Why Your Podcast Artwork Sucks | How to Level up Your Brand Image

I’m so tired of seeing bland podcast artwork. You should be too. Let me tell you why:

The problem with boring podcast artwork 

Picture this – you’re looking for a new podcast to listen to in your favorite genre: food. You type “food podcasts” into the search bar, only to be met with a list of hundreds of food-based shows. How do you decide which one to listen to? Chances are you choose a podcast based on the cover art. 

As a seasoned podcasting pro, I can tell you that nothing is more disappointing than a food podcast (or any podcast for that matter) with a boring thumbnail. Do better, creatives. 

Look, if you’re creative enough to host a podcast and come up with content for each episode, you’re creative enough to have an eye-catching podcast cover image. 

When it comes to choosing your podcast’s cover image, it’s important to stay on theme throughout all of the branding, including color choice, font, social media posts, tonality, and episode structure. All of these key elements go hand-in-hand for making a cohesive podcast brand, which is exactly what you, as a host, should strive for. 

A cover image that lures in listeners is key to racking up downloads. Unfortunately, all too many podcasters leave this until the very last step, not giving much thought to how their podcast will be presented at a glance. Since a show’s artwork is the first point of contact between a podcast and potential listeners, it’s crucial that the thumbnail image is not only eye-catching, but represents your brand as a whole and tells your story. 

Your podcast could have the best content ever, but could remain undiscovered due to a lackluster thumbnail. Boring thumbnails feel uninspired and as such, communicate that the podcast content might be just as uninspired. On the flip side, a podcast could have the best, most fitting artwork ever, but the content could be lacking in quality

Not only should podcast content be good – it should look good. 

What makes an effective podcast thumbnail

As mentioned above, cover art is more often than not, the first point of contact between a podcast and a potential listener. So, what makes an effective podcast thumbnail? It’s more than just color choice and composition, but don’t worry, this isn’t rocket science. 

Creating eye-catching and memorable cover art is all about telling a story. This is the perfect opportunity to tell potential listeners what your podcast brand is all about simply through the use of font, colors, and imagery. 

When creating cover art, fonts play a major role in contributing to the overall readability and aesthetic of the image. Fonts convey the meaning of the brand whether it be traditional, spunky, minimalistic, scholarly, contemporary, or even eerie. Choosing a font to match the tone of your brand is an easy way to quickly display the tone. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s readable! Listeners don’t have the time to hold their faces close to the screen to see a font that’s too small and squished together. 

The colors used in your branding should be reflected in your podcast cover art. If you have a company and are using a podcast to market your offerings, you should use your brand logo in the image to connect the show back to your business. If your podcast is a personal project, use colors that reflect the tone you want to convey to the audience. Bright colors are warm and happy, and are paired well with high-energy content. Cool tones often evoke feelings of calmness and relaxation, and are paired well with meditation-type content. This doesn’t mean that certain colors absolutely can’t be used if you’re trying to achieve a specific tone. All it means is that playing around with your use of color and identifying the few that really resonate with your overall brand image, will go a long way in establishing your podcast identity. 

Imagery is arguably the most important aspect of creating podcast cover art because there are endless possibilities for what can be used. Some choose to use only their logo, while others choose photographs or digital art. Icons and symbols are also widely used as podcast cover art as they are familiar, simple, and memorable. The goal, regardless of image choice, is to be memorable. Standing out from the other podcasts in your category is a sure-fire way to attract listeners. 

Additionally, make sure the image fits the theme of your podcast. I’ve seen far too many podcast covers that just don’t make any sense in relation to the actual content. For example, a hiking boot does not belong on the cover of a podcast about cheese. You’ll confuse your audience! Unless that’s what you’re going for, please don’t do this. Be intentional with your art choices and crowd test it with some people to see what your image evokes when they see it. 

How to level up your podcast brand image

There are many resources online for creating cover art. There are some popular sites where designers create logos and art for a cheap cost, but they often don’t get to know the brand on a personal level and unfortunately, this lack of connection translates into their work. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating your cover art. 

Here at LPM, we work with a very talented team of designers to create the perfect image for each of our clients. We get to know our clients very well, we understand what they wish to achieve with their podcast, and we produce cover art that reflects their mission, thoughtfully using color and imagery to do so. 

You can absolutely hire your own designer to create cover art, but if you’re looking for something more affordable, there are ways to create it yourself. For example, many use Procreate to make digital artwork, which can then be formatted into a podcast thumbnail. If you have an iPad, this is a fantastic option, especially if you have an eye for art. 

Canva is another great option for creating cover images as you can upload your own photos, create texts, and customize colors to match your branding. Plus, the free version of Canva is extremely versatile and easy to use. If you need help, tutorials on YouTube are just a click away.

Time to start creating  

I promise that if you can create a podcast, you have it in you to create a cover image, even if it means teaming up with a designer to get there. It’s time to stop slacking and start creating!