How to Design a Podcast Artwork? The Ultimate Guide
When people search for your show and find it, what do they see first before listening to a second of your content or even seeing your show title?
They see the cover art of your podcast. And there are some very specific requirements that iTunes has for your artwork.
The artwork is significant because Apple specifically loves to showcase nice-looking podcasts. It’s said that the better your artwork is and the higher quality it has, the more likely it is that you’re going to be featured.
So, if you don’t have any artwork or have really cruddy-looking artwork, they’re definitely not going to want to promote it because they want to promote things that look great, just like their own products.
Requirements for the podcast artwork
Now, let’s walk through the requirements, and then we’ll share some resources for you where you can get some of them designed.
The image requirements for iTunes are as follows. First of all, you need a square image of at least 1400 by 1400 pixels. It’s going to be quite large already, at a minimum size. However, it’s recommended to go with the max size, preferably 3000 by 3000 image. That way, it looks best on most of the devices out there.
Secondly, you’re going to have it at 72 dpi. It’s stuff that you can give and hand off to your art person or your graphic designer, or if you know how to do this yourself in Photoshop, you can just take these requirements into account.
Number three, you’ll need it to be a JPG or a PNG format. Either one works well, and that’s what’s required by iTunes.
Number four, you need it to be in the RGB color space. So, again, this is a little bit more technical.
Then finally you need it to be compressed. Compressed means the file size needs to be relatively small or minimal because you can get quite heavy images at the 3000 by 3000 pixel range. You can use different free tools or applications to minimize the size without degrading the look of your image.
That’s going to be CompressJPG.com, or if you’re using a PNG, very simply, CompressPNG.com. Take your 3000 by 3000 image. You put it through one of those websites, whichever one is your file name or format.
Then you’re going to have the same file. It’ll look great, but it will be a lot less in terms of the space that it takes up. It’s helpful when people download your show and when it gets shown on iTunes and whatnot.
Another iTunes requirement is to make sure that your square artwork looks good at a smaller size as well. So, for example, it might look great at 3000 by 3000, and you might put a lot of words in there and stuff. But when you shrink it down to, maybe, 150 by 150, many of those things you would have on there would typically disappear or just be illegible.
Make sure that you design it in a way that it looks great at the large size, 3000 by 3000, but also good at around 150 to 150, so when you shrink it down, you could still have it be readable—still see your face, if you choose to put that on there. Remember, people are looking at these on their phones sometimes.
What to put on the artwork?
For example, you can check iTunes and adopt one to your taste. You can notice that faces are typically what people choose for personal brands by checking iTunes. It’s not always the case, but personal brands often use their face because that’s their brand. They are their brand. There are even cartoon versions of people there.
In short, including your face is totally okay to do. You can include part of your face or a full face; that’s your choice. What’s really cool is it’s your podcast, and you can design your artwork however you want. Just make sure it looks great when it’s small, and it portrays exactly what you want it to show.
A lot of brands use images that you can find on their website or at their event. That helps continue the conversation and makes the podcast a part of their brand as well.
Other ones are more simple. For example, you’ll see a logo with a clear, very easy-to-read logo and name there.
Also, check the category you’re going to get into, look at the images that are there, and see what stands out and what you could do to be different.
You can check and find the ones that look different and actually design something different if possible because, remember, people see these things first before they even listen to a second of your podcast.
Also, check the top audio podcast section on iTunes. You can also look at the top episodes, seeing which topics are most popular. Just look around. See what’s working. See what can work for you and adopt your own style.
But the best part is that you can change it over time, so don’t worry about it being perfect. You just have to get started.
You can always change things later. It’s the same thing with your artwork, the same thing with other aspects related to your podcast.
You can change those things later, but you do need to move forward and get your audio podcast artwork designed.
How to create artwork?
There are a couple of references if you can’t create artwork on your own or have a teammate who can help you or a designer at hand.
Fiverr: It provides services that other people do for you, anything from graphic design to digital marketing, article stuff, and even just fun random things like you could literally pay somebody just to say your name for five minutes.
It’s weird and random but also cool because you can get lucky and find somebody that’s great.
Typically designing artwork for a podcast may cost anywhere between $5 to $20, $25. Sometimes you get what you pay for, and you will get a $5 item back, so be careful.
Be a little bit careful if you’re getting artwork designed here. Still, it’s the fastest and cheapest way to get somebody else to do artwork for you. Again, you can always redesign these or re-upload new artwork later.
Upwork: Upwork is another freelance site where you can find people to work for you. However, instead of finding people, depending on the task, you post your job up, and different people will react to it, “Yes I want to do that, and here’s for how much.”
The downside is that it’s going to take a little bit longer. It does take some time, and typically, it’s also going to be a little bit more expensive than Fiverr.
Canva: If you’re up to the task, you can create a design on your own, even if you don’t have Photoshop, using a tool called Canva. Canva is typically known for making it really easy for anybody to create materials that you can use on social media.
There are all kinds of different graphics you can create using Canva. And, of course, you can create your own podcast artwork here too.
It’s effortless with the drag and drop feature. If you want to do just a first version to have it up and ready by the time launch goes out, you can use Canva.
But remember, Canva is for those of you who don’t have a designer or design experience or Photoshop experience of your own. All you have to do is click on custom dimensions, 3000 by 3000, and then design.
Then you will have a template that you can work elements adding to it. You can add a background, upload your logo, and put it there. Make sure your logo is PNG with a transparent background. You can also put little charts and icons there. There are many things you can do to create your cover art on your own using this tool.