First impressions can make or break you. Before hitting play on a podcast, a person browsing though a directory will see tons of small squares, filled with other podcast logos. It actually doesn't take much to convey what your podcast is all about while simultaneously encouraging listeners to hit play.
Images, Icons, and Titles on Podcast Covers
Your cover needs to be unique, so it stands out, and recognizable, so listeners can easily scroll through a directory and spot your cover. If you choose to use an image or icon, avoid the obvious ones, like a microphone or headphones. Every single podcast in this directory could use those images. What is your podcast all about?
If you travel all over the world to interview the best pizza chefs, how about using a slice of pizza or an airplane? Maybe you're really into aliens and discuss alien encounters -- a UFO might do the trick!
Can't find an image that really speaks volumes as to what your podcast is about? You can always choose to make your title your cover. You can dress it up with different fonts and colors.
Too plain for your tastes? Combine your title an an image or two.
Creating Your Cover
You can enlist the help of a trusted designer or firm which may cost more than you're hoping for at the start-up stage. Hey, quality work comes at a price!
You can try your hand at creating it yourself. Photoshop is not only my preferred method of designing and editing logos, covers, and text, but it is so widely-used by professionals and amateurs alike that it's become a noun. (Kind of like when people say they need a Kleenex, but they're using Puffs!) It is a superior design tool, but it is pricey. Check out Gimp for a free alternative.
Since most (if not all) directories show covers in a square format, you should definitely try to stick to a square cover. This eliminates awkward auto-cropping and distortion. We recommend that your cover be at LEAST 300 x 300 pixels.
Article image: Blake Connally via Unsplash.