Let’s design social media graphics

Your client loves social media. It’s the brand, business, buzz-building place where they can reach new audiences. Here’s everything you need to hand-off an awesome design.

 
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, oh my! Your client just ordered all the social stuff. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Everything starts with your client’s cover or header photo. This is the page’s big “hello!” and the visitor’s first impression. So wow them. Showcase your client’s brand as much as you can, while also keeping your design clean and simple.

Use images as often as possible and text only when necessary (for example, only for a special deal, hashtag or a CTA). Always take note of how your cover photo will appear once it is on the social media page. It should never distract the visitor or feel too busy.

Ready to design? Below, we have specifications for profile and header images, a design checklist and a glossary of design terms—plus a few encouraging words to pump you up as you get started.
 

Sizes and specifications

Social media isn’t “one size fits all” (bummer, we know). Every channel has its own set of sizes and specifications that all need to seamlessly match your client’s brand identity. Each element must work together, and nothing can be out of place. Follow these guidelines to ensure your designs.

Facebook

The Facebook cover photo is located at the top of a Facebook page to the right of the profile photo.

  • Profile picture size: 170px x 170px (Facebook will scale it down to 160px x 160px)
  • Size: 820px x 312px
  • Resolution: 72 dpi
  • Color mode: RGB
  • File types:
  1. Layered RGB source files (typically Photoshop)
  2. Web preview file: PNG or JPEGD
 

Twitter

The Twitter header photo is located at the top of a Twitter page and behind the profile photo. Together with the profile photo, page name and short description, think of this as a digital business card (especially on mobile). Use this to its full potential by showcasing your client’s key messages so they can gain new followers.

  • Profile photo size: 400px x 400px
  • Size: 1500px x 500px
  • Resolution: 72 dpi
  • Color mode: RGB
  • File types:
  1. Layered RGB source files (typically Photoshop)
  2. Web preview file: JPEG, GIF, BMP or PNG (no animated GIFs)
 

Download the Twitter header template

YouTube

The YouTube channel art is located at the top of a YouTube channel with your profile photo floating on top of it.

  • Channel icon size: 800px x 800px (YouTube will scale it down to 98px x 98px)
  • Channel art size: 2560px x 1440px
  • Resolution: 72 dpi
  • Color mode: RGB
  • File types:
  1. Layered RGB source files (typically Photoshop)
  2. Web preview file: JPEG, GIF, BMP or PNG (no animated GIFs)
 

Download the YouTube channel art template

Google+

The Google+ cover photo is located at the top of a Google+ profile.

  • Profile photo size: 250px x 250px (Google+ will place this in a circular frame)
  • Cover photo size: 1080px x 608px
  • Resolution: 72 dpi
  • Color mode: RGB
  • File types:
  1. Layered RGB source files (typically Photoshop)
  2. Web preview file: JPEG, GIF, BMP or PNG (no animated GIFs)
 

Download the Google+ cover template

Submitting to your client

Once your client has approved the final design, send them all of the design files. Here’s what they need:

  • An editable version of the final design (Layered source files)
  • All web preview images (JPEG, PNG, BMP or GIF)
  • A link to purchase any commercial fonts used in the design
Make sure all files are saved in the RGB color mode and 72dpi resolution.

The design checklist

Great design never came from following rules. So, break ‘em! Except for these. They’re pretty important. Stick to these guidelines to ensure your text, images and layout are perfect.
  1. Use the correct, high quality image sizes for each social media channel.
  2. Keep all important information in the safe area of the image.
  3. Ask your client if they have specific images they would like to use.
  4. Don’t use too much text. Keep it simple.
  5. Use the client’s branding elements in your designs when appropriate.
  6. See how your header images interact with the client’s profile images.

The dictionary of design

CMYK and RGB... Droids from Star Wars, right? Design lingo can be a little tricky, but we can translate. Here are some design terms you’ll need to know.
 
 

Color mode

How colors are represented in your design

  • CMYK: An ink-based mode used in print
  • RGB: A light-based mode used on-screen

Resolution

The amount of pixel detail in an image

  • Low resolution: Few pixels make the image pixelated
  • High resolution: Many pixels make the image sharp