How to Design a Podcast Cover
Designing a podcast cover is no small task. From the title to the subtitle, and logo marks, sponsorship marks, image or illustration, there are endless choices that have to be made.
Here at Evergreen, we have designed and updated quite a few podcast covers. With many different podcasts, all with different content and categories, we have to work in a lot of different styles while creating.
So what are the steps of designing a podcast?
Well first, you need to understand the podcast and what category it fits into.
You probably don't want to design a cover that shows a bear riding a unicycle while wearing a tutu for a podcast that is all about saving the rainforest.
It's important that the cover represents what the podcast is all about and matches the tone.
So for a podcast about medical mistakes, the tone is more serious. You might consider using an image of a doctor, or medical equipment, or maybe an illustration of anatomy. Make sure that whatever you choose, it fits the “vibe” of the podcast.
While on the other hand, if you are designing a cover for a kid's podcast full of bedtime stories, medically drawn skulls probably wouldn't be appropriate.
However, illustrations of unicorns and dragons might work.
After you know what tone you want your podcast cover to be (serious, funny, artsy, etc) and what category it fits into, it's time to brainstorm.
Take out a sketchbook, write down the title, and start thinking up some ideas. Maybe make a word bank of all the adjectives you want the cover to be.
(Bold, quirky, weird, energetic, strong, serious, vibrant, youthful, happy, dramatic, etc.)
Pick a couple of words to help inspire your designing process, try making a design based off of just one, then maybe combine a couple.
Test some grids and sizes, do some color swatches. Or maybe you just use a ballpoint pen, whatever process works for you.
The layout of your cover is important. Whether you have a photo, an illustration, or just a plain colored background, where you place the type, and how large it is, affects what the viewer sees first.
When designing the layout pay attention to the visual hierarchy of the design, what do you want the viewer to pay attention to?
The typeface you choose for the design is a huge part of the final cover. You want the type to stand out, and be easily legible, but you also want to make it fit into whatever other details you have in the image or background.
Doing a bubble type for a horror podcast changes the mood significantly, and designing a cover for a podcast about the circus using a scratchy horror type also probably isn't the look you want.
Matching the type to your feeling is important, and can be a difficult task to master.
Another hint, don’t use the entire dictionary! The fewer words the better, you don’t want to overcrowd the cover. Just use the amount of words necessary, no more than that.
Colors are definitely one of the most important parts of a cover. A pop of pink changes the mood immediately when it's a pink ax instead of red.
Color stands out and is an important tool to be aware of, and color psychology is also important.
Red can represent power and anger. Pink can be love and soft. Blue is gentle and intelligent. Yellow represents friendship and happiness. Gold equals wealth. And so on, and so on.
Of course, all rules are meant to be broken, take it as a challenge to design a horror podcast with pink! Why not?
The final step, after all your hard work. You picked images, worked with illustrations, typefaces, colors, text treatments, textures, and now it's finally time for the magic.
All of the editing.
Every single space between letters, changing the colors ever so slightly, moving things over by just a pixel or two. All of these small edits build up and help to create that as-near-to perfect design that you want.
- Design so that your cover works at several different sizes. Make sure your artwork and type are legible on the phone and laptop! You want it to be easily recognizable.
- Check out the designs of your competition so that you can make your design stand out!
- 3000 by 3000 is a normal size to use if you want it to work on Apple Podcasts. ( You can always reduce the size later)
- Keep it Simple!
And one of the most important parts of designing. Don’t be afraid to say “this isn't working” and start over. There's nothing wrong with creating ten bad designs as long as that final result is what you were striving for.