9 tips for creating a social media page design

Rebecca Creger

These days, every company has a social media page design for their Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest or Instagram page. The profile picture, cover image and background images act like billboard space for companies to communicate their brand – and that’s where they need a designer to create some eye-catching designs.

Here’s 9 tips on how to design the best social media page for your client’s company.

1. Showcase the company’s branding, products and community

99designs social media page design tips

Social media pages’ images consist mainly of a cover/banner image, profile picture and sometimes a background. The company logo is typically displayed in the profile picture. The cover/banner and background can feature various types of images; some display the basic products and services of a company, while others promote a featured social media or marketing campaign.

It’s always good to consistently update the imagery on a company’s social media page to keep things fresh and interesting for the target audience. For example, 99designs’ weekly cover image features a variety of designs from the talented designers 99designs, and we recently featured our latest social media campaign, #WeAre99designs, on our cover photo to promote the campaign and place a call to action. We also post a different cover photo each weekend which features the work of an outstanding designer on our site.

When designing a social media page, make sure that your design is consistent with the company’s branding, demonstrates the services that the company provides, and serves as a strong call to action if the design is for a promotion/social media campaign.

2. Use the correct image sizes

Youtube social media page design tips

Youtube‘s channel page design guidelines

Below is a list of the recommended file dimensions for each social media page cover image, profile picture and background. These images will display at different sizes on different devices, but for the best image quality across multiple devices, use the dimensions below:

3. Create your designs in RGB color mode

RGB color mode social media page design tips

Your social media page designs are only going to be displayed on screen. No CMYK colors here.

4. Make your designs visually consistent

Be consistent with branding social media page design tips

Designs by charmiel

Your client is looking to establish a strong brand identity through social media, so make sure that all your designs are visually cohesive across platforms. Designer charmiel designed 3 different social media page images for their client, but kept the overall look and feel of each design consistent.

5. Devote more space to images than to text

more images thans text social media page design tips

Facebook cover design by VishalR

The brain processes images thousands of times faster than it processes text, and image-based content (especially photos of people) is proven to generate more re-tweets, Facebook shares and other types of engagement than text alone. Facebook actually used to have a rule that cover photos could not have more than 20% text. Even though the rule is no longer enforced, it’s not a bad number to keep in mind when designing your cover/banner image. Keep the content image-based.

6. Pay attention to how the placement of the profile picture interacts with the cover/banner header

profil picture palce ment and composition social media page design tips

Facebook cover design by The JA Designs

In terms of composition, don’t let a profile picture overlapping the cover image hide any valuable content that you want your audience to see. For easy viewing, make the main content of your cover/banner image more oriented to the right side of the image than the left.

For a more creative approach, try making the profile picture and the cover image purposefully interact with each other. Above, The JA Designs has designed the profile picture and the cover image to display as if they were one continuous image instead of two, while placing the most important information closer to the right side of the cover image.

Some social media platforms platforms will automatically place your cover image into a photo album, so make sure it looks good with and without the profile picture overlapping the bottom left corner. Don’t leave an awkward blank space in that area.

profile picture placement and composition social media page design tips

Google+ cover design by The JA Designs

Google+ crops profile pictures into a circle, so make sure that you leave enough white space so that nothing gets cut off.

7. Make sure that your designs abide by each platform’s rules

social media platform terms and conditions social media page design tips

Facebook’s guidelines page

Most of these guidelines forbid the use of nudity, celebrities, obscene or threatening images, profanity, and copyrighted images in both the profile picture and cover image. Each site enforces these guidelines differently, but if your design violates them, you risk your client’s company account being suspended or terminated.

It’s important to read the fine print as a designer, so feel free to peruse the Facebook page terms, Twitter terms of service, Google+ policies and principles, YouTube community guidelines, and the Linkedin user agreement.

Note: If you’re designing a social media page on 99designs, submitting original work and declaring any stock imagery will cover your bases in this area.

8. If the design is for a promotion or social media campaign, keep it simple

call to action social media page design tips

Facebook cover design by Design_arc

For a featured promotional campaign on your social media page, use compelling imagery, short copy and a simple call to action. Above, Design_arc‘s Facebook cover design clearly indicates the call to action with a straightforward and effective design.

9. Make it creative and visually engaging

make it creative social media page design tips

Design by rbgraphics.nl

Here’s the bottom line: the purpose of a social media page is to engage with the target audience and get them to share its content, which includes the cover/banner image.

Social media pages that have appealing content and visuals are much more likely to be shared and increase engagement. So definitely exercise creative freedom in your designs, while making sure that that your visuals are consistent with client company branding and are showcasing their products and community.

Got any social media page design tips? Share in the comments!

The author

Rebecca Creger
Rebecca Creger

Rebecca was born and raised in the Bay Area, where she currently lives. She has a BFA in Design with a Visual Communications emphasis from UC Davis. Her passions include travel, design, pasta, and hanging out with her Beagle, Spud.

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