Photoshop Task – Podcast Covers

Design ideas and design process

Podcast cover research

For my Photoshop task, I decided to create three completely different podcast covers. My first idea focused on my office life and ‘The Everyday’ life of a designer. I wanted to the text to be bold against the background image so opted for a black and white photograph of a work colleague. From here I decided that yellow would pair nicely and stand out well against the photo so chose this for my font colour. After researching podcast covers, it became apparent that graphic illustrations are often used to accompany titles. This gave me the idea to add diagonal lines to create a platform for the text to protrude – I’d previously tried drop shadows and outer glow effects but didn’t feel as though they made enough of an impact. To the left, you’ll also see what it looked like without any kind of effects or extra graphics. I also thought that if for whatever reason, I decided to make a series of podcast covers, the lines could be a reoccurring theme throughout the covers.

Design before adding any graphic illustrations.
Original Base Image

For my second idea, I decided I wanted to go really out there and push myself to polish up skills and learn new ones. I’d previously played around with the double exposure technique but decided to step it up by using multiple images.

Firstly, I decided the topic of my podcast would be ‘Design in Gaming.’ I chose this as I’d previously attended a Gaming Festival so thought I’d use imagery I’d taken at the event. I chose the saluting figuring as my base image – this would be the outline for my multiple exposures. I started by using the polygonal lasso tool to cut around the edges of the figure – alternatively, I could have used the magnetic lasso tool. I then inverted my selection by using the shortcut command+shift+i and from here deleted the background. The exposure effect was then created by dragging a new image into the document; I then altered the opacity so I could position where I wanted it and once happy with the position selected command and clicked the saluting figures layer. By then selecting the other images layer and adding a vector mask it created a silhouette of the saluting figure.

Close up of all the different images within the base image.

From here, I was able to use the brush tool in the colour black to fade out sections of the top layer image – this allowed for detail from the original image to be seen. I chose the brush tool to remove sections out, rather than than the eraser because by using the brush in the colour white I’m able to add the faded sections back in. I then repeated this process with a variety of images and added a gradient fill across all layers to add the blue and green effect. I finished by altering the exposure, contrast, whites and blacks to make colours darker and more defined.

Gaming Podcast research

I opted for a simple grey background with paint splatters in the same colours as the gradient. I’d done some research into gaming podcasts and they often used dark backgrounds with pop colours so I thought this would relate nicely (see image on the right). I also wanted a simple font so it stood out against the complex imagery. Looking back, this is probably the thing I would experiment with more. I don’t think it relates well to the rest of the design and almost looks out of place. From my research, gaming podcasts often rely on bold text with minimal imagery – my design is quite the opposite and therefore if published could go one of two ways.

Photoshop Layers

For my final podcast design, since I’d previously focused on bold imagery, I thought I’d focus more on the text. I found this image on Unsplash and liked the idea of making use of the green space. I started by cutting around the girl and blanket and duplicated the layer (command+j). This was so I could layer the text in between the two image layers to create a tucked behind effect. The image on the left shows my layers and how I positioned them. On reflection, I think I should have used the stamp tool to remove the text from all over the book. This would have made the overall design look a little cleaner.

My final designs:

Final podcast cover 1
Final podcast cover 2
Final podcast cover 3

Software tutorials

The biggest challenge for the Photoshop project was brushing up on skills I haven’t used in a while, such as; double exposure and outlining text.

For my ‘Design in Gaming’ podcast cover, a lot of the skills and shortcuts I used I already had an understanding of. I’d also previously experimented with double exposures but not to the extent of using 8+ images. To recap and learn how to do this, I read the Adobe article ‘Use Adobe Photoshop to create a double exposure effect.’ It was really helpful and allowed me to refresh my memory – it also gave me the idea of adding a gradient map to my final image. I decided I wanted to also watch a more in-depth tutorial and came across ‘Double Exposures Effect – Photoshop Tutorial’ by Letsgettoit on Youtube. It was incredibly helpful to be able to see what layers were being selected and the shortcuts being used.

Even though it wasn’t a skill I used in my designs, I really enjoyed learning about how to expose photos beyond the base image on double exposures. This was demonstrated in the Youtube Photoshop tutorial I watched.

I’d really like to learn a faster way of doing everything, whether this is learning shortcuts or different tools that do the same thing, just in a faster fashion. I’d also be interested to learn more about photo blending and the ability to combine photos and blend them together seamlessly while matching the colour and tone.

I’m also curious about how to dodge and burn images – this is something I have absolutely no experience in. I know that the dodge and burn tool are used to lighten or darken areas of an image but apart from this, I have no idea when it would be appropriate to use them and how you would use them.

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Resources for research and inspiration

When we were first given this task, my initial reaction was to look at inspiration on Google and Pinterest. I created a board on Pinterest to highlight my favourite ideas, this mainly consisted of illustration based podcast covers as I struggled to find a variety of photography based covers. The reoccurring themes were bold fonts and graphics illustrations, with images of individual people cut out from their background and instead placed on a colour or pattern background.

On reflection, I definitely should have read articles on how to create a successful podcast cover and then matched my covers to represent my findings. Rather than looking at designs I liked and developing them into my own style and topic.

Since designing my covers, I’ve read the article ‘How to Make Great Podcast Cover Art (aka. Your Podcast Logo)’ by the Podcast Host – this is something I’d have benefit hugely from in my initial planning stages. They talk about how you should keep your artwork simple and as clean as possible as you want your podcast logo to be memorable. My ‘Design in Gaming’ cover definitely reflects the opposite of this, whilst it might have been a good idea for a postcard cover, I suspect viewers would struggle to make out with images within the saluting figure on their phone screens. I also sacrificed a larger title font size for the sake of my image – this again would have probably worked against me as some viewers may struggle with eligibility.

One thing I continually noticed in podcast covers was that san serifs were mainly used as titles – this could be due to san serifs being easier to read than serifs and that they also look better on screen. I made sure I only used san serifs, though I could have experimented more with colour and layout.

My Pinterest Board

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