Social Media Image Design | Process Street Social Media Image Design – Process Street

Introduction:

Designing images for social media platforms is a minefield of potential errors. Even experienced designers will have trouble remembering the various best practices for each platform, and a single mistake can make all of the work behind the image useless.

This social media image design checklist solves that problem.

With detailed instructions and best practices for creating images for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest, stop relying on your memory for everything. Let this template take care of the annoying work.

Record the initial details of the image

Start by recording any initial details for your social media image design in the form fields below.

This includes why the image is being created (the purpose), any known details or desired elements in the design, and other details such as potential cross-promotion or featured people and brands.

Choose the platforms it will be put on

Next, choose the platforms that the design will be displayed on. While this won't affect the design itself too much, it will dictate the size of the canvas you'll be using and the kind of audience you'll be interacting with.

Record your choice(s) using the multi-choice form field below.

  • 1
    Facebook
  • 2
    Twitter
  • 3
    Instagram
  • 4
    LinkedIn
  • 5
    Google+
  • 6
    Tumblr
  • 7
    Pinterest

Create the initial design

(Source: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/914303)

It's time to create the initial design, so get to it!

Use the image's purpose and any existing details as noted earlier (and displayed below) to create an appropriate design, along with your knowledge of the brand that it's being created for.

Purpose: {{form.Image_purpose}}

Description: {{form.Design_description}}

Other details: {{form.Other_design_details}}

Get feedback

Next, return the image to your team or client for feedback. Record their comments in the form field below, as this will let you create the full design while tailoring it to the platform it will be posted on.

Facebook:

Create a 1200 x 628 pixel canvas

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebookcorewwwi.onion)

Start by creating a 1200 x 628 pixel canvas for your image. This is a great size to work with for Facebook images since it allows you to easily adjust details of the image while also scaling to Facebook's native display ratios.

Create the image design to fit

Using the initial design and feedback you've received, create the full social media image design to fit the canvas you've created.

Once finished, record a copy of the image using the form field below.

Check for mistakes

Everyone makes the odd mistake, so now it's time to check the image for anything that may have slipped your notice during the initial design. For example, you might notice that the text is using the wrong font or a certain color isn't quite the on-brand shade.

If you need help, Nela Dunato has a great go-to checklist of design mistakes which you can work through using the sub-checklist below.

If anything needed changing, log what was done and upload the new file to the form field below.

  • 1
    Clear visual hierarchy
  • 2
    Reasonable margins and padding
  • 3
    Clear information grouping
  • 4
    Purposeful text alignment
  • 5
    Limited use of centered text
  • 6
    Body text is not all caps (eg, font)
  • 7
    Good color contrast
  • 8
    Legible fonts
  • 9
    Subtle text effects (not tacky)
  • 10
    Complimenting / consistent font families
  • 11
    Sensible number of colors

Check that it scales down effectively

Facebook won't always display your image at full size, so now you need to check that the minimum resolution version of your image will still look good.

Do this by creating either a 116 x 116 pixel (for square images) or 470 x 246 pixel (for rectangular images) canvas and pasting your image in.

Check that:

  • 1
    Icons are clear
  • 2
    Objects aren't overly distorted
  • 3
    Text is still legible (or at least not ugly)
  • 4
    Color contrast still works
  • 5
    Branding is still visible

Upload this smaller version of the image to the form field below for safe keeping.

If the image is too distorted at the lower size, consider revising the image to correct those issues. If you do this, upload the revised image to the form field below.

Save it as a PNG

Finally, save the image as a PNG to preserve as much detail as possible. Upload the resulting file to the form field below.

Twitter:

Create a 1024 x 512 pixel canvas

(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/twitter-bird-twitter-button-bird-1366218/)

Start by creating a 1024 x 512 pixel canvas for your image. This is the ideal resolution to work with for Twitter, as it's the size that images are displayed at when viewed in full.

Create the image design to fit

Create an image design which fits the canvas size using your initial design and the feedback you received from it.

Once finished, record a copy of it using the form field below.

Check for mistakes

Next, check your image for any mistakes that may have slipped through the gaps during the initial creation. If corrections are needed, record what they were and upload the corrected file to the form field below.

If you need help, Nela Dunato has a great go-to checklist of design mistakes which you can work through using the sub-checklist below.

  • 1
    Clear visual hierarchy
  • 2
    Reasonable margins and padding
  • 3
    Clear information grouping
  • 4
    Purposeful text alignment
  • 5
    Limited use of centered text
  • 6
    Body text is not all caps (eg, font)
  • 7
    Good color contrast
  • 8
    Legible fonts
  • 9
    Subtle text effects (not tacky)
  • 10
    Complimenting / consistent font families
  • 11
    Sensible number of colors

Check that it scales down effectively

Next you need to check that the image looks okay when scaled down, as Twitter (like many other platforms) will automatically shrink and expand your image depending on where it is displayed.

