Podcast Branding: Ultimate Guide to Design your Podcast
Have you ever been lost trying to pick a video to watch on Netflix or YouTube? Or maybe you stood in front of a fridge full of craft beer cans, unable to make a choice?
Today’s world is noisy. With so many colorful video thumbnails and amazing-looking beer labels shouting “pick me, pick me, pick me,” it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
The simple fact is that video thumbnails and beer labels have a massive effect on how we choose what to watch and buy. That is branding 101.
But hold on a second, what does it have to do with my podcast branding, you ask?
Whether you like it or not, the same principles apply to your podcast graphic design. Your cover art and logo can help you stand out in the crowd, or they can turn your show into another episode of “Where’s Waldo.”
So how do you get people scrolling through titles on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Castro app to stop and give your podcast a listen?
You can start by following these 👉 tips on creating a podcast brand that pops.
But, before we get into the nitty-gritty of choosing your colors, fonts, and getting your image specs right, let’s talk about why you should care about it.
Why does podcast branding matter?
Begin with why the brand is important for you. People identify your business with design content. It’s a part of your identity and marketing. You will use it everywhere - on social channels, your content, website, or podcast listings.
1. Light travels faster than sound
Every podcast needs a logo. It’s the first thing potential listeners will see scrolling through their podcast app. They will either hit the play button or keep scrolling. The first impression has a significant impact on their decision.
2. A picture is worth a thousand words
Most of us are visual learners. Your podcast cover can tell people the theme, mood, and quality of your podcast quicker than its description. Plus, having a unique and eye-catching podcast logo can spark listeners’ curiosity and help your podcast stand out from the crowd.
3. Oops, something went wrong
Podcast directories, like Apple Podcasts, have specific requirements for your podcast logo size and dimensions to be accepted and listed. An excellent podcast cover can push your show to rank higher on the list.
How do I brand my podcast?
We hate boring things. If you want people to notice your podcast, you need to build a strong brand around it. It’s the best way to get people’s attention and part of the marketing strategy.
You did not start your podcasting journey without thinking about your message, voice, audience, and competition. Next, you must create a brand that will make your show instantly recognizable. Where do you begin?
Simple. Start where everyone else starts - open your podcasting app and look at the most popular and noteworthy podcasts and their covers. Look on Pinterest and Dribble for inspiration. Note what gets your attention, what design elements work for you, and what these great covers have in common.
What branding do you need for a podcast?
Your podcast branding has to follow specific requirements set by podcast directories.
Apple Podcasts provides a detailed guide with everything you should know about artwork requirements. Here are some of the basics:
- Size: Your cover must be a square ranging from 1400 × 1400 to 3000 × 3000 pixels. Having a larger image is recommended. And you can download template covers from their website to get your resolution and color model right.
- Elements: Your cover should be simple and legible. If you submit an image that contains explicit language, ads, references to illegal drugs, profanity, or violence, it will be rejected by Apple Podcasts. Your show won’t be listed.
- Format: You can upload your artwork in both PNG or JPEG format. This rule is different for your logo. You should upload a 3000 × 750 transparent PNG image instead.
Other podcast directories like Google Podcasts or Spotify have similar or the same specs requirements. Remember to use RGB color code and upload your image in the highest resolution possible. Pixelated or blurry images just won’t do.
How to create your podcast cover art
There are 3 ways to design your podcast artwork:
1. Ask a friend
If you’re lucky to have a friend who is into graphic design, you should probably share this article with them right now and call in a favor.
2. Do it yourself
If your podcast is your blood, sweat, and tears, then why not design your podcast cover yourself? Luckily, I’ve got you covered. So, read on to learn how to do that!
3. Hire a professional
Hiring an expert can be a great way to create your podcast logo and cover. I share some tips below on finding the right person and provide cost estimates too.
How to design an eye-catching podcast logo
You don’t need to be an expert in graphic design to make an excellent podcast brand. These 5 pro tips focus on how to create a successful brand that brings new listeners.
1. Convey the right message.
Your potential listeners should see what your podcast is about right away. Don’t make them think for too long or misunderstand your podcast based on its cover. Use colors and images that immediately build positive associations. For example, if you’re making a true-crime podcast, your cover should convey a sense of mystery.
2. Choose your words carefully.
People don’t listen to podcasts on their smart TVs. So remember, your image should be legible and easy to read, even in small sizes. Limit yourself to a few words (I recommend using less than five words) and choose them carefully. If your podcast title is too long - you’ve already lost. Swear words will kill your game also. Remember, podcast directories will reject such covers.
3. Avoid clichés.
Have you heard of the Von Restorff Effect? Simply put, when we’re presented with multiple similar images, we will remember the one that is different from the rest. So don’t state the obvious. Using a photo of your microphone or the word podcast won’t get you far. If you want your brand to capture attention - think different.
