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How to make decent podcast artwork

· By · 2.1 minutes to read

We’ve carried plenty of coverage about podcast artwork in the pages of Podnews. Here is some of the best.

First, make sure that your podcast image is your work, not someone else’s. Using someone else’s photographs or images will get you - or even us - into trouble.

Get the color-scheme right. Scientific research says that cold, dark colors are good for business-to-business, because they signify competence. Warm colors trigger emotions and work better to for more personal podcasts.

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Thumbnails must be JPEG or PNG format. Use JPEGs where you have photographs (should you?). Use PNGs where you have simpler artwork, like a logo.

Your podcast should be between 1400x1400 and 3000x3000 pixels, and must be square. Go for 3000x3000 if you can: it’ll look best on the most devices, especially 4K televisions and other high quality screens.

Make sure it works in small sizes. OnlyPod has a tool that shows you how it will display in different apps.

There used to be a requirement that podcast thumbnails should be below 500Kb. This is not a requirement any more; but it’s always a good idea to keep the filesize of your thumbnail as small as you can. Squoosh is a good free service to get your filesize as small as possible. If you’re using PNGs, try decreasing the palette (the number of colors) - chances are it’ll not change the look of your image but make it a lot smaller.

Don’t put other peoples’ logos on there. Avoid Apple Podcasts logos, or Spotify ones, etc. Don’t use the word “podcast” in your podcast artwork either. People already know it’s a podcast - they’re looking at it in a podcast app. (Apple Podcasts will reject your show if it uses Apple trademarks, incidentally - even earphones). And do you really have to have a picture of a microphone?

Don’t use explicit images, etc obviously.

Maybe consider using AI. Transistor has a guide to help you.

Consider alternative landscape sizes. Pacific Content highlights where some of these are used, and YouTube works well with a 16:9 image, which you can set using the media:thumbnails tag.

Read the research. There’s some good research from the Netherlands, which highlights when to use pictures of people, or when a publisher logo is more appropriate. The BBC has done some research, too. 18Sixty also gives advice, based on the shows they’ve produced; as has Christine Lieu, a branding specialist.

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