Assuming you have already read my Podcasting 101: How to Make a Podcast guide, you are likely familiar with what's required in order to create and launch a successful show. The process as a whole is fairly straightforward. But there might be one more thing... What about your podcast's cover art?
In some ways, a podcast's cover art is just as important as the podcast itself. After all, without a well-designed cover art to catch the eyes of potential listeners, you could be missing out on some quality traffic numbers.
Designing the perfect cover art for a podcast is not easy for everyone. And actually, the average person is not a graphic designer, so it certainly doesn't help to pick up on a few pointers that can make you feel like a pro in no time.
It all starts with an app
Before you do anything, you will want to decide on a design application that fits your needs. This app can run on any platform that you prefer. From full blown desktop apps to conveniently minimal mobile apps, there are numerous choices to explore.
Personally, when it comes to designing graphics, I almost always prefer working in Photoshop on my desktop. This is primarily because of the ability to take advantage of the large amount of screen real estate that's available on my 31-inch LG 4K display.
Of course, not every designer requires such an extravagant display. I'm just sort of a tech geek, so I enjoy going all out whenever I can.
Getting back to apps, it's safe to assume that Photoshop is the design app to use. Plain and simple, it's likely your best choice — and for just $10/month, thanks to Adobe's new Creative Cloud plans.
If money is tight and you're not looking to spend anything at the moment, that's not a problem. I highly recommend you check out a free open source image editor called GIMP. Standing for GNU Image Manipulation Program, GIMP is a very popular Photoshop-like app that works across all three major desktop operating systems: OS X | Windows | Linux
Where to begin with your design
Once you decide on which design app you are going to use, it's time to think about the actual design of your podcast's cover art and what you want to get out of it.
First things first, your cover art needs to be designed in a large and high resolution format. My cover art was created in Photoshop and its dimensions are 2000 x 2000 pixels, in a resolution of 300 PPI (pixels per inch).
Don't let the fancy design lingo confuse you. Just be sure your cover art is large and easily readable from across an average sized room.
Be bold and relatable
Speaking in regards to the actual design, you'll want to create something that feels bold and instantly recognizable — as if a user is quickly scrolling through the many podcasts that are already available on iTunes and wants to take notice of yours. Having a bold design can help achieve this. Referencing mine again, you'll see that I chose to use bright lime green text and a large photo of myself. And that brings me to my next point...
Your podcast's cover art needs to relate to your podcast. I know this may seem obvious to most people, but I still feel like it's worth mentioning. If your podcast is about technology, then design a cover art that will grab the attention of geeks. And the same thing goes for any other topic.
I chose to feature myself in my podcast's cover art because of its name. The #AskDavid Podcast is exactly what it sounds like. My audience is free to ask me questions relating to a variety of topics. From talking about branding to discussing my thoughts on the latest technology, The #AskDavid Podcast is intended give off a personal vibe with whomever is listening.
Uploading your cover art
Alright, you've designed the cover art for your podcast and you feel confident with what you have. Now what?
Referencing my Podcasting 101 guide, you'll notice towards the end that I explained RSS feeds and how they work. In short, an RSS feed is a string of characters that contains everything that networks like iTunes need to know about your podcast — including its cover art.
Because your RSS feed is typically hosted on one platform, this means that you have the convenience of being able to change your podcast's cover art at any moment in time. Now of course, I don't recommend going crazy with this, but it's certainly nice having the flexibility. And the same goes for updating your podcast's description, tags, etc.
Anyway, with all that RSS talk aside, where you want to host your podcast is completely to you. This decision will determine where your cover art is uploaded, as well. Personally, I'm a big fan of SoundCloud. It's free to use and it just works.
Once you choose a hosting platform, uploading your cover art is as easy as it gets. Simply follow the onscreen instructions. Just remember that the larger your cover art is, the better. Networks like iTunes tend to display podcast cover art across a variety of devices, including televisions.
And that's it!
Once your podcast's cover art is complete, the final step in the podcasting process is getting it published on as many networks as possible. For a complete step-by-step guide on how that works, reference Podcasting 101: How to Make a Podcast.
Yeah, I know I'm referencing that post quite a bit, but that's exactly why I took the time to write it. My goal is to make podcasting a fun and seamless process for you, the user. But as always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to comment below.