Despite your podcast being audio, one of the key questions you should be asking yourself when planning to publish, is how it will look online.
You’ll no doubt be listing your show in Apple Podcasts, and you’ll certainly want to make it available in as many places as possible.
Before you start submitting to podcast directories though, you’re going to need cover art.
An excellent and popular tool for creating visual designs is Canva.
What Makes Good Cover Art?
Let’s chat about what our aims should be ahead of using Canva. What makes good cover art?
Your audience are going to be seeing your Cover Art likely before they see your podcast name. And definitely before they get the chance to read any description or bio you have written down. Therefore you need to ensure that your cover art is definitely going to grab them.
This means you’ll need to consider all of the elements that make up your cover art.
A good cover art should have the name of your podcast in it. You probably don’t want to overload it more than that with text as this can be off putting. Your cover art will also be relatively small on a podcast directory, so you don’t want audience having to squint their eyes to see! Go simple with the name of your podcast, and use a font people can understand easily.
It will depend on the colour scheme within your post, but it’s best to also make the text a colour that doesn’t burn the eyes. Lime Green is only going to confuse people. A simplistic colour scheme is advantageous but don’t be afraid to make it stand out with colour. A few core colours that blend nicely together is the goal. Black and white probably won’t sell your podcast too well.
Illustrating Your Podcast
The key to making a good podcast cover art is illustrating the ethos of your podcast within that small square cover art. This isn’t too tricky for things like a football podcast – just use a football shape. However if your podcast is niche, or has a niche format, you might need to get creative.
If you put together a graphic which has your podcast title plastered neatly, an easy on the eye colour scheme, and some kind of illustration of what your show is about, you’re good!
With our aims in check, let’s crack on to using Canva.
What Is Canva
At The Podcast Host, we use Canva for many of our graphic needs. It’s quite simply an online graphic editor. This means you can create cover art for your podcast in no time at all. However there’s plenty of items to play about with if you do want to spend a great deal of time on it.
So let’s have a look at how Canva works, and all of the brilliant features available within it.
Free v Paid
There are three different models of Canva you can use which will depend upon your needs. There is a free model which gives you 1GB space to work with on creating your various graphics you might need for your podcast.
This also gives you up to 8,000 templates and many images to access for free.
Canva For Work is the premium version of the website which costs $12.95 per month. For this price you get all of the images available in Canva’s free model however you also get so much more.
You get free access to over 400,000 photographs and images to use for your cover art. Canva For Work also gives you the opportunity to get more creative with fonts, photographs you upload and even gifs!
There is a further quote by quote Canva Enterprise model, which gives you a dedicated account manager. For the purposes of this review though we’ll be using Canva For Work. There is a 30 day trial on offer for Canva For Work which we wholeheartedly support you trying out.
Choosing A Template
When you log into Canva’s homepage you’ll be faced with a plethora of choice at the templates on offer.
The site lists various categories of templates, and whilst this can seem overwhelming, Canva does list them in a logical way.
For example if you’re looking to make a social media picture, it lists all of the templates surrounding various Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under ‘Social Media Posts’.
There’s also categories for creating professional documents, creating blogs, book covers and even postcards. It’s all laid out cleanly and everything is labelled user-friendly.
Whilst we’re focusing here on podcast cover art, it’s worth noting that Canva’s home page is mouth-watering if you’re a creative person. There’s so much opportunity here to create anything you need.
Sadly, I don’t have time to review absolutely every template on Canva. I genuinely wish I did!
For our podcast cover art, I’ve gone for ‘Logo’, which is under the ‘Marketing Materials’ category.
Selecting Your Background
Once you select your template, Canva will load up its actual editor window for you. Again the website has made this very user friendly by keeping all of it’s features within different tabs. We’ll start with selecting your Podcast Cover Art background.
There are a good number of backgrounds available here for free which are colourful and act as nice wallpapers for your image. Within Canva’s one million plus images, you’ll find a gargantuan amount of images and backgrounds you can purchase too.
This may make you screech inside, because let’s be honest nobody likes the prospect of paid assets within an app. However, don’t fret too badly.
All of Canva’s paid images are only $1 each. And if you want to use a handful of these to put together a high quality Cover Art, a few bucks isn’t going to burn your pocket too badly.
When selecting your background you probably want to think about two things. First of all you want to make sure that it’s basic. On the whole with graphics, less is more.
If your background has too much going on, it’s going to detract from the forefront. Which will no doubt include the words and images that truly sell your podcast to listeners. So stay basic!
The holy grail is finding a basic image that also somehow relates to your podcast. For example, I was testing out Canva to create a Podcast Cover Art for a podcast about writing lists. Thankfully I found a background which illustrated a notepad, which immediately links to writing.
Once you have your background in place, it’s time to explore the world of elements available on Canva.
There are a number of different folders available on Canva’s editor and you can honestly spend hours exploring and testing everything out.
The most important thing to note is the thousands of free photos on hand. These are categorised into many different brackets such as Food, People & Nature.
As we’re looking to quickly put together your Cover Art, we’re going to cover the best features within Canva.
Grids, Frames & Shapes
Canva’s inbuilt Grids might not be the best for your Podcast Cover Art but the variety on show makes it a must-mention. If you want to split your logo to feature different items you can cut up your image with Grids.
