The Sound Barrier: Does Cover Art Matter?

Podcasts, an audio-based medium, are a vehicle for any number of carefully concocted stories be it fiction or non-fiction that has become one of the more popular ways for anyone to indulge in their creative freedom. After all, podcasts don’t have the financial needs of video games, films, or stage plays, where things like graphics, costuming, lighting, and really bad hair would usually be a distraction. This leaves the area of critique for audio based entertainment to be a bit sparse, but only at first glance. To assess sound is to assess the very nature of speech and now aspects such as equipment quality, voice acting, audio mixing and engineering and whether people remembered to turn the AC off or lock their cat out of the bedroom are one of many things to consider in the realm of the average podcast editorial. An audio drama, for instance, will also be assessed by their story, their characters, their world building, and narrative stakes that must all be conveyed through sound.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://blog.simplecast.com/the-sound-barrier-does-podcast-cover-art-matter/
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@supporters, this is a great discussion of cover art!

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Hi Craig…! this is, indeed, a great discussion… my personal take, however, is that there is WAAAY TOOO MUCH visual overwhelm in this concept which escapes all critique… what are we to do as podcasters without a corporate budget…??? on the one hand, SIMPLE artwork can be pretty bland and boring… while super-powered profi-imagery can be cool, interesting and eye-catching, but lead to immediate eye-fatigue… reading through this article after a day of serious work is already brain fatiguing enough… (I recently read about the chemical nature of brain-fatigue being due to an accumulation of glutamate — just as muscle fatigue is due to accumulation of lactate) looking at them all in a conglomerate always leads ME to a WTF-AM-I-LOOKING-AT??? eye-brain fatigue… if people really do judge a podcast by its cover art, I think nobody would ever be able to confidently pull the trigger on listening to ANYTHING… (notice the im-potent visual power of my ALL CAPS rant)… anyway, thanks for asking the question…

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You make an important point about fatigue. My biggest downfall—not just in podcasting—is pushing on beyond when I should stop. Brain fatigue as you put it.

I don’t think there’s anything special about pod art though, re brain fatigue. I simply try to not over think my pod art.

And I agree that we make a mistake when we try to create, and evaluate, our pod art out of its context. A wall of pod art (how does mine look in this sea?) is not how our pod art gets seen. My tests for my pod art are just basic branding things… does it look like the brand (eg PodComm has a certain shade of yellow as part of its brand, so the pod art uses that heavily) and when I scroll (like a podsumer would) after searching for my show name, can I find “the right thing”.

Hey also: aways great to hear from you! I’m waay freakin’ behind on The Hansel and Gretel Code. :frowning:

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It’s always a pleasure to connect with you, Craig… and I’d be really interested in knowing what other podcasters think about cover art… the H&G Code has already gone through a few iterations of cover art and who knows what the best sort of cover might be (without investing in the services and opinions of some hot profi graphic artist)… anyway, as long as the audio / story resonates with more than 2 people, I’m satisfied - even if it might take years before the podcast gains any traction out there in the pod ethers…

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