Three Observations About Making Title Cards For Podcasts On Youtube

2015 Artwork Podscast Title graphics article sketch

Before I begin, I should probably point out that although I technically have a Youtube channel, I’ve never actually recorded any podcasts (mainly because I absolutely can’t stand the sound of my voice in recordings), nor have I made any title cards for podcasts on Youtube.

Apart from the small title illustrations for these articles, about the closest thing to an actual podcast title card that I’ve made was this watercolour painting I made earlier this year in preparation for a planned poetry-based Youtube video (that I ended up abandoning):

“Tool Duel” By C. A. Brown

So, how can I really give you any advice about this subject?

Well, I’ve watched a lot of Youtube videos and I’ve listened to a fair number of podcasts on there too. Likewise, although most of the title graphics on my blog are made individually, I’ve made a few recurring title cards for articles on this blog, such as my “from the vault” filler articles.

Yes, you'd be surprised how many times I've re-used this old picture from last year. In fact, I even used it in yesterday's article.

Yes, you’d be surprised how many times I’ve re-used this old picture from last year. In fact, I even used it in yesterday’s article.

As you probably know, one of the best ways to make an audio-only podcast more interesting is to make a title card that accompanies it.

Even though the main attraction of a podcast is the audio itself, just looking at a blank screen when you’re listening is kind of boring and it’s also unlikely to attract new listeners too. So, podcasts on Youtube should ideally be accompanied by a title card of some kind.

Anyway, here are a few thoughts and observations of mine about how to make these title cards:

1) Cartoon illustrations: Usually, with podcasts, it can help if your audience can actually see who is talking.

Whilst a simple photo of the people who appear in your podcast can serve this purpose, it isn’t particularly interesting or memorable. On the other hand, a cartoon illustration of the people who are speaking in your podcast can be a much more interesting, memorable and distinctive way of introducing your podcast before it has even started.

Not only do the unique art styles used in cartoon illustrations make your podcast easier to remember, they also show that you’ve put a lot more effort into your podcast since a stylised cartoon title card looks more artistic than just a simple photograph.

If you’re quite experienced with drawing/painting/digital art, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to make one of these title cards. But, if you aren’t experienced at making art and you don’t know anyone who is, then it may be worth commissioning an artist to make you an illustrated title card.

There are plenty of places on the internet where you can commission artwork relatively cheaply, so it’s worth looking around. Be sure to check out the artist’s previous works and to ask if it’s ok to use the commissioned artwork in Youtube videos (and if it’s ok for you to modify it in any way when you post it online). Be specific about what you want in your illustration, but also give the artist room to improvise. Plus, be sure to credit the artist at some point during your video.

2) Reusability: Usually, it can take quite a bit of time and effort to create a new title card for each podcast. Even the small title illustrations that accompany these blog articles can usually take between half and a third of the total time it takes me to prepare an article for this site.

So, especially if you have commissioned a title card – it’s often easier to modify one picture lots of times than it is to create a new picture for each podcast.

One of the most basic ways of making a modifiable title card is to just leave a large space in one part of it where you can add text to introduce each individual podcast. One example of this is, when I had “poetry week” on this blog back in May, I created a single title graphic – with a large space on it (eg: the board in the background) where I could add the titles of the poems I was going to include in each post:

Notice the blank space in the background. This allowed me to re-use this one picture several times, with only a few small changes (ok, I also did more than just add text to the picture each time, but you get the idea)

Notice the blank space in the background. This allowed me to re-use this one picture several times, with only a few small changes (ok, I also did more than just add text to the picture each time, but you get the idea)

However, if you have more knowledge about image editing, you can modify a single title graphic in all sorts of different ways. You can digitally change the colours, you can move parts of the picture around etc… Just be sure to save a backup copy of the original graphic in case you make any mistakes.

3) Graphic design: Although I don’t really come from a graphic design background, there are a couple of basic graphic design-related things that you should probably be aware of when you’re making a title card.

The first of these is the composition, or layout, of your title card. Although there are a few rules that you probably should follow when it comes to composition, the easiest way to tell if you’ve got the composition of your title card right is to make a basic sketch or plan and then to just look at it. Does it look “right”? If it doesn’t, then try moving a few things around until the layout looks more like the kinds of title cards that you’ve seen in more professional podcasts on Youtube.

The second thing that is worth thinking of is the colour scheme of your title card. Do the colours clash with each other or do they compliment each other? Does your title card contain a mixture of warm colours and cool colours?

If you don’t have time to research any of this stuff, then take a look at this RGB colour wheel and either pick two colours that are exactly opposite each other or pick any three colours that make a triangle (when you draw a line between them). Either that, or you could just go for a simple black & white colour scheme.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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