5 tips for creating the perfect podcast cover art

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So you’ve decided to create a podcast. Now you’re probably thinking a lot about scripts and microphones. And while podcasts are primarily an audio medium, they do require one essential visual element: cover art.

This little square image may be tiny, but its significance in representing your podcast is huge, so it’s worth putting in some extra time and effort to get it right. While you don’t have to be a graphic designer to create effective cover art, it can help to think like one. That means analyzing your podcast’s essence (subject matter, tone, target audience, and differentiators) before you even get started with the design process. Once you’re ready to put pen to paper (or, more likely, mouse to Adobe Spark), it’s time to get nerdy about things like fonts, colors, and white space.

There’s a lot to think about, but we’re here to guide you through creating your own podcast cover art.

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What is podcast cover art and why is it important?

Podcast cover art is the little square image that appears next to a podcast’s title. Think of it as the album cover for your podcast. When potential listeners go browsing for a new podcast, the cover art is what they see first.

To that end, your cover art will ideally stick in your listeners’ minds — it’s your podcast’s visual identity. Think about great album covers, like The Beatles’ “Abbey Road,” with that iconic photo of the Fab Four strolling on a crosswalk. It’s the first thing many people remember about that album, even though it’s chock-full of some of the band’s most famous songs. Your podcast cover art should make a similar impression on people, springing to mind whenever somewhen mentions your podcast’s name. So creating a memorable cover is critical.

Before you get started

Whether you choose to create your own podcast cover art or have it professionally designed, here are a few questions to ask yourself that will inform the design process:

  • What type of podcast is this? Is your podcast about news? Fitness? True crime? The cover art should reflect the not only the type of podcast, but also its subject matter and tone. An uplifting wellness podcast might use a bright color palette, for instance, while a true crime podcast’s cover art might be more dark and moody. Fonts matter too. Serif fonts (like Times New Roman and Georgia) tend to have a more sophisticated, professional feel. If your podcast is comedic, you can be more playful with your design elements, going for casual-looking fonts and loud colors. Whatever your podcast is, potential listeners should be able to get a sense of what it’s all about right off the bat just by looking at your cover art.
  • What does the target audience look like? Do they skew toward a particular age group or gender? Do they live in cities or rural areas? Are they experts or beginners on your topic? Once you have an idea of your target audience, consider what kind of cover art might attract them to click on your podcast. For instance, while the idea that women always gravitate toward the color pink is outdated, there is some data that suggests that men may respond better to darker tones while women more often prefer softer colors.
  • Why should people want to listen? If there’s something special about your podcast you think will be especially exciting for potential listeners, find a way to advertise that in your cover art. For instance, podcasts with celebrity hosts, including Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard and Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, often use an image of that person’s face. If your podcast isn’t primarily focused on the personality of the host, choose a style or relevant image that reflects what it’s about. If it’s a show about famous trials, maybe the art incorporates a likeness of Lady Justice. If it’s a show about nature, wildlife imagery makes sense. And don’t be afraid to make it specific — art for a podcast about women in film should capture the idea of both (you guessed it) women and film.

5 tips to make captivating cover art

You don’t necessarily need to be a graphic designer or have the fanciest design tools to create high-quality podcast art. As you create your design, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Make sure it works at a tiny size

When you’re designing your cover art on a desktop or laptop computer, you might feel the urge to let it fill most of your screen, so you can see what you’re doing. While it’s a good idea to save your cover art at 3000 x 3000 pixels to meet podcast directory requirements, keep in mind that almost everyone but you will be viewing it at a much smaller size. On most phones, apps like Spotify display podcast cover art at around six square centimeters, but even that is just while you’re listening to it. Oftentimes when potential listeners are browsing in their podcast directory, cover art is scaled down to three square centimeters or even as small as one square centimeter. This means people will likely first discover your podcast — and podcast art — when it’s at its smallest. Scale your cover image down, way way down, to check how it looks when it’s tiny.

Don’t overcrowd your art

In the case of podcast cover art designs, simplicity is more than just a minimalist style choice — it’s a necessity. Because your cover art will be so small in most contexts, it’s easy to overcrowd it. While fun fonts, slogans, logos, photos, and other design elements can be effective in certain cases, using too much stuff at once can quickly make a mess in that limited space. Be very selective about which elements you include. You might need only one thing, like a simple but eye-catching graphic, to do the trick. Likewise, a combination of two carefully coordinated pieces (e.g. a title plus a logo) is often enough to get your point across. More than that and you risk a messy, jumbled cover art soup.

Choose fonts carefully

With limited space to get your message across, each element has a lot of work to do. In some cases, a podcast title with great typography can be an effective cover art design all on its own. Many popular podcasts including The Daily, This American Life, and The Take by Al Jazeera use text as their primary design element. Even if you don’t want your art to be quite that simple, try to limit yourself to two fonts maximum (a serif and sans serif can complement one another well). Most importantly, make sure your fonts are easily legible and check that you can read them when your art is scaled down to a small size.

Use color to your advantage

Like type, color plays heavily into conveying the message and mood of a design. Consider temperature: Does your podcast match the energy of warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows) or are calming, cool colors (blues, greens, purples) more fitting? Experiment with different combinations, because the right colors can make your fonts, logos, and other design elements pop. Used judiciously, contrasting colors can be eye-catching. On the other hand, remember that some white space can also go a long way.

Consider adaptability

Whether your podcast is a part of a bigger brand, you hope to one day sell merchandise, or you just want to create a social media page for your podcast, consider how your art might be repurposed across different mediums and channels. If you’ve created a logo or graphic for your podcast, printing it on shirts, stickers, or mugs can be an easy way to augment advertising sales once you’ve grown a fan base. Likewise, you can use the same fonts and colors from your cover art on your social media pages, website, or business cards. If you’re just getting started, keep in mind that the design choices you make for cover art can serve as the foundation for further podcast brand building.

Podcast directory requirements for cover art

In most cases, the best way to reach potential listeners is to upload your work to at least one of the most popular podcasts platforms (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and — to a lesser extent — Google Podcasts). When you create your podcast cover art, make sure you meet the specifications for each podcast directory you plan to use. Fortunately, most platforms have similar requirements, so if you create a square 3000 x 3000 pixel JPEG or PNG image of your art, you’ll probably only need one copy. Read on for detailed specifications for each of the top three platforms.


An app with more than 180 million premium subscribers worldwide and 32.5 million monthly podcast listeners, Spotify is the most popular podcast directory out there. Here are Spotify’s cover art requirements:

  • File type: TIFF, PNG, or JPEG format using lossless encoding
  • Resolution: The highest resolution available
  • Size: At least 640 x 640 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Color: Encoded with an sRGB color space, 24 bits per pixel, with color profiles applied directly

Apple Podcasts

Coming in at a close second, Apple gets 28.5 million podcast listeners per month. Apple’s cover art requirements include the following:

  • File type: JPEG or PNG
  • Size: 1400 x 1400 pixels to 3000 x 3000 pixels; the largest size is preferred
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1

Google Podcasts

Lagging well behind Spotify and Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts accounts for roughly 3% of all podcast downloads. While it captures a relatively small portion of the market, the app hit 100 million downloads in 2021. Google Podcasts only requirement is that you provide a valid, crawlable (meaning it’s discoverable by search engines) image. If your cover art meets Spotify’s and Apple Podcasts’ requirements, it should work for Google Podcasts too.

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