Podcast Logo vs. Cover Artwork: Understanding the Difference and When to Use Each.

One of the biggest confusions in the podcast branding space is the difference between a podcast logo and a podcast cover artwork. Many podcasters interchange these terms even though a logo and cover artwork are two different things.

A podcast logo, by definition, is a graphic representation of a show’s title, uniquely stylized and designed for easy recognition. In contrast, podcast cover artwork is a visual representation of a podcast’s subject and theme that interprets the overall brand and identity of the show. Cover artwork showcases the podcast’s title, which could be a logo but doesn’t have to be, and possibly a tagline and the host’s name.

In other words, a logo is when the name or title is stylized uniquely, and the cover artwork is an image containing visual banding and information about the show. If you can recognize a show by how the title is stylized, even when removed from the cover artwork, chances are it’s a logo.

All podcasts require cover artwork, but not all podcasts need a logo. Less than 15% of shows on Apple’s Top 200 podcasts chart have logos on their cover artwork.

How to tell the difference.

The easiest way to convey the distinction between a logo and a cover artwork is to examine the music industry.

The band KISS has a logo with a bold typeface, with the letters “S” shaped like lightning bolts. You probably recognize their logo even if you’re not a KISS fan. Since 1973, KISS has released 20 studio albums with unique cover artwork. The consistency between all of them is the KISS logo.

The popular country group Alabama also has a distinct, recognizable logo they use on all their cover artworks.

Nobody refers to the KISS or Alabama cover artwork as the album’s logo. That’s because the logo and cover artwork are two distinct things. The same goes for podcasts. The square image associated with each show is the podcast cover artwork, even if it consists solely of a logo. More on this later.

If the podcast has a logo, it typically appears as part of the podcast cover artwork.

Does your podcast need a logo?

As stated earlier, most podcasts don’t have logos or need one. In most cases, a show’s title can have fancy type treatment applied to help it stand out. But it isn’t considered a logo.

Examples of podcasts with fancy type treatment for their titles.

Examples of podcasts with fancy type treatment for their titles.

Whether or not you have a logo for your show is a personal preference. However, I strongly recommend you have a logo designed for your podcast if one of these two scenarios applies to you.

Your brand is more than just a podcast. For example, if you have a book, offer a course, or sell a product or a membership under the same name as your podcast, use a logo to unify your brand and make them easily recognizable across multiple platforms.

The second reason to have a logo designed for your show is if you plan on selling merchandise associated with the podcast. A distinct logo looks much better on items such as T-shirts, hats, mugs and other products than a square podcast cover artwork.

If neither of these scenarios applies, a logo for your podcast is optional.

Using a logo as your cover artwork.

Sometimes, a well-designed logo can stand alone as podcast cover artwork. In these cases, the logo appears alone on a white or coloured background, sometimes accompanied by the host’s or network’s name. The Joe Rogan Experience is a perfect example of a logo used as the podcast cover artwork.

Examples of podcast logos used as cover artwork.

However, although Joe Rogan’s cover artwork consists solely of his logo, it’s still referred to as his podcast cover artwork.

Whether or not you decide to have a logo for your podcast, please start referring to the two branding assets in their proper term. Podcast Logo when referring to the stylized representation of the show’s name. And Podcast Cover Artwork when referring to the square visual representation of the show’s overall brand.

Please contact me if you need help designing a logo or cover artwork for your podcast. I would love to help.

Do you need help with your podcast cover artwork?
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