It goes without saying that first appearances matter. The old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” only exists because it’s natural for us to judge others, books, magazines, movies, CDs, and even podcasts by their “cover.” As you plan your podcast, one goal you likely have is to reach as many listeners as you possibly can. Your cover art and intro music can help you reach these listeners by giving a great first impression that will draw them in. While artwork and intro alone cannot make your show great, they can, however, enhance or limit the success of your show in large ways.

When you are thinking about creating cover art and the intro and outro for your podcast, we recommend you take the extra time to make it as good as you possibly can with the resources you have. People will learn to recognize your podcast by your artwork and intro. The extra time and resources you put into creating these integral elements will pay off big in the long haul.

Podcast Cover Art Requirements:

Before going over tips for creating your cover art, here are the requirements that iTunes sets forth. These are non-negotiables and if you do not meet these requirements your show will not be accepted by Apple:

– Minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels, 72 dpi,

– JPEG or PNG format with appropriate file extensions (.jpg, .png)

– RGB colorspace

– To optimize images for mobile devices, Apple recommends compressing your image files

– Podcast artwork must be original

Additionally, your podcast cover art should not contain any of the following:

– Explicit language without setting the <explicit> tag to yes, explicit, or true

– Content that could be construed as racist, misogynist, or homophobic

– Explicit or self-censored explicit language in titles, subtitles, or descriptions

– References to illegal drugs, profanity, or violence

– Content depicting graphic sex, violence, gore, illegal drugs, or hate themes

– Third-party content or trademarks without legal authorization or usage rights

– The words Apple Music, iTunes Store, iTunes, or Apple Inc.

– iTunes Store logo, Apple logo, or the term Exclusive without prior authorization from Apple

– Any visual representation of iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or any other Apple hardware

– Pixelation, artifacts, high-contrast background art, blurry or hard crops, or other style issues

Tips for creating great podcast cover art:

1. Keep it simple: Your artwork should contain the name of your show and any relevant images or logos. Avoid the temptation to add extra words or flashy images that may not be needed.

2. Keep it relevant: Your artwork should reflect the theme or ethos of your show. Use contrasting colors that will help your show stick out and that reflect the emotion you hope your show will communicate.

3. Make it big: Be creative to make the title text fit but make it as large as possible. This American Life is an example of creatively making the title fit on their cover. Many of your potential listeners will be viewing your cover art on the small screen of their mobile device in iTunes, so you want your artwork to be legible and stand out at this small size.

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