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6 Tips on What Makes a Great Podcast Cover for Your Show #BSI 2

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In this episode, we’re going to take a look at six tips on what makes a great podcast cover for your show.

Keeping things simple in your design
Using a minimal quantity of words
Select easy to read fonts
Properly use images and icons
Be consistent with your image
Thinking about the future of your show

Keeping your designs simple

As we take a look at keeping your design simple, I want you to take a look at some of these designs that I have on screen.

Looking at some of these designs, I just took a screenshot of a list of different podcast cover artwork.

You can see that some of these are a little more complicated. They have multiple elements in them and others a little more simple, where they have a few words and one icon.

Let me start with the most simple one out here, which I would say is probably a good job brain cover art.

We have an orange background with the words “Good Job, Brain” and a little mustache icon right underneath.

I’d say this one is the simplest approach and it catches your attention and understands what’s happening very quickly. That’s why you want to keep your design very simple. The more complicated your design, the more your audience has to digest and figure out what’s going on behind the scene.

Sometimes, that’s not a bad thing, depending on what you’re trying to do. But in retrospect, it starts to be a little more clutter to the eyes. Think of this as having ten different colors to a room, instead if you have one color in a room one wall. All the other walls match, then it creates a form of simplicity.

But if every color, if every wall is different, you’re going to get that complexity in the design. Not to say that that’s always a bad thing depending on what you’re trying to do, but a majority of the time, it drains the energy of the audience.

As we look through some of these other designs here, we have WTF with Marc Marone. You can see that that one has a blue background with those words and then his face.

We also have another simple one with Bill Burr’s Monday morning podcast. It has an image, I would imagine of Bill Burr, black background there and the writing is on the lower left. Just a handful of words there.

We have another one that’s very simple. It just says foodstuff and you have a plate there with kind of a blueish starburst effect.

All of these, as you take a look, are very simple in their way. Some of them are a little more complicated like here is Ian C’s pod of Awesomeness where they have a few more going on in the background there. There are two heads instead of one head. Many podcasts have just one person in the face listed. I’ve seen some that have three or four or five heads in there, and that makes it a little more complicated.

Keeping things a little more simple will allow your audience just to digest exactly what it is and understand what’s going on.

Quantity of words

I have a few more examples as we take a look at the overall images.

You can see that some of them have a few words and others have many more words. Starting with the more complicated one going into more complexity. Again, we think of point number one, keeping things simple, as we talk about the number of words.

As we go into the number of words – the more words that you use, the more that your audience has to read.

The goal of the artwork is really that they click through to your podcast. The goal of the cover of a book is so that they buy the book, to read the book, and here the goal is that they click through to go in and listen or watch you.

As we look at “Couple co-working with your spouse for fun and profit,” you can see that one is wordier. I’m not saying that it’s terrible to have a little more words, but you want it very clean and clear to the point of what it’s about and easy to read.

That one has a little more words, and you can see what it is and what it’s about, but the audience does have to read a little bit more to understand what the podcast is all about. And by doing so, it just drains you a little more energetically.

If we look at another one here – “Online marketing made easy by Amy Porterfield,” which is a top-rated marketing podcast. This one has about four words plus the name. When you look at the four words, it’s easy to understand what the podcast is about.

Another one here is “Building a storied brand with Donald Miller,” this one has a little bit more words. You can see when you go from Amy Porterfield to Donald Miller’s cover, he has a little bit more words within his cover art but if you’re able to read it. It still may be okay as long as you’re not cluttering things with paragraphs, you should be just fine within your artwork.

Just understand that – the more words that you have, the more your audience has to try and read that. Sometimes, they may skip it unintentionally because it just seems like there’s too much to learn for the eyes. They move to another one where they just can understand precisely what it is by looking at the picture.

Keeping your quantity of words to a limit is helpful to give the audience a quick decision-making process.

Selecting easy to read fonts

When you look at creating your podcast, you want to make sure you have fonts that are very clean and crisp.

If you’re using cursive fonts, sometimes, they’re a little bit more challenging to read. Here we have the goal-digger podcast which is marketing social media creative entrepreneurship. There’s a lady with you know the address on there. When you have a goal right there, you may make a mistake – is it a goal or is it gold? Because the podcast overall the phrase gold digger is much more common than goal digger.

This is why it’s essential that you choose easy to read fonts because humans will make mistakes naturally. It’s just part of our human behavior that we’re trying to make things as comfortable as possible.

