Creating Podcast Cover Art Using Photoshop and Canva

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Make Your Podcast Stand Out With Podcast Cover Art

Creating Podcast Cover Art

Podcasting is a growing medium. There is room for growth, and there is room for new shows. That doesn’t mean, there is no competition. Doing whatever you can to make your show look professional and stand out is very important in the growing, yet competitive field of podcasting. Having great cover art is a good way to make your show stand out and get noticed. I have already written about some of the best practices for creating podcast cover art.

Now it is time to put these concepts to the test. In this article, I will show two quick examples of creating podcast cover art using Adobe Photoshop and using a free web based program called Canva. These will be simple clear examples for a fictitious logging company podcast called Lumber Cast. Our goal is to make a 3000 x 3000 pixel .jpg or .png image that meets all of the iTunes image guidelines. We want it to capture the essence of our show, be clean and legible at any size, and use pleasing design concepts.

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Creating Podcast Cover Art in Photoshop

Podcast Cover Art Using Photoshop

If you don’t own Photoshop, there is a monthly subscription photography plan that includes Photoshop and Lightroom for a low monthly fee. The only caveat is that you are locked into a yearly contract. To get started we are going to open Photoshop and create a 3000 x 3000 pixel image.

  • File > New

  • Select 3000 pixels for the width and the height

  • The background can be transparent or white since we are going to fill it with an image

  • Click on OK

Now we need a background image. There are many free and paid stock photo websites. We are going to get our image from a site called Unsplash. This is a wonderful site with free high-resolution photos that we can do whatever we want with. I originally intended to use a close-up shot of evergreen trees, but I discovered a better shot as I was browsing.

In order to have the most leeway and the highest resolution, download the largest available file size to your computer. You can also manipulate the size of the image by making it a smart object. Meaning, I could just crop the image to 3000 x 3000 pixels and use it for the background, or I can make it a smart object. Which means it can be sized up or down. To make the image a smart object do the following.

  • File

  • Place embedded

  • Browse to the image

  • Place

  • Size it and move it around the background until it appears how you want it

  • To change the size of the image hold down the shift key and drag a corner outward

  • To move the image click the move tool in the top of the toolbar

  • Then drag the image until you have the desired placement

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Adding Text or a Logo

Lumber Cast Podcast Cover Art

If you have a logo with a transparent background, just add it to the image, and you have a nice cover. This is a new podcast, and we don’t have a logo, so we are just going to add some text. We want contrast and we are trying to keep it simple, so we will just use a light colored text that will look good against the green tree background.

The first thing we will do is create a new layer for the text. Layers are just parts of the image that can be stacked on top of each other.

  • Click on Layer > new > layer

  • Or click on the create new layers icon in the layers panel

  • Then click on the text tool

  • Type Lumber Cast

  • You can adjust the size and color of the type using the character panel

  • Double click the text layer - so that it will be active

  • With the text highlighted scroll through text options using the down arrow

  • We chose Bebas neue

  • Change the text size - we chose 120 pt

  • Click on the color swatch to change the color

  • Use the eyedropper and sample a color from the picture that goes well

  • We used a gradient sampled from the silver in the cup

  • To create a gradient click on the fx shortcut and click on gradient overlay and then adjust the colors or use a preset gradient​

Use the move tool to position the text. To save the image first save the .psd file. This will preserve the layers, so that they can be edited in the future. Then click file > save as again and save the file as a .jpg. This will make the cover ready to be uploaded in your Libsyn account or wherever you are hosting your podcast files. Change your image size to 200 x 200 pixels, just to make sure that the image looks good in a thumbnail, and you are ready to go.​

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Create a Cover Image Using Canva

Lumber Cast Podcast Cover Art Built with Canva

Now let’s create a cover image for Lumber Cast using Canva. This is a free online tool that has many preset options and makes design easy. They also offer tutorials that can benefit new and experienced designers. After logging in, I’m going to click on Create a design. There are an assortment of preset templates. Some are free and some have a small fee. They do offer a 1400 x 1400 pixel album cover, which meets the minimal iTunes requirements, but we are going to choose Use custom dimensions and make a 3000 x 3000 pixel image because size requirements tend to increase over time.

  • Use custom dimensions

  • 3000 x 3000 px

  • We found a free tree image and sized it to fill the space

  • We found a free text image and placed it on the image

  • We saved the file and downloaded it as a .jpg

  • It’s that easy!​

If you are not comfortable with design, you can still hire someone to create your podcast cover art. Knowledge is power. Whether you want to attempt it yourself or hire out, understanding the process will make it easier to get exactly what you want to take your podcast to the next level.