Welcome to part two of PodBelly’s tutorial on creating your own podcast. Here we are going to be focusing on all the important details that surround creating a recognizable and effective brand for your podcast.
Creating a brand is an integral part of starting a podcast because your branding will likely be the first thing a potential listener will know about you. Before anyone ever listens to one of your episodes, they will first look at your podcast name, your logo and your primary cover art. In this section of the tutorial, we shift our focus to what you can do to create a brand that draws people in and compels them to give your podcast a try.
The first and most important part of your brand is going to be your logo. Your logo will be on your podcast icon, your merch, your social media profiles, etc. You will want to put your logo everywhere, in as many places as you can put it. Because of this, it is worth investing the time to make sure it is a quality logo that stands out. No lazy logo goes unnoticed—or worse, it does go unnoticed and people skim past it without giving your podcast a try . Your logo is what fans will picture in their heads when they hear the name of your podcast.
The first thing that we need to do when creating a logo is to understand what it is that makes a good logo. Here are some things that all good logos have in common.
- A good logo is unique and distinct.
You need something that is going to stand out from the rest as your own, something that will not be confused with another logo. It is best to come up with something original instead of trying to copy or parody something else. It must also be clearly recognizable at a glance, so that it is more likely to catch the eye.
- A good logo is appropriate.
Your logo should be designed so that fits into your cover art nicely (more about cover art later) and passes iTunes cover art guidelines (add link). Also, if your logo is more descriptive in its design, it should try to make sense alongside whatever topics your podcast covers. It would be strange to have a logo of a cat for a podcast that doesn’t have the word cat in its name and/or never mentions cats. Try to come up with something that makes sense with the overall content and vibe of your podcast.
- A good logo is simple.
Simplicity is strength. There are many reasons why something too complicated in design could hurt you in the long run. A good tactic is to picture how your logo would look if it was the size of a small coin. Another advantage to simplicity is that it makes the logo easier to remember. The more memorable your logo is, the more effective it will be. In a society that is constantly being bombarded with information, a logo that is too complex or has too much going on is likely to be ignored. People have become very adept at skimming past lengthy or overcomplicated pieces of information.
- A good logo is versatile.
Another crucial part of a good logo is versatility. A versatile logo is one that can exist on anything from gift bags to phone cases to laptop stickers to T-shirts. You need to design something that will work whether it is scaled up to the size of a billboard or down to the size of a pin on button. In order to do this most effectively, it is a good idea to have your logo designed in vector format so that the integrity of the image remains the same no matter how large or small. Finally, a versatile logo must work both in color and in black and white. In fact, an effective way to create a versatile and simple logo is to start by designing in black and white. With this method, you are forced to give attention to the most important features of the logo while discarding any excessive details that might overcomplicate or distract. Having the logo in black and white as well as color will allow you the liberty of choosing how to manage your printing budget. For example, you will pay less in printing costs on a one color logo as opposed to a multiple color logo on silkscreened t-shirts. While full color printing is usually priced reasonably on most paper items, there are items such as t-shirts and promotional items that still charge based on number of colors.
- A good logo is timeless.
The final important factor to consider when designing a logo is “Will this be good in the future?” Many people fall into the trap of creating a logo that has some feature that holds it back from being timeless. To create something timeless, try to avoid focusing on pop culture and focus more on your own creativity.
Now that we have examined what makes a good logo, let’s look at the actual designing process. You may be asking yourself at this point “What is vector format?” If you are not already experienced in graphic design and don’t know what vector formatting is, you are probably going to want to get a graphic designer to help you create your logo.
Graphic designers are professionals at this sort of thing, and because graphic design is one of the fastest growing industries around, you will likely have no problem finding someone who can do the work for you. We strongly recommend this option because while you may have to break open your piggy bank to afford one, hiring a professional graphic designer will be the way to get the best logo the first time around.
With everything said, remember that a logo is not supposed to be an overly detailed graphical representation, but more of a simplified graphic that people will associate with your podcast. When in doubt, keep it simple. Whatever you choose for your logo, if you follow the guidelines we have laid out for you and add a bit of your own creativity, it’s likely that you will end up with something good.
Another way that you can put your brand forward to your audience is through the use of cover art. There are basically two types of cover art: your primary cover art used for your social media and podcast channels and cover art for your episodes.
- Primary Cover Art
Primary cover art should be used for all your social media profile pictures. For most social media platforms and podcast hosting providers, the format is square. The artwork should contain your logo, whether it be the logo by itself or your logo with supporting imagery. Keep it consistent across all platforms so your podcast is easily identifiable no matter where you are found. Also, try to keep your cover art simple as it should easily recognizable on something as small as a business card or as large as a billboard.
- Episode Cover Art
Episode cover art should used for all your episode listings. It can be your primary cover art, used for all episodes to add more logo brand awareness, or unique cover art to add imagery that represents the topic discussed. If you choose to create unique art for each episode, take the opportunity to brand that cover art with your logo or podcast name. Also, be careful not infringe on image copyrights. Just because you can find and download on Google image search does not mean you have the right to use it legally without permission. Stick with copyright free imagery or get permission from the respective copyright owners.