Perfect Podcast Logo or Podcast Cover Art Design, At-A-Glance:
- Images are important. Many listeners tend to find the cover art more important than the title.
- Great podcast logos are simple and have few colors and visual objects.
- Your podcast cover art will often be seen as a thumbnail. When you work on it, take time to view it at different sizes.
- Your only text should be your title. Keep it as simple as possible.
- Simplest design specifications: 1400×1400 jpeg or png, and keep it under 500 kb.
- Just looking to hire a podcast logo designer? Check out the excellent melhak on Fiverr. Prices start at $42. Our link here is an affiliate because this is a service we highly recommend. We'd earn a small commission if you were to buy through it, though at no extra cost to yourself.
- There are some do-it-yourself options, such as Canva or GNU Image Manipulation Program.
Your podcast art is more important than you'd imagine. According to our Discovery Stats Survey, the majority of podcast listeners said that the art was more important to them when choosing a podcast than the title. Even if the podcast aficionado was familiar with the host, or an interview guest, the art influenced their decision to make that next click.
What makes podcast cover art have a positive impact, and how can you harness this power for yourself? We're going to show you some good practices, with examples from current podcasts.
With Podcast Logos, Less Is More
Think about traffic signs, marketing logos, and the most memorable graffiti. They have few colors, high contrast, and they have little to no text. This doesn't mean that your meditation podcast or kids' podcast has to look like a stop sign. But, a minimalist design is easier for the brain to recognize, understand, and remember.
Show What You’re About
Think like a business logo, not like a book cover or movie poster. Coats of arms, business letterhead, and vintage advertising are all good sources of inspiration. Here are examples of podcast logos that have a lot of personality, with a minimum of fuss. A few, high-contrast colors, minimal text, and familiar symbols make the image easier to see and brains to decode quickly.
Podcast Logo Case Study #1: Conversations with People Who Hate Me
The original logo for Conversations With People Who Hate Me has only six colors: the three primary colors, plus black, white, and grey. It’s high-contrast and bold. The grey chair, black and white text balloon, and the blue Facebook hand giving a thumbs down from the laptop all imply that this podcast is about personal conversations in contrast with negative social media activity.
The current podcast logo has a photograph of the host, Dylan Marron. It’s a full-color photo, but the focus remains on primary colors. It’s still bold and high contrast, but softer and shows Marron’s personality. Instead of a cozy chair, The image implies conversation with a phone. In both cases, the logo shows clearly what the podcast is about: humanizing online behavior.
Keep it simple, less is more.
Podcast Logo Case study #2: Spirits
Podcast logo design doesn’t get simpler than the image for the Spirits podcast. It has two colors, one word of text, and a symbolic martini glass, garnished with a symbol of a skull. You know from the first look that this podcast is about two things, booze and death. On closer view, you can see that the frisky lime green is actually a gradient, giving it a little depth and shape, like neon. In this podcast, two friends chat over cocktails about spooky folklore, urban myths, hauntings, and other fun, creepy trivia. It’s a light fun romp through the dark, exactly as that logo promises.
Fun With Fonts: Serif, or sans-serif?
The case studies above both use examples of sans-serif fonts. If you’ve ever read a print newspaper, or typed with a manual typewriter, you’ve seen a serif font. In the case of Dylan Marron’s logo, the design evokes social media fonts. In the case of Spirits, the choice was probably made for simplicity. Is it better to choose one type of font over the other? Some designers feel that typography determines readability. Others feel that screen resolution makes sans-serif fonts easier to read online, and serif fonts are easier to read on paper. Ultimately, the choice of font is up to you, and the sentiment or brand you want to convey.
Your podcast logo has to look good at a small size, because of the way podcast apps display logos on phones. 40% of respondents in our Discovery survey prefer to search their listening app's directory to discover new podcasts. So, when you make your logo, start big, but use the view option to see it the same way as you’d see on your phone.
Why start big? If you have a large print-quality version, you can repurpose the content more efficiently and recognizably. A big image made small won’t lose image quality. If you take a small image and blow it up, it becomes pixelated and loses integrity.
For example, the logo for Girl In Space has a sans-serif font in aqua green against a purple galaxy background. It’s high contrast, and looks good at a small size. But, the detail of the starfield also looks great on their website banner, t-shirts, stickers and so on.
The Amelia Project’s logo has just two colors, orange and black. It communicates as broadly as a traffic sign. This logo’s magic is in the juxtaposition of the mythic and mundane, the curving lines of the phoenix rising out of a cocoa cup, further contrasted with the simplicity of only two colors. This unforgettable logo’s frame is morse code. The message varies depending on where the logo is; merchandise, online, and so on.
When you upload your podcast logo to your host, make sure it’s at the minimum file size of 500 KB, 1400 pixels square, 72 dpi, and submit as a .png or .jpg file. This makes it load faster and take up less space. But, you can start your design as 3000 pixels square, 300 dpi, so that it’s print quality. Then, you can scale the image to make it smaller. When your host submits the art to the directories, the smaller file will take less time to load.
When I described the design specification numbers, did it make sense? If not, it’s okay. You might want to consider outsourcing. There is no shame in hiring someone to help. Visual artists are worth the money for a reason. They have skills and experience. They have tools and brushes in their digital editing suite that would make your sound designer’s DAW blush. If you can afford an artist, get one to do your logo, and pay them handsomely.
Kessi Riliniki made the logo for Jarnsaxa Rising. I was very unhappy with the logo I tried to create. Not only was Kessi available to make the logo at a reasonable price, she heard the podcast and understood our goals.
Viewed small, the high contrast of a white wind turbine against a multi-colored background is high-contrast and bold. It’s easy to find in a podcatcher. Viewed big, however, you can find the hidden images in the background: a stormy sea, a ferry boat on fire, a Jotun giantess’ silhouette in the clouds.
Melhak is a Fiverr artist with a wide range of images in their portfolio. Prices for their work range from $40-$70. The detailed, positive reviews on her Fiverr profile show that she’s invested in detail and bold choices, definitely an excellent choice for podcasters.
Do It Yourself Options
If time isn’t a problem, and you’re interested in visual art, making your own podcast cover art is a good idea. The simplest route in this case is to try Canva. The free version of Canva has:
- Over 250,000+ free templates
- 100+ design types (social media posts, presentations, letters, and more)
- Hundreds of thousands of free photos and graphics
- Collaborate and comment in real-time
- 5GB of cloud storage
The Pro and Enterprise versions are better for people who will be making lots of images every week. Pro is $119 a year, and also gives you Magic Resize, meaning that you can resize images without loss of clarity.
The Gnu Image Manipulation Program, and its descendant, Glimpse, are open source image editing software. There are lots of tutorials on YouTube which can help you learn how to use them. If you have the time and patience, these are skills worth developing. This way, you can repurpose your podcast art into website assets, social media posts, and merchandise designs any time the mood strikes you.
Podcast Logos are More Artful Than at First Glance.
If you need graphics for your blog posts and show notes, take a look at our free graphics library. The more that you know how to do for your podcast, the more unique and personal it will be. There are loads of ways to make use of your podcast logo, beyond simply setting it as your cover art. For example, you might want to look into doing audiograms for your show, or running some advertising.
And we can help you to grow your show and stay on-track through The Podcast Host Academy. That's where you'll find our courses on things like promotion and monetisation, as well as our weekly live Q&A sessions. It'd be great to work with you in there!