Designing for Social Media, Part 1: Knowing Where it's Needed

By Ross Cameron

If you’re running a business, organization, cause, or campaign, one thing becomes abundantly clear: you need to have a social media presence. Being active on social media shows people that you’re active and alive, that your business is thriving, and that you’re producing a good or service that people should actually be interested in. In this series, we’ll cover just a narrow aspect of the complicated world of social media.

If you know design, you know it has a place in almost every aspect of life. All around you, all the time, you see graphic design, industrial design, product design, UI & UX design, and more. It might not be obvious, but the best and most successful social media pages usually have designers involved, producing graphics that aid and amplify their messages.

Here, we’ll outline some basics of design for social media.

Part I: Knowing where it’s needed

An integral part of amping up your company’s online visual presence is knowing where in your internet sphere of influence a design overhaul is needed. Below are some points to keep you on the right track.

Avatars are essential

The avatar — or profile picture — is the first step to social media design bliss. If you’re a fashion brand and your Facebook profile picture is a cat in a tuxedo, you’re missing a major opportunity.

Your profile picture on any social media website should always be one of two things:

  1. Your logo. Preferably a square-format version of your logo, in as high a resolution as possible (we’ll cover using correct formatting for web images later in this blog series).
  2. Some other relevant image. Maybe it's a well-done picture of your company staff, with your logo in the image. Or it's a great photo of the product you offer.

Any other kind of image could potentially confuse people. This image will usually be the first thing users see associated with the name of your company. Don’t miss the opportunity to form an association in their minds. 

Cover images are important.

We’ll have a section on how to design a good cover image for Facebook, Twitter, and others. For now, it’s important to know that these can be incredibly tricky to get right, but very useful and cool if done correctly!

Consistency is key

Your avatars, cover images, colors, fonts, etc. etc. should be identical across social media platforms. Again, it’s all about avoiding confusion! A nice, clean, consistent image is skyrocketed above a sloppy, unprofessional, haphazard presence 100% of the time.

These general tips are good to keep in mind, especially when reading our coming segments. We’ll go in-depth into common frustrations around designing for social media, and provide tips and tricks for making your accounts shine.

For more tips on social media, website development and graphic design, stay tuned to our blog at Alexandra Go!