6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos

How much thought did you put into your last Facebook cover photo?

Your Facebook photo represents a huge piece of real estate on your Facebook page, yet many businesses flat out waste it.

Not only should your cover photo look nice, but it should also serve a purpose and represent your brand properly. In this post, we’ll discuss several key tips for designing a highly effective cover photo for your Facebook page.

How to design good Facebook cover photos

1. Pick an objective for your cover photo

Believe it or not, a cover photo can be more than just a logo slapped onto a plain colored background.

While they can be great for branding purposes, cover photos can also help you achieve other business goals. This could be driving signups for your product, advertising a sale, or promoting an upcoming webinar.

You can see there’s a clear objective here and that’s to drive registrations for their free training. They’ve accomplished this while still keeping their branding intact and showing a glimpse of the product’s capabilities.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Drip from Leadpages on Facebook.

Another great example is Bootea.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Bootea on Facebook.

As you can see, they’re not wasting any real estate here. Instead, they’re smartly using their Facebook cover to promote a brand new product. This is highly effective since there’s a “Shop Now” call to action directly below the cover image.

Drip and Bootea are two of many companies effectively using cover photos to achieve an objective. The takeaway here is that you should put a bit of thought into what you want your Facebook cover to accomplish.

2. Size your cover photo correctly

There are three things that are certain in life: death, taxes, and Facebook changing their layout.
Evidently, one of the things that gets impacted whenever Facebook changes their layout is the cover photo itself. For this reason you need to stay on top of things and make sure that you’re always using the proper dimensions.

At the moment, the Facebook cover photo displays at 820 x 312 pixels on desktop screens. On smartphones, it displays at 640 x 360 pixels. As a result, you may want to consider keeping key pieces of your cover photo centered so they don’t get cropped off on mobile.

While Facebook states that your cover photo can be a minimum of 399 x 150 pixels, I don’t recommend using a resolution lower than what Facebook displays your cover photo at on desktops.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

3. Stay on brand

We mentioned that a cover photo shouldn’t always be a company’s logo slapped on a background and this is true. However, regardless of what objective you’re trying to accomplish, you should always stay on brand with your cover photo. In fact, you should aim to create a social media style guide for your entire online presence.

So how do you stay on brand when designing cover photos?

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Color palette

Whenever possible, always try to include your brand colors. As users continue to interact with your brand, you’ll become more ingrained in their mind provided that you remain consistent with your branding elements.

Blue is a primary color in our brand kit at Snappa, so it’s no surprise we use it for our cover photo. When users visit our website, they’re met with the exact same shade of blue.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Snappa on Facebook.

Fonts and typefaces

You don’t necessarily need to use the same font for every single cover photo. In fact, that would be kind of boring.

However, the font itself should still represent your brand. For example, if you’re selling luxury watches, your fonts will likely contain crisp lines and be very easy to read.

On the flip side, it makes sense for a kid’s playground like Cosmic Adventures to use wacky fonts like the ones shown in their cover photo below.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Cosmic Adventures on Facebook.

Secondary elements

Almost every business uses of brand colors and fonts. However, you may also make use of secondary elements throughout your marketing. These might include graphics, patterns, icons, or other design items to support your brand.

Help desk software Help Scout is a great example of a company that uses secondary elements to enhance their brand. When you look at their cover photo, you’ll notice the intricate icon detailing woven into their cover.

Then when you hop over to their blog, you’ll notice the same use of graphics and icons within their featured images.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Help Scout.

Whenever I see one of these cleverly designed icons, I immediately think of Help Scout.

4. Make your profile picture and cover photo work together

Although we’re dedicating a full post to designing an effective cover photo, I would be remiss not to briefly touch on your profile picture. That’s because your profile picture should play nicely with your cover photo.

The best way to achieve this is to ensure that your profile picture uses the same style guidelines as your cover photo. If your profile picture is mostly red, it would look pretty awful next to a cover photo that is mostly yellow.

Finance company TD Canada does a great job of making their profile picture and cover photo work together. As per usual, TD has set their profile picture as their logo with their trademark green background. This looks fantastic against their black and white cover photo with green design elements.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

Image via TD Canada on Facebook.

Not only do the colors match, but all of the green elements stand out beautifully on the page.

5. Ensure proper contrast

Up until now, we’ve covered more of the cover photo fundamentals. Let’s now shift our focus to some design principles.

Before you freak out, we’re not going to discuss complex design theories. The truth is, even a beginner can succeed with some basic design knowledge.

So what is one of the most important design concepts for a beginner to grasp?

In my opinion, it’s contrast.

Using proper contrast will give your graphic impact and make sure that it’s legible. Contrast is what makes Apple advertisements so impactful.

The first (and most common) way to achieve contrast is with colors. If you’re using a white background, you’d want to use dark text. Similarly, if you’re using a dark background, you’d want to use light text.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

So, what if you’re not just using black and white colors? That’s where a color wheel comes in handy. Essentially, colors at the opposite ends of the wheel will represent perfect contrast. This is what you want to aim for.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

The next important element of contrast is size. Basically, you’ll want to use a larger text size for headlines and smaller text size for body text. This creates a clear separation between the two, which will make your headline stand out.

Finally, positioning contrast allows you to create a hierarchy of elements purely by using different alignments.

Putting it all together, we see a great example of contrast in the Golden State Warriorsbasketball team’s cover photo. The bright yellow contrasts perfectly against the dark blue and they use a subtle bit of size contrast with their text.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Golden State Warriors on Facebook.

6. Use white space to your advantage

Non-designers often have a tendency to over-design. That is, they add too many colors, too many fonts, and cram way too much “stuff” in their cover photo.

An easy way to overcome this is to use white space.

White space is essentially any part of your graphic that is “unused.” It helps separate text, objects, and other elements of your design.

Although there are several advantages to using white space, the biggest benefit is that it keeps your graphic clean and helps the reader focus on the most important information.

Let’s look at this very simplistic use of white space as an example.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

Because there is so much white space (in fact that’s all there is), your eyes are immediately drawn into the text.

Now, for a more relevant example, check out cosmetics company Burt’s Bees’ cover photo.

6 Tips for Designing Highly Effective Facebook Cover Photos | Hootsuite Blog

Image via Burt’s Bees on Facebook.

The fantastic use of white space immediately draws you into the text reading “Uncap Flavor,” along with the image of their lip balm.

As you can see, there’s a lot that needs to go into your Facebook cover photo.

First, you need to determine the objective of your cover photo and make sure you’re using the proper sizing. Next, you want to make sure that you’re staying on brand. Finally, you want to utilize some key design principles like contrast and white space to make sure your cover photo really nails it.

Follow these key tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating highly effective cover photos for your Facebook page.

Once you’ve got your cover photo figured out, manage your Facebook presence by using Hootsuite to schedule posts, share video, engage with followers, and measure the impact of your efforts. Try it free today.


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