Firearms Nation is an interview-driven podcast hosted by Arik Levy. Arik talks to prominent personalities and experts from the world of firearms; his guests include instructors, competitors, and everyone in between. A background in law enforcement and competitive shooting helps Arik ask insightful and thought-provoking questions that really allow his audience to connect with each guest.
Firearms Nation already has a strong logo to use as a launching point for the podcast cover design. Arik has already built quite an audience for his brand through his website and YouTube channel. An important goal of this project is to create a design that fits comfortably with the pieces that Arik has already established. The YouTube channel, the blog and the podcast all need to feel like a unified, cohesive brand.
As always, I started the design process with a bit of research. I watched some Firearms Nation videos and poked around the website. Arik sent me a list of competitors and I scoped them out as well.
There are a couple of strong designs here, but I immediately realized that I could give Arik the best cover design in his industry.
Since Arik has already built large following on YouTube, I felt we could use that to our advantage by featuring his face on the cover design for the podcast. When you run a YouTube channel, your face generally becomes the face of your brand; along with your traditional logo. Seeing Arik will create a connection for anyone who has watched his videos in the past. Just one more way to build brand recognition and connect with the audience.
Arik kindly sent me a handful of photos to choose from. There were a couple that gave the appropriate vibe and fortunately one of them also happened to be the highest-resolution image he supplied. The quality of the photo with great lighting, contrast and sharpness really works to make the podcast look very professional. Quality in your imagery sends the message that you take pride in creating a great product for your listeners.
In the interest of strengthening the overall brand, I made the original logo the focal point of the entire design. I added “podcast” underneath in a complimentary font in a containing shape that matches the white part of the F/N logo. Knocking the text out to allow the background photo to show through adds to the illusion of depth.
The meat and potatoes of this project were in the composition and layering of the imagery; a lot of photoshop work to get things just right. I added depth and interest by allowing the photo of Arik to interact with the logo itself.
The logo is off-center to balance with Arik’s photo and catch the viewer eye with engaging asymmetry. The background imagery of a handgun and smoke only appear as an interesting texture when casually viewed at small sizes. This allows the logo to be the ‘hero’ of the composition with Arik as support. When the cover is displayed at larger sizes, the gun will become less ambiguous and help further set the stage for what the show is about.
All colors were based on the original logo and applied to each photographic layer. Even the tint of Arik’s photo was subtly adjusted to make the lighting and hue of all the pieces feel coherent.
I considered including a tagline in the cover art, but ultimately made the judgement call that it was doing more harm than good. Making the tagline large enough to be legible at small sizes detracted from the focus of the design without adding much value.
The final product is an impactful composition bringing together the bold logo and Arik’s recognizable portrait with some subtle, stylized elements. The mood is serious but inviting; like a friendly competition, but no one is gonna take it easy on you.
The clean lines of the text and sharp, well-lit photo ensure the audience that this is a professional podcast. You can trust the information you get here. Meanwhile, the exciting and high-contrast color scheme entices the viewer and brings an element of fun to the cover.
The all text is extremely legible, even at small sizes and the topic of the podcast is clearly communicated in the title.