One of the first decisions that you find yourself having to make when beginning your podcast is your podcast cover art design.
And if you don’t have any experience in graphic design, this could seem very daunting.
But don’t worry.
In this article, I’m going to show you 7 tips for your design so that your podcast looks professional, stands out from the rest, and converts to new listeners.
Stand out from your competitors
One of the first things that you should think about when beginning your podcast cover art design is that you want to stand out from the crowd.
Think about it.
Our eyes naturally go to things that are out of place.
When you walk down the hall, your eye naturally notices the scrap of paper on the floor doesn’t it?
And that’s kind of what you want your podcast cover art to be – that out of place scrap of paper.
Here’s how to evaluate your competitors podcast cover art design and create one that is different.
1. Open up iTunes and search for the general topic that your podcast will be about.
For this example, I’ll be setting up a fake podcast about cybersecurity career tips.
So I would search for cybersecurity.
2. Make a note of the predominant color of the artwork.
In this case, I see a lot of black, blue, and white.
So, I will note those colors as some that I may want to avoid.
If you don’t see predominate color, try squinting and see what are the main colors you see then.
3. Head over to Soundcloud and perform the same search.
Look at the main colors of the artwork for the podcasts.
You may also want to note other predominant designs.
In this case, I notice that a lot of the artwork designs are the logos of the companies that host the podcast.
I made a note of this mentally; I’ll want mine to be something different.
4. Now I’m going to choose a color scheme that is very different from my competitors.
There are numerous sites that you can get color palettes from.
I’m going to use https://colorhunt.co/ though.
As you scroll through the palettes, remember those predominant colors that you noted. Try to avoid palettes that are made of those colors.
In my case, I’m looking for something without a lot of black, blue, and white.
I find this palette with green and teals.
I like the colors and think it would be a nice contrast to all of the other podcast cover colors.
Again, you can come up with your own color scheme or you can use another site to find them.
The point is, you want something different.
Include an image of the host
(Depending on the topic of the podcast)
As humans, we are much more open to people than we are to say companies.
If you think about it, this is why people like blogs and vlogs so much.
We’d much rather listen and relate to another person.
That being said, if you are working on building a personal brand, you may want to use your own photo in your podcast cover art design.
This could help by serving two purposes.
It could strengthen your personal brand as well as helping people who are familiar with your content realize that the podcast could be of great value to them.
Your podcast cover art needs to convey the message of your podcast.
If you are the main personality, or you provide the majority of the content, you may want to include your image.
Let’s talk about that
Convey your podcast’s message in one look
If you have any marketing background, you probably have heard of touch points.
And when it comes to your podcast, the podcast cover art is your first touchpoint with potential listeners and subscribers.
The artwork should leave the right impression on them.
Let’s look at an example.
What would your first impression be of these two cybersecurity podcasts if you only saw the artwork?
I would think that the one on the right is just somebody talking about stuff.
The one one the left looks professional.
Believe it or not these subconscious decisions people make when they first interact with a brand, do influence future decisions.
So, whatever the graphic is, you want your podcast cover art design to look professional.
Then, you want it to convey the message or the emphasis of the podcast.
Look at these:
Which of these really let you know up front that the podcast is about saving money?
If you know who Dave Ramsey, Rachel Cruz, and Chris Hogan are, you may know those podcasts.
But if you never heard of them, you’d probably be drawn to the ones obviously about money right?
0 To 7 Figures, Wealthsteading, Millenial Money, The Rich Dad Show, etc.
Note: I don’t know whether those podcast are even good. I’m making a design point.
Be consistent with your brand
Brands can easily make the mistake of not being consistent across platforms.
Consistent branding can be a powerful marketing tool though.
Let’s use the Dave Ramsey show as an example.
If you don’t know, Dave Ramsey is a pretty well known finance and debt content producer.
He is a radio host, has a YouTube channel, and produces a lot of content.
When you visit his website, you immediately know it’s his site.
Now head over to his YouTube channel and search for the Dave Ramsey Show.
And you see the same branding – the colors, the same logo, Dave’s image.
Even the thumbnails of the videos do a good job of being consistent.
They include Dave’s image.
They use the same colors as the brand uses.
And the logo.
If we look at his podcast, we see the same consistency.
Again, we see Dave.
The same brand colors.
And the logo.
What this does is this:
When someone goes to iTunes and looks for some kind of money topic and see Dave Ramsey’s podcast show up, they subconsciously note that they know Dave Ramsey and his content and decide to listen to him.
The opposite may also be true.
If the person doesn’t like Ramsey’s approach, they may skip right over his podcast.
Now imagine if his podcast was dollar signs and green or something.
Would they have even known who it was?
So as you develop your podcast cover art design, be aware of your brand if it’s appropriate.
Captivate potential listeners with a value proposition
Another marketing concept that you need to understand is the value proposition.
If I am trying to sell you a pair of running shoes, how would I craft my selling message?
“Company X has been in business for over 45 years and have been making shoes that are industry respected and endorsed by Dr XYZ”
That wouldn’t encourage you to buy them would it?
Now if I said
“We get your problem. Often, running shoes are tight, feel overly constraining, and leave your run feeling very uncomfortable. That’s why we designed our shoes to be so airy and flexible that they feel like you don’t even have shoes on. While at the same time providing the ultimate support to your feet.”
Which one would leave a better impression on you?
The one that speaks to your pains right?
Let’s boil these down to a headline that you might see somewhere.
“45 Years Shoe Design Experience”
“Light and Cool for Pain Free Running”
Big difference isn’t there?
That’s because the second example speaks to the customers problem that they want to solve.
Enough about marketing and how to apply this to your podcast cover art design.
If it’s appropriate, see if you can add a value proposition to your artwork.
Look at this design from The Fertility Podcast.
It’s simple and right away you are able to deduce what the podcast is about and the value you will receive.
Or this one by Debt Free in 30
From the cover art, you can get an idea what the show is likely about and what you’ll get from it.
Your artwork may not be able to include all of the strategies we discuss, but including as many as are appropriate can increase your conversion rate.
Do something unusual to grab attention
When you did your research earlier on the other podcasts that already exist in your topic area, you may have noticed patterns or similarities in their artwork.
For example, when I search for money management, I get all of these podcasts:
When you do a cursory glance around the page, what grabs your attention?
The upside down guy maybe?
They are doing something unusual that gets your attention.
I think there’s another good example on the page.
How to Lose Money.
Doesn’t that make you do a double take and want to click in to start listening?
If you do click in, you see the podcast is actually about wealth building.
But the titles also do a great job of arousing curiosity and making you want to listen.
Keep it simple and stand out
The final tip I want to give you is to keep your podcast art cover design simple.
Just that alone can be enough to stand out.
Again, I’m going to use a search for cybersecurity as an example.
Quite a few of the icons are busy with lots going on.
But look at the simple ones.
Don’t they kind of stand out from the rest?
They’re simple and their color schemes help them stand out just a little more than the rest.
This gives them a slight advantage to be noticed more.
Every notice your podcast gets helps.
The very first step in your relationship with your podcast audience begins when they do a search.
They are provided a bunch of results and have to choose which one to listen to.
We discussed some of the things you can do to increase the likelihood that your podcast cover art design with catch their eye and peak their interest in your show.
While you probably won’t be able to include all of the strategies we discussed in a single artwork design, using the appropriate ones will help tremendously.
So, determine which tips work for you, design your artwork, and happy podcasting!