such as Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and others. 
Ensuring your artwork dimensions meet Apple Podcasts’ specifications is important and doing so will also work for the other platforms. 
Cover art must be a minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels, 72 dpi, in JPEG or PNG format with appropriate file extensions (.jpg, .png), and in the RGB colour space. (...What’s that? A convenient colour model for computer graphics – and widely used by graphic design programmes.
To optimize images for mobile devices, Apple recommends compressing your image files - that is, minimizing the size in bytes. 
Be sparing with fonts 
You don’t want to use more than two and ideally one should be serif and one a non-serif. Serif refers to more elaborate fonts such as: THIS. Non serif (or 'sans serif') is a plainer form as in THIS
Be careful to make your fonts quick and easy to read, even if you do use elaborate ones, and always ensure they correctly represent the tone of your podcast. 
What we do to help 
If you’re interested in launching a podcast for your business or organisation, Made4U Podcasts offers a full podcast production service. We will happily discuss podcast cover art with your graphic designer or arrange for a professional design which shows off your podcast to its best. 
Made 4U Podcasts also provides podcast skills training courses for in-house teams. 
Contact us anytime for more information on serena@made4U-podcasts.co.uk
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