If you're a fan or a new listener of podcasts on the Visual Audio Times network, you must have noticed the eye-catching podcast artworks. The person responsible for the unique styling is Ovie "Mac" Solomon, a Lagos-based creative director.
Solomon has a diverse background in Advertising, Visual Identity & Branding, Fine Art, Illustration, and Photography. Over the past six years, he has worked with brands like OPay, Blackbet, Nairabox, and artists like Paybac Iboro, e.t.c.
When Solomon isn't working on client-related projects, he's creating mixed-media illustrations that focus on introspection and self-discovery.
We sat with Solomon to discuss his art background and the importance of a podcast cover art to a target audience.
VAT: How did you get into creative designing?
S: I'd say it was an aggregate of different things. I was always artistic as a child. My brother used to draw comics, and I picked up on that. I developed an interest in magazine and game covers. I would create random covers for music in my library that were missing cover art using apps like Paint or Picasa.
My creative journey took flight while I was at University; When I discovered Photoshop, I knew this was something that I could be great at. I started tutorials and design blogs like CreativeBloq, which helped shape my design thinking.
I got a job as a graphic design intern right after school at a start-up, which helped me transition into the creative direction of a brand.
VAT: When and what was your first paid gig?
S: In 2011, I was paid about $30 to make cover art for someone off Twitter. Someone paid me to do stuff I'd normally do for free, which felt great.
VAT: When did you design your first podcast artwork?
S: My first Podcast artwork was done in 2017. It was named "The Pokey London Flat Series." Podcasts weren't mainstream in Nigeria then, so I approached it like a book cover. I recently looked for the artwork, and it looks good still.
VAT: What's the process of designing a podcast artwork?
S: First, understand the podcast and its target audience. This is usually done through discussions with the host of the podcast. A brief is prepared, mainly to determine its tone/voice. It could be witty, light-hearted, serious, e.t.c. It's also essential to know their vision for the podcast aesthetic.
The research comes next; I look for similar podcasts to create a mood board to determine the colour scheme and style guide. A little inspiration always helps to nudge you in the right direction.
In subsequent execution, I focus on the logomark, which in my opinion, is the most important thing. I always try to keep it simple, clean and iconic.
Multiple options are explored, explained and presented for feedback.
I incorporate feedback gotten to create the final artwork. I like to involve people in my design process; it helps me see the podcast from the audience's perspective.
VAT: What are the misconceptions when it comes to designing podcast artwork?
S: I feel the major misconception might be people who believe podcast artwork and book covers have the same approach to design. It is similar, but you have to see each podcast as a brand. And a brand needs an identity. Scalability is important.
The podcast artwork will be used across multiple platforms, and one thing must be obvious to your intended listeners: the podcast's name and what it is about.
VAT: How long does it take you to design a podcast artwork?
S: Ideally, about 2-4 weeks.
A Music in Time is definitely my favourite one. Even though it isn't the first one I made, I see it as the origin of my journey down this road. I'm also a big fan of the podcast itself. Welcome to The Jungle and 234Essential were pretty fun to work on too.