4. Capture attention with colors.
Colors can make or break your podcast cover. Having the right combination of colors is essential to creating eye-catching artwork. Luckily for you, you don’t need to read volumes of science books on the theory of colors to select an attractive color scheme. First, consider your message and tone: should you apply warm or cool colors to your artwork? Got it? Now go to this free Adobe tool to start building awesome color palettes. You can also choose from thousands of color combinations from the community. Just remember, don’t overcomplicate it.
5. Set your tone with typography.
Words, images, and colors - your fonts should compliment your artwork. Use easy-to-read fonts. Don’t use more than two font types. Don’t be afraid to utilize bold, expressive fonts to make your brand distinguishable and memorable. Test multiple fonts to find your perfect match. Open Google fonts to get inspiration on practical typography. You can also download and include their fonts for free in your artwork.
Bonus tip: Test your final artwork.
Talk to your friends. Share your artwork with them and ask them what they think. If you can’t get their attention - you probably won’t be able to attract new listeners either.
Look at your work in various sizes (think small) - can you still read your title easily? Do your colors fit together?
Remember the dark mode! Many of us will switch our apps to the dark mode - does your artwork still stand up against a dark background?
Tools to design your podcast logo
Most tools like Adobe or Sketch will charge you a hefty subscription fee. The good news is there are plenty of alternatives out there you can use to create your podcast cover for free. Here are the 3 most popular design tools.
Canva is a free graphic design tool that allows its users to make stunning podcast covers, logos, social media posts, presentations, book covers, etc.
You can customize one of their countless podcast cover templates. But don’t forget to add your personal touch to make your cover image conspicuous.
2. Adobe Express
Adobe Express is another excellent service that can help you create your podcast brand for free. It’s got all the right tools, and just like in Canva, you can start building your artwork from one of their templates.
Figma is probably one of the most-used graphic design tools today. Though it’s meant for more advanced users, you can still give it a try for free. There are tons of tutorials on how to use Figma and a nice collection of templates.
Bonus tip: How to download free design assets.
The internet is full of fantastic images and illustrations. Here is a catch, you can’t just take someone’s work and use it in your podcast cover art. So before you waste time falling in love with an illustration you can’t use, check out websites Unsplash, Pixabay, or Freepik. You can pick and download any of their royalty-free design assets.
And if you’re not a Photoshop expert but want to remove the background from an image - run it through the Remove.bg.
How to find a creative podcast graphic designer?
There is no shame in outsourcing the job of creating a podcast cover to a professional. They can bring extra value. Depending on your budget and timeline, you can use various qualified services.
Here are the 3 most popular ways to hire a designer to create your podcast artwork.
On Upwork, you can hire an artist to design you a unique podcast cover or pay for a fully customizable template. It’s safe and secure, and if you know what you want, you can find a designer who will deliver the output in less than 24 hours.
Fiverr is another marketplace that lets you hire a designer to create podcast artwork. You can find a designer based on their style, portfolio examples, delivery time, and budget. Check out the artist’s work and prepare a brief before signing that check.
99Designs is another place for finding a professional designer. As the name suggests, it’s a design-specific platform. Similar to Upwork or Fiverr, you can pick your favorite designer here, but there is a catch. You need to create a simple brief and open a contest. Designers will then submit their ideas, and you can pick who you want to collaborate with on working on your brand.
How much should your podcast artwork cost?
It all depends on your budget and the expertise of the designer you hire.
- Upwork can help you find a designer for under $10, $10-$20, and over $20. Look at different portfolios to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth.
- Fiverr projects could cost as low as $5, but designing the whole brand will cost you more, anything from $10 to $1000.
- 99Designs is a pricier option. There are 4 packages you can choose from, ranging from $199 to $999.
As a rule, you should remember that a great brand is not cheap and quick. If you’re serious about your podcast, you should prepare to spend some money on it. Remember, your design cover matters a lot. So set aside about $300 to get yourself a decent budget.
Let’s recap what we’ve learned in this guide.
Simply put, it’s essential to brand your podcast to get people’s attention and form a community of followers. A remarkable brand can lead to growing your business and help you market your podcast.
Focus on building a memorable brand. You need to create an eye-catching podcast cover and logo to be listed in podcast directories and make your podcast rank higher.
How to brand your podcast? You can either do it yourself or hire a graphic designer.
Regardless of your choice, this advice will help you create a successful podcast brand to attract a new audience.
Convey the right message.
Choose your words carefully.
Capture attention with colors.
Set your tone with typography.
Take advantage of free tools like Canva, Adobe Express, or Figma to help design your podcast logo and cover. You can start from scratch or pick one of these countless podcast art templates.
If you hire a designer to create your podcast logo - look for them on Upwork, Fiverr, or 99Designs. Expect to pay anything from $10 to $1000. If you’re serious about your podcast, we recommend spending about $300 on it.
Good luck in your podcasting journey, and happy new listeners 😉
P.s. In the last article, we came up with a list of best practices to help you grow your podcast.