Other graphic packages have Grids, but Canva give you the opportunity to cut your image from two parts all the way through to one hundred parts!
There’s also cool and creative frames on hand which allow you to create your image within a smartphone frame or within a window frame.
These are all fun functions to try out, but shapes is probably the first thing you’ll need. There’s a fair amount of colourful and transparent shapes of different styles and sizes you can choose from here.
And if you want a multitude of shapes, you can layer them on top of each other.
Whilst this is great, it would be good if Canva allowed you to manually edit shapes, as Adobe Photoshop can do. Most users will be satisfied with basic shapes, but for people who are looking for something very specific, Canva might not have what they need.
With that said though, you can still edit the sizing and alignment of these shapes, so Canva for the most part is useful on this front.
Icons & Illustrations
Canva has a cool selection of icons and illustrations which you can choose from to bring your podcast cover art to life. There’s plenty of bright, colourful, professional looking animated images to search through.
You can also change colours of pre-made illustrations which is a great feature on Canva.
Most graphic design sites offer stock illustrations. But the ability to change the colour schemes really make them feel like they were custom designed for your own brand.
For example if you’re making a Sports podcast, you can add in images of sports items and set them to the colour scheme of your favourite team.
The final element I’d like to cover is Charts which is a new feature within Canva.
You can insert all sorts of graphs into your images, such as line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, and a whole lot more on top of that.
When you insert these in, you can change the data quite simply. What is super cool, is that you can paste data from a spreadsheet straight into your Canva chart!
Like every good graphic design app, there’s a good amount of fonts available within Canva.
With headings, sub-headings and paragraph text on offer, it’s pretty simple to find the right size of text you need.
The way Canva lists text is through examples. This doesn’t work quite as nicely as its list of illustrations or shapes. This is because it’s essentially just a wall of different texts blending into each other. It can kind of cause you a headache if you aren’t sure what text you’re after.
However, there is plenty here that’ll give you a satisfactory font for your Cover Art.
Uploading Your Own Images
If you’d like to include your own photo within your Podcast Cover Art, Canva allows you to do this with ease.
You can upload images through the editor and quickly add all of the above functions to them.
This is handy if you’d like to feature a picture of yourself on your Cover Art, or if you have a place or item you’d like to feature.
In many ways this means that if there aren’t stock images to satisfy your needs, you can still achieve your dream image.
Alongside the other functions within Canva, you can also edit your own images. You can reshape, re-align and resize your photos to move them in and around your image to suit your needs.
The last thing to mention about the editor on Canva, is its resizing ability, which is part of Canva For Work.
Whilst this isn’t unique to graphic design packages, Canva make things so easy by listing templates of various items.
This means you don’t need to surf the net to figure out the correct sizing you should have for an email header. It’s all listed here for you, with one click.
And with that, you should have everything you need to complete your Podcast Cover Art. Canva makes it simple to create.
However, we’re going to keep exploring the site, to find out what else we can do on it.
With Canva For Work, the app has considered that you might need to update your brand or add new images.
Perhaps your Podcast demands a blog and now you need images for that, which will mimic your Cover Art. Or maybe you’ve created social media pages for your Podcast.
Your brand is important. It’s what people view your podcast as. So if your subscribers know your Podcast Cover Art, you should try to keep your other graphics similar. You want the same colours and shapes if possible.
Canva’s Brand function allows you to create colour palettes and saved fonts. This means when you come to create a different kind of graphic, you can still use the same colours and fonts. Which is really great for keeping you on brand.
What is also cool is that, for a price, Canva allows you to print your own creations. You can select a batch of your Podcast Cover Art, or Logo, and have them shipped directly to your door. This works well if you want to create a business card for your podcast for reaching new listeners, or even sponsors. If that’s something you’re interested in, check out our guide on sponsorship to find out other ways you can approach potential sponsors.
School Of Design
As well as hosting a state of the art graphic design editor, and thousands of images you can use within it, Canva also teaches.
The company has spent a great deal of time creating its own learning materials for those seeking the basics through to more advanced methods and tasks to follow.
Canva’s Learn section of their site features tutorials. These are informative articles on how to use your account to get the most out of your project.
The tutorials are filled with examples and templates used within Canva. So you can read about how to select the perfect podcast logo, and then actually use the template on your own, for example.
As well as focusing on social media and using Canva, there’s guides and tutorials all about Photography. And for the teachers out there, there’s also guides on how to teach others all about how to use Canva.
What is perhaps most interesting about Canva’s Learn section is its Business module. This teaches you how to use Canva to grow your business, and by product, your brand.
This community of creative writers and advice really makes Canva stand out from the rest of the pack.
Canva have built themselves a fantastic asset for designers rookie and adept. Their site offers you the chance to jump in and create your Podcast Cover Art in a number of minutes.
And if you aren’t sure what it is you want, then there’s plenty of advice on hand through its Learn section, and through the heavy number of images already stored for free on the site. Or even through the well priced $1 images you can purchase.
It’s a must have tool for your Podcast branding, so go test out the trial we mentioned earlier. We’re keen to see what you put together!
Now that you have your Podcast Cover Art, it’s time to work on putting your podcast out into the world.
We can help through our Academy, where we offer 1-to-1 tutoring, advice and courses to help podcasters achieve their dream shows.