When it comes to streaming platforms like Spotify, it’s easy to think that the only thing that could ever matter is the music, and maybe the titles. People are there for the music, and if they’re walking around listening through the app with their phones in their pockets, how much could visuals really matter?
This isn’t a mistake that you want to make, however, as Spotify playlist and album covers can actually play a big part in what users choose to listen to. If you want to get more clicks on and listens to your playlist, you’re going to want to choose a strong playlist cover photo.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at how to create a high-performing Spotify playlist cover that will attract user attention, including looking at the best Spotify playlist cover size and specific best design practices.
Why the Cover of Your Spotify Playlist Matters
If you’ve created a playlist and have made it public, there’s a decent chance that you want other people to hear it. This is particularly true if you’re trying to market either your own content (including music and podcasts) or are trying to get more eyes on a client’s content or make a name for yourself in the industry.
Your cover plays an important role when it comes to driving clicks. It helps your playlist stand out in search, and can even solidify the mood that you’re going for.
In the example above, you can see how certain playlist covers automatically jump out at you more than others. This can have a massive impact on whether or not you can stand out in search and sucessfully increase your reach and listens. If you want people to listen, quality, well-optimized covers are a must-have.
The Best Spotify Playlist Cover Size
A great playlist cover on Spotify starts with having all of the technical requirements in line!
The best Spotify playlist cover size is 300 x 300 pixels, which is a 1:1 ratio.
You need to keep your file size at or under 4MB, which is the max file size accepted. JPG files are the only file type accepted for images.
Spotify Playlist Cover Maker
If you’re not familiar with Photoshop or any of the other complicated graphic design tools, you can use Snappa to create a great-looking Spotify playlist cover in a few simple steps. Here’s a full detailed video tutorial we made on it!
Spotify Playlist Cover Images: What You Can’t Use
Before we dive deep into best practices, it’s important to highlight what you shouldn’t ever use for your cover image of albums, podcasts, and playlists on Spotify.
Spotify has clear restrictions, forbidding users from uploading cover photos that include the following:
- Content infringing on copyright, trademarks, or personal images. You can’t screenshot a picture of your favorite workout influencer on Instagram and just add it to a playlist cover; that’s protected by copyright law. Similarly, you can’t use an image of 50 Cent to promote your playlist.
- Overly violent content. Showing two people at opposite ends of a boxing ring is okay; having a cover photo where one person’s tooth is getting knocked out by another should probably be skipped.
- Bullying or harrassing content, or images featuring symbols of hate. This one is self-explanatory. Be a decent human being.
- Nudity, pornography, or explicit content. The content will be banned, and child pornography (and anyone downloading it) will be reported to law enforcement immediately by Spotify.
Fortunately, these are pretty narrow guidelines. The biggest ones that most brands will have to watch for is the copyright infringement restriction, which some small businesses and content creators accidentally violate without realizing it. You can learn more about what you can and can’t use in terms of copyright law here.
4 Spotify Playlist Cover Image Tips
When you’re browsing playlists on Spotify, you’ll notice a large number of different cover styles and formats. There is an enormous amount of room for creativity, but keeping a few best practices in mind can help you create a stronger cover image that your audience will notice.
1. Use Color Contrast to Your Advantage
Contrasting colors should be a go-to design trick for Spotify playlist cover photos. Playlist covers are so small even on desktop that they need to be exceptionally easy to register, even at a quick glance. Contrasting colors help your text and any core visual elements stand out immediately, along with helping your image overall jump out in the search results pages.
Our eyes are trained to lock in on contrasting colors, so it’s an outstanding attention-grabbing tactic. This is why you’ll notice that every single Spotify playlist cover we show in this post uses contrasting colors; it’s a must-have design strategy when the images are this small.
2. Add Text to Establish Context
Plenty of playlist covers only have an image or high-quality photograph on its own. It’s best, however, if you can add text to explain what the playlist has to offer. Remember that people are attracted by the cover images, so if someone else’s describes a fascinating playlist and yours only has an image, you know who will get the click.
Text should be simple, and really explain what the album is about. Think “rap songs for workouts” or “top podcasts for real estate agents.” It’s quick and easy, and using a drag-and-drop design tool like Snappa makes it simple to add snippets of text to add valuable context with just a few clicks.
3. Include Branding On the Image
If you’re creating playlists with the goal of promoting your business in some way, you want to make sure that they’re properly branded so you get the credit for the hard work!
A great example of how to do this can be seen in the playlist below from Nike Women. It has the well-known brand logo in the top corner, and it features “NIKEWOMEN” under the playlist title (“Running Tempo Mix”).
Branding can be subtle, but it should still be there.
4. Opt for Simple, Easy-to-Scan Images
When you’re looking at 300 x 300 images, you need to make sure they’re clean and easy to make out. Detailed images or those with too-small figures will often be overlooked. Sticking to simple designs and color schemes (always using those contrasting colors though!) is a good plan.
Your Spotify playlist cover can absolutely impact the number of clicks it receives, so you want to take the time and effort to create strong, interesting images. If you don’t, you’re practically handing your competition the listener’s attention on a silver platter.
Fortunately, creating interesting covers for playlists on Spotify is easy with our drag-and-drop graphic design software. Choose a template, and either upload an image or select one from one of your hundreds of copyright-free stock photos, adding logos and text as needed. You try the software for yourself here.
What do you think? What best practices do you use for Spotify cover playlists? Which design techniques attract the most clicks on your playlists? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!