Take a look at some of these other fonts, most of the fonts that people use are very friendly and bold. They’re very crisp easy to read. A lot of times without many cursives, many effects or things like that, not a lot of grungy fonts, very simple to the point, easy and clean to read fonts are best. If you do plan to use some cursive font, typically make it one word at most. Often, instead of going with a cursive many people will choose to go with italic because it doesn’t obstruct the view of the artwork as much.

Make things with your font easy nice and big bold so that it’s easy to read.

Images and icons

As we look at a lot of these comedy podcasts here that I’ve created, you can see that there’s a lot of them have many different kinds of images. Some images are easy to read and easy to spot and others a little more complicated.

When you take a look at images, a catchy image will stand out much more because it’s catchy. For example, the first one that we have is kind of two shirtless guys, the dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds. They’re shirtless in a cartoony way.

Looking at the fonts – easy to read, very thick, it’s simple. It’s two guys right they’re having fun with guns, and you can see it’s catchy.

The next one we have is Tiger belly. Also simple. One word to word podcast. But when you look at the image, you have a little bit of a more prominent gentleman there who’s a little Asian, and then you also have a woman who is wearing a two-piece outfit who’s holding a sword. Again, it’s catchy but is it catching the right type of audience?

These are comedy-based podcasts so that they will be a little more catchy and a little bit more to the risky side.

As you start looking to add in icons and other images, take a look at for example the outside podcast in the lower right which we have headphones there in the cover image and that’s perfectly fine to use icons within your image but just remember that every podcast out there could use headphones as part of their image within their cover art. The question is, do you need that icon or logo that you’re thinking of putting in within your cover art? Because often what happens is you could use that space for something else.

Choose things that are a little bit more simple and to the point where people can just grasp precisely what it is. Going back to our point number one, keeping things simple.

Consistency

If you’re building out multiple podcasts, it’s good to be consistent in the design or layout of those podcasts. Dave Ramsey does this very well. As you can see, many of the fonts are very similar – blocky. They’re thick. A few are a little bit different. Maybe business boutique has a little more feminine touch. It has a bit more cursive, but overall it has a picture of a person. They have this geometric shape – where it’s a little more rectangular diagonal going through. Then, as you look at the website again, many of them are blueish tones except for maybe the leadership or the Chris Hogan podcast. They have a little bit of an orange color, but overall you see that they stick to the yellow tone.

EntrĂ© leadership is yellow. Dave Ramsey is yellow. And you have that upper-left logo that’s also yellow mixed in with the blue tones.

Keeping together that consistency is essential especially as you start growing things out in the future – from your website to your podcast cover because people can quickly recognize you through that simplicity.

Take a look at the future

You want to always think about the future of the podcast. What is it that you’re looking to develop and create within the show?

You probably won’t see many podcasts that discuss or talk about just Facebook. Instead, you might see a podcast that’s about social media and which point it covers maybe YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

If you create a podcast that’s all about Facebook, well that may not be around within five or ten years, and you may beg to argue but take a look at MySpace. There were many users and now it’s non-existent. I mean it’s still around, but you know the popularity of it has died down. Myspace evolved into Facebook, and that will evolve and continue.

It’s like looking things back in the day where initially IBM was developing large computers and then as they were developing these large computers they thought that they would also be the leader in personal computing but what happened there, well Microsoft Windows became kind of the leader.

As technology evolved, the dot-com started to boom. Who would lead the search engine world? They would assume Microsoft would it was prominent in the computer space, but it ended up being Google.

Social media came around. They would assume that Google would be the leader in social media, but it ended up being now more Facebook, Twitter.

We’re in this era and now what’s going to be the next stage? No one knows. So it’s important that as you look at your podcast along with your artwork that you don’t create it to the point where it limits you on future development and growth.

Creating and using icons and images that may be limited on their time using a Facebook logo which you shouldn’t because of copyright restrictions. Anyway, mentioning things in the name like that could define your podcast for future growth and development.

As you look to evolve and expand to the future, of course, you could change your artwork no problem because you know things can change very quickly, but remember you’re keeping a lot of things in check. As you go through the consistency of your brand and as your company evolves from your website to maybe business cards, if you’re still creating business cards and that may affect you.

Think about the long-term ahead, make it may be a little more generic but specific to what you’re doing. That way you can evolve things in the future.