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Design 101: Creating Awesome Social Media Cover Photos

It’s now a priority that every business stays connected with social media and keeps a great online presence. As a graphic designer, it’s your job to make sure you create cover photos for your clients that are visually compelling for their market. According to an infographic from 99designs “79% of businesses who had a Facebook cover designed reported increased engagement.”

Now that you know how big of a role design plays in your client’s social media cover photos, I’ll show you how to create some stunning designs that should support your clients’ engagement.


Find Your Inspiration

Before you start designing, it’s important to find your inspiration. This will save you hours of time trying to create your own cover photo from scratch and by finding things that are inspiring to your own design aesthetic, it will generate an abundance of creative ideas for you to implement.

The most effective way that works for me is to find (recent) blog articles that show the “Top (x amount) Cover Photos of 2015” or something similar because it not only saves you time trying to dig through Google search results, but it also gives you plenty of inspiration to look through on one convenient page. If you find a page you like, bookmark it. The more inspiration you have, the more creativity you can generate. (Here’s an amazing page that I’ve found that I keep bookmarked for my own inspiration.)


Know Your Social Media Cover Photo Sizes

After you find your inspiration, it’s important to know the dimensions you’ll need to be designing for. A great site to use is a page from SproutSocial. This page is always up to date, and is a great reference to keep bookmarked because it has a lot of the major social media sites listed all in one place. I would recommend bookmarking the SproutSocial page since social media websites tend to change the dimensions of their cover photos every so often and it will save you time trying to find “up to date” sizes in the future. Facebook and Twitter overlay profile pictures over the cover photos.

If you want to integrate designs through both of these elements or if you’d like to design with better precision, here are some hand-made guides I’ve constructed and use that work as of May 2015. Note: For Twitter when you create a 1500x500px cover photo, about 70 pixels or so from the top and bottom get cut off.

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Keep These Presentation Tips In Mind

When designing an awesome cover photo for your client’s social media pages, keep in mind that if you must use stock photography that you choose photos that don’t have the generic, posed, stock photography look to them. You know, the kind of pictures that are placeholders in the frames at Target. Those photos will be skipped over and never given a second glance. Instead, strike a visual heartstring in your client’s market by using your found inspiration for your design and pairing it with these tips from 99design to mold the perfect cover photo:

  •       Promote a giveaway
  •       Introduce new designs products or services
  •       Publish a fun fact
  •       Introduce your team
  •       Tout your awards
  •       Mirror your website design

Inc.com also offers some great insights for cover photo presentation.


Making a great social media cover photo can literally help your client’s engagement according to 99designs. Make sure to find your inspiration, get your dimensions and guides set up, and follow the presentation tips to mold an incredible cover photo that’s sure to bring success for your client. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope either. Bland cover photos will get passed over but if you take the time to create an amazing design, your client’s market will notice.