Everybody loves pictures. I'm sure that you’ve had your attention drawn by them at some point during your day. Images are power. Images, design, color and graphics hold within them the power to convey distinct and compelling information. They have the strength to engage the viewer to step closer to the source or to push away from it.
This is why your podcast artwork is incredibly important.
You may already have decided what you want your artwork to look like. You may have no idea what your artwork should look like. Following will be a few guidelines and important information to both facilitate your decision making process as well as refine your choices.
You don’t have to have cover art, but you are certainly loosing tons of benefits by not having it or not caring about it. Here’s what Apple has to say on their site:
"Attractive and interesting cover art attracts new subscribers to your podcast. Podcasts must have good cover art to be featured on the Podcast main page or the Store main page. Most good podcast images include an image as well as a title, brand, or source name. A 300x300-pixel JPG is the recommended size and format. Using this relatively large format, the iTunes Store automatically generates the various smaller images you see in the podcast directory. Before you settle on the art for your podcast, you may want to review the Top Podcasts page and note the various elements that contribute to compelling art."
If you decide that you want to avoid iTunes all together, you may still want to spend time developing your artwork as a way to inform your listeners of what your podcast is about. The top question potential listeners are looking to answer when they bump into your content is what is this about and is this for them? The easier you make it for your potential superfans to decide to subscribe to your content based upon your artwork, about page and Web site in general, the less work you will have to do all around to get your show out there.
Get them to hit the play button and engage!
While in your development process, no matter how tempted you are to include well-known brands or actors and actresses in your artwork it is a good idea to steer clear of this.
Monetizing a podcast with copyrighted artwork or selling products with someone else's work on them is illegal. It is so important to adhere to this as it could save you a lot of trouble down the road.
If you have further questions about ethics and design AIGA has published a very informative document which goes into great detail about this matter: AIGA Design Business and Ethics
Not only is the look of your artwork significant, but also the size and resolution. Podcasters in general recognize the importance of their artwork, but often times forget to optimize the size and resolution.
You can see from these numbers, how much they change from device to device. Make sure that the initial artwork that you create is capable of being sized down, which means, making all your images large (1400x1400 at 300 dpi). It can always be scaled down.
You won’t waste your time having an image that large, in fact it may save you a lot of time in the future, specifically if you decide you would like to offer some shwag for your show: t-shirts, mugs, caps, etc. When it comes to images for print, bigger is definitely better. At minimum to get something printed you would need an image at 200 dpi, optimally 300 dpi (currently the safe bet print standard). Web standard is 72 dpi, although on most devices, especially those with massively powerful screens, that dpi looks fuzzy.
The original editable file. (You may not have the programs to open this file if you don’t have Photoshop or illustrator but if you have a graphic designer make changes down the road you will have this to send to them.)
Podcast Artwork Design Help
Here’s a list of some web resources to both hire a designer and create your own artwork. As with anything: do your research, ask questions and make informed decisions. We are not particularly endorsing any of these services, we are offering you choices so that you can begin or refine your journey.
Here’s hoping this was helpful!
Please let us know if you have any other questions regarding this topic. If we don’t know, we’ll certainly go out of our way to get you an answer!
- Sarah, Elsie & Chuck from App Ops