Your podcast cover art is your first opportunity to reach your potential listeners and entice them to take a listen. It’s critical to make a great first impression and stand out from surrounding cover art. Let’s dive in.
The default starting point for size/resolution specs is going to be following iTunes requirements. Most directories have the same standards, and as iTunes is the most popular/used, it’s important to get this right.
- Min 1400 x 1400 pixels
- Max 3000 x 3000 pixels
- 72 dpi, JPEG or PNG format
- RGB colorspace
- *Recommended compressed files for tablet/mobile devices
So we know the technical requirements, so if you’re doing this on your own you can make sure you’re creating/exporting the image to match the above. If you have a designer creating it for you, make sure they provide it at the above specs.
Different Device Sizes
You can’t know the environment or which device/platform your listeners will come across your podcast, so it’s important to make sure you cover art is legible even on small sizes. Small text might look great at 1400 x 1400 or even 400 x 400, but make sure it still gets your message across at 100 x 100.
Start with a quality image and don’t scale up. If you’ve got an awesome image that’s 700×700, scaling it up to 3000×3000 doesn’t count as a 3000×3000 sized image – you’ll just have a super blurry 3000×3000 image (unless it’s an SVG). So, rule of thumb – don’t scale up.
When you’ve finished your cover art image, you’ll probably need to compress the final image. This is mainly for mobile/tablet devices that have to download your image over limited bandwidth. If compression is done correctly, you won’t be able to tell a difference from the pre and post compressed image.
An easy solution here is to your final image through TinyPNG (takes .jpg and .png) for smart lossy compress. Then put the original image and the compressed image side by side. If you can tell a difference, then your images were probably previously compressed and you should use the original. If you can’t tell a difference, go with the compressed version.
The whole idea behind successful podcast cover art is letting the right people know what to expect from your podcast. You know your content and who you’re trying to reach, so keeping those two things in mind along with the following best practices will keep you going in the right direction.
Keep it Simple
Keep it simple. You want your potential listeners able to know what your podcast is about and what to expect with just a short glance. Especially when imagining your show in a listing next to similar podcasts, make sure is simple and direct enough for someone to understand what to expect with a quick glance.
Speak to your Audience
Use language and imagery that your target audience relates to. Not everyone has to connect with what you’re podcast is about – but that’s totally okay. You’re looking for the listeners that are tuned into your content and topic.
What’s Already Working?
Have a look at some of the different podcast cover art on iTunes and how it changes from category to category. See which covers catch your eye as you glance through and make notes of why it grabbed your attention. Thinking about what’s working with other cover art and then thinking what the equivalent ideas, language, images, etc. would be for your podcast, sometimes helps to get those creative ideas flowing.
Get out there and Create!
Don’t let creating your podcast cover art hold you back from launching your podcast. The important thing is having fun with it and getting your podcast out there.