Is podcast artwork the new CD album cover for designers?
Sometimes our logos can be an after thought when creating a podcast series, but in truth they should probably be something we take a little more seriously.
So how do you create a piece of artwork that will stand out from the crowd? How much will it cost? And does it really make a difference?
The snapshot above is the top 27 shows in the 'all categories' section of Apple Podcasts as of today. I'm pretty certain that all of those logos have had a professional sparkle to them.
It's not always essential to spend the big bucks on making a badass logo. Hell, my motto for new podcasters is just to get started and perfect all this stuff later.
But if you are finding that your series isn't getting the exposure you were hoping for, then giving your artwork a face lift could be one of the ways to vavavoom your visual presence alongside your category competitors.
My thinking is if we compare how we discover a podcast to a book on a shelf in a shop - then how likely are you to pick up a book you've never heard of and have a quick browse based upon the front cover? Therefore if you want to give your podcast series a standing chance of people even listening to the first 30 seconds, then recognise how your artwork, episode titles and episode description are key sales tools in convincing your listeners to take a punt and press play...
Play by the rules
Being creative definitely helps. But there are some rules you'll need to comply with when getting your show approved on Apple. Here's the standard requirements:
If you do commission a graphic designer to design your artwork make sure you send them these specifications in your brief, else you risk your series being rejected before it's even out in the big wide world.
So what else do you need to be asking a graphic designer? Fortunately I know a man who can...so I fired over a few questions to Gareth Price who's worked as a broadcast graphic designer for over 25 years. He's designed the ASFB Productions' logo and also one of our series The F**k It Moments podcast.
Uncovering the myths behind artwork and logo design
Clare: What information do you need a producer to provide in the brief?
Gareth: The producer needs to provide the designer with an overview of what the podcast is about, is it about a subject? or is it personality driven? and what the message is and the target audience. This is to help the designer design something that visually communicates the subject of the podcast.
How long does the process take?
Could take a few hours to 1 day - depending on the complexity of the design.
How do you know how much to charge?
Graphic designers charge around £250 - £350 a day. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far you can look at web based cheap options like Fiverr.com or Canva.com
Which work are you most proud of and why?
BBC at Glastonbury - the brand identity was rolled out across TV, podcasts, websites, red button - it was a simple triangle design.
How much room is there for creativity versus functionality for such a small square space?!
Here lies the challenge, as you will want to keep your text as big as possible. Don’t use too many words - keep these to a minimum and it’s not a good idea to use lots of fonts in a small space. If your podcasts are part of a brand you might want to keep your podcast artwork consistent so followers recognise your brand straight away. Avoid cliches - speakers, headphones.
Other than the square logo, what other visual stuff can a graphic designer help with?
Your branded podcast artwork could be part of a bigger brand identity which could be rolled out to your blog/website design and social media artwork.
Should we budget for stock shots and specialist fonts?
Depending on the brief you give the designer, if it has specific photography needs for example - your designer will be able to advise on additional costs.
What’s the biggest error people make when thinking of art work?
Too many words, or too many elements, strip it right back to the bare minimum.
What tips would you have for helping artwork stand out on a platform such as iTunes or BBC iPlayer?
Don’t look amateur. See what the competition is - browse subjects on iTunes and BBC iPlayer and see which podcast artwork got your attention - write down why it attracted your attention - was it the photograph? or the style of text?
For more about Gareth and to peek at some of his work, go see his website philandgarth.com
Clare Freeman is a podcast coach, producer and consultant to individuals and companies across the world. If you need a helping hand and 90 minutes one-on-one support to get started podcasting, book her time online here. For more about her podcast consultancy services, read here.