Tag Archives: cover art

Rock Your Podcast Art, Part 2: 5 Design Principles To Help You Create Standout Cover Images

There are a lot of great podcasts out there – but unfortunately, they are often accompanied by ineffective or poorly-designed cover art that doesn’t do the show justice when potential listeners scroll past. The good news? If you follow a few basic principles, you can elevate your show to stand out in a crowd. Last week we shared 5 tech tips you need to know to create great podcast cover art. In today’s post we’re covering design principles with Blubrry Creative Director Brian Yuhnke.

5 Design Principles To Help Your Podcast Art Stand Out

  1. Use Color Wisely: Color is definitely subjective: the palette you love may not be another podcaster’s cup of tea. But color offers a huge opportunity to make your podcast stand out, and you will be on the right track if you follow two basic guidelines: go for an eye-catching color scheme, but limit the number of colors you use. “Three, maybe five colors, tops,” recommends Yuhnke. “Sitting next to something that’s black and white or uses way too many colors, yours will shine as simple and elegant.” But consider your brand identity, too: “If you have a strong, identifiable logo, you can sacrifice color and even some layout and your art will still work. But if your logo is terrible or nonexistent, then you better be doing some other things to bring out your brand and make your album art stand out.”
  2. Avoid Cliches: Unless your podcast is actually about podcasting, does a mic in the cover art make sense? It’s hard to make your podcast stand out when it’s advertised with over-used imagery, Yuhnke points out, and the ubiquitous microphone can look downright tired. Scan through podcast directories and see which kinds of images consistently come up. Portraits, cartoons, and RSS icons also stand out to Yuhnke as over-used. Bottom line: make sure any imagery you’re using in your cover art is unique and has a clear tie to your podcast’s topic and theme.
  3. Use Grid-Based Design: By creating a grid and designing over it, you can avoid amateur designer mistakes like elements that don’t quite line up properly and create a more visually-pleasing end product, says Yuhnke. But don’t worry about keeping everything too linear: “Not every element has to line up with the same X and Y lines,” he points out. “You can have two elements lining up to one another while three others are lining up on a separate axis.”

To demonstrate, Yuhnke took a quick stab at this podcast’s cover art. The first image was created without the use of a grid, and the second just took a few minutes to fix and line up more properly on a grid.

Created without a grid
The same logo, created on a grid
Created on a grid

Can you see the difference?

4. Use The Rule of Thirds: This is an extension of grid-based design and an idea that has its roots in video and photography. By placing text and other interesting or important elements within the focal point of your art, the overall composition becomes more interesting, says Yuhnke.

5. Make Sure It’s Readable: Many would-be listeners are scrolling through directories on small screens with teeny-tiny icons. Can they even see your cover art well enough to tell what your show is about? “Many times your cover art appears on a small screen next to 10, 20, or 50 other shows,” explains Yunke, “A listener needs to be able to take one click glance at the art and get a sense of what your show is about.” The real test? “Shrink your art down to 90px by 90px. If you can still comprehend the art at that size, then that’s a huge step in the right direction.” This is one area in which your choice of font will make a big difference. “With fonts, keep it simple: use one or maybe two fonts in your album art, and make sure the text is readable, especially at a small size.”

Which of these design principles could you put into effect right away to improve your podcast cover art?


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New iTunes Podcast Directory Recommendations: What Podcasters Need To Know Now

The higher your podcast ranks in iTunes, the easier it is to grow your audience – so it’s crucial to keep up on and follow their recommendations.

This month, iTunes made a number of changes to the iTunes Store podcast directory that could have a direct impact on the success of your podcast.

Here’s what you need to know (and do) to comply with the new iTunes Podcast
Directory Recommendations:

iTunes Podcast Image Recommendation Change

Apple now recommends using a 3000 x 3000 pixel JPG or PNG in the RGB color space in a compressed format. Saving your image as a JPG with your favorite image editing software should automatically compress your image to optimize for mobile devices.

If you are saving your image as a PNG, please be aware that your image must be saved in the RGB color space. If the image is saved as a CMYK color space (used for printing), it will not be accepted by iTunes. (See our guide to logos, branding and theme for more information on color spaces and other crucial things to keep in mind while designing your cover art.)

The minimum size of 1400 x 1400 may continue to be used and will look acceptable on a tablet or phone – but while it’s not an urgent change, the larger 3000 x 3000 size will look best when viewed in the Apple TV podcasts app.New iTunes Podcast Directory Recommendations February 2016

iTunes Podcast Explicit Setting Change

Apple has changed the iTunes explicit setting. You must now select “clean” or “explicit” – the ‘no’ option is no longer available.

The “explicit” setting previously allowed for a 3rd option referred to as “no” (also referred to as “none” by some services). Nothing was displayed next to your podcast on iTunes if neither “clean” or “explicit” were set. With this change, there is no longer a neutral option.

If you don’t set your podcast as either “clean” or “explicit,” it appears that Apple will now make that determination for you. To guarantee that your content is marked correctly, please update your explicit setting as soon as possible.

The explicit setting is available both at the program/show level as well as the episode level. If all of your episodes are explicit or clean, you will only need to set this attribute at the program/show level.

We are still waiting on a response from Apple staff how to handle the situation with mixed explicit and clean episodes. We assume the previous behavior still applies:

  • If your program is marked “explicit,” then all episodes within that show are also considered explicit. A “clean” episode for an explicit show/program is not applicable.
  • If your program is marked “clean,” then all episodes are considered clean unless otherwise marked explicit.

The explicit setting is very important to maximize your distribution on iTunes. Some territories and countries such as India do not allow explicit content.

iTunes does enforce its explicit settings. Do not assume you can mark content as clean even though it includes explicit content – many podcasters have learned the hard way that mis-labeling your show will lead to being removed from the iTunes podcast directory.

Managing Podcast Submissions to iTunes has Changed

Podcast submissions to the iTunes podcast directory are now managed by the new Podcast Connect website. The new website allows you to submit new podcasts, as well as refresh, hide and delete your current podcast listings.

iTunes Podcast Connect

In February, 2011 Apple dropped the update listing protocol, leaving podcasters with no way to refresh their podcast listings on iTunes. The new Podcast Connect website includes a Refresh Feed option, we applaud and appreciate the addition.

Check back here at the PowerPress Podcast blog weekly for important updates and information that can help you improve your podcast’s chances for success!

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