Like books, we tend to make a split second decision on a podcast by its cover. With so many podcasts available, getting someone to press play is a challenge. Your cover art plays a critical factor in guiding this choice.... don't skimp on it.
According to Apple:“Artwork can help build an audience for your content and illustrate the central idea behind the podcast. Be sure podcast artwork is high quality and as clean and appealing as possible. Simplicity is key. If the image is complicated, it might be difficult for users to understand what the podcast is about. Some of the best images rely on no more than a simple picture and a few words against a plain background.”
Artwork is also a key factor in whether or not Apple will consider featuring the podcast in the coveted New and Noteworthy section. In a list of features podcasts should have in order to be selected, Apple includes: “Attractive, original artwork that does not include Apple-branded content.”
In a split second, listeners decide what they'll listen to often based solely on who has attractive or unattractive images. Making it eye-catching is key. Consider artwork with bold contrasting colours and use images that convey what the podcast is about. Simplicity is key. If the image is complex, listeners may not understand what the show's about. Cliche images like headphones and microphones should not be used. A useful article to read is here.
Podcasts available for download on iTunes (the most popular podcast directory) need to follow Apple’s artwork requirements. Podcast art must meet the following specs:
Must be between 1400 x 1400 pixels and 3000 x 3000 pixels at 72 DPI
RGB colour space (not grayscale, CMYK, 8-bit indexed, or transparent)
JPEG or PNG file format (JPEG is preferred)
Lightweight - compress your cover art to under 1mb
Cover art needs to be able to scale down so please keep in mind the design and legibility in much smaller versions, E.g. 125 by 125 pixels, or 55 x 55 pixels. Most people will see it on mobile, so always think mobile first.
Don’t use more than 2 fonts. The artwork’s text needs to be legible, even at the tiniest dimensions, and the easiest way to do that is to use the right font. Serif fonts (with “feet”), like Times New Roman, Garamond, or Bodoni, often have thin lines and small details that get lost or blurred at small sizes. Script fonts can be too ornate to be legible unless they’re really big (and never put a script font in all-caps!). Sans serif fonts (“without feet”), like Arial, Myriad Pro, or Futura, work really well with thick or uniform-thickness lines, clear characters, and strong contrasts from the background.
Big, legible text is key so make the text as big as possible. This could mean having one word per line. Importantly text the font is legible at smaller sizes like 125 x 125 or 55 x 55. Character spacing may help make it more legible.