For Twitter, the minimum size the image will be displayed at is 440 x 220 pixels, so create a new canvas of this size and past in your image to fit.

Check that:

  • 1
    Icons are clear
  • 2
    Objects aren't overly distorted
  • 3
    Text is still legible (or at least not ugly)
  • 4
    Color contrast still works
  • 5
    Branding is still visible

If any of these is distorted too much by scaling the image down, make edits to the design to try and allow it to retain its key features while at the reduced size.

Upload the scaled down and revised version (if required) of the image using the form fields below.

Save it as a PNG

Once you're done with the checks, save your image as a PNG to preserve as much detail as possible. Upload the PNG to the form field below.

Make sure the file size is below 5Mb

Finally, check that the PNG's file size is below 5Mb, as this is the limit for photos on Twitter.

If it's not, try saving the image as a JPEG instead. As long as you're not relying on the image to have transparency, this format should have a similar quality to it while reducing the size of the file itself.

If you still need the image to have transparency but the PNG is too large, you'll need to adjust the design to make it simpler (eg, by reducing the number of colors used).

Either way, upload the image iteration (PNG or JPEG) to the form field below.

Instagram:

Create a 1080 x 1080 pixel canvas

(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/instagram-symbol-logo-photo-camera-1581266/)

Instagram uses a square image setup, and so the canvas you'll need to set up should be 1080 x 1080 pixels.

This will let you check and adjust your image's details without having to zoom in too much but also allow it to scale down into Instagram's smaller display sizes without extra edits.

Create the image design to fit

Using your initial design and the feedback you got back from it, create a full version of the design to fit the canvas size.

Once finished, record a copy of it using the form field below.

Check for mistakes

As usual, there's always a chance for human error to crop up, so you should now take the time to check for any mistakes in the image that haven't been dealt with until now.

For example, you may notice an element overlapping others in the wrong way or an extra line where there should be none.

If you need help, Nela Dunato has a great go-to checklist of design mistakes which you can work through using the sub-checklist below.

If there are any corrections to be made, record them in the long text form field below and then upload the corrected image to the file upload field below it.

  • 1
    Clear visual hierarchy
  • 2
    Reasonable margins and padding
  • 3
    Clear information grouping
  • 4
    Purposeful text alignment
  • 5
    Limited use of centered text
  • 6
    Body text is not all caps (eg, font)
  • 7
    Good color contrast
  • 8
    Legible fonts
  • 9
    Subtle text effects (not tacky)
  • 10
    Complimenting / consistent font families
  • 11
    Sensible number of colors

Check that it scales down effectively

Next you need to check that the image looks okay when scaled down, as Instagram (like many other platforms) will automatically shrink and expand your image depending on where it is displayed.

For Instagram, the image will mostly be displayed at 510 x 510 pixels in people's feed, so create a new canvas of this size and past in your image to fit.

Check that:

  • 1
    Icons are clear
  • 2
    Objects aren't overly distorted
  • 3
    Text is still legible (or at least not ugly)
  • 4
    Color contrast still works
  • 5
    Branding is still visible

If any of these is distorted too much by scaling the image down, make edits to the design to try and allow it to retain its key features while at the reduced size.

Upload the scaled down and revised version (if required) of the image using the form fields below.

Save it as a PNG

Once you're done with the checks, save your image as a PNG to preserve as much detail as possible. Upload the PNG to the form field below.

LinkedIn:

Create a 1200 x 628 pixel canvas

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Linkedin.svg)

Create a 1200 x 628 pixel canvas for your image. This is the size LinkedIn uses for blog post share images.

Incidentally, this is the same shared image size as Facebook, so if you've already created one version for Facebook you can reuse it for LinkedIn.

Create the image design to fit

From your initial design and feedback received from your team/client, make the full design to fit your new canvas.

Once finished, record a copy of it using the form field below.

Check for mistakes

As usual, there's always a chance for human error to crop up, so you should now take the time to check for any mistakes in the image that haven't been dealt with until now.

For example, you may notice an element overlapping others in the wrong way or an extra line where there should be none.

If you need help, Nela Dunato has a great go-to checklist of design mistakes which you can work through using the sub-checklist below.

If there are any corrections to be made, record them in the long text form field below and then upload the corrected image to the file upload field below it.

  • 1
    Clear visual hierarchy
  • 2
    Reasonable margins and padding
  • 3
    Clear information grouping
  • 4
    Purposeful text alignment
  • 5
    Limited use of centered text
  • 6
    Body text is not all caps (eg, font)
  • 7
    Good color contrast
  • 8
    Legible fonts
  • 9
    Subtle text effects (not tacky)
  • 10
    Complimenting / consistent font families
  • 11
    Sensible number of colors

Save it as a PNG

Once you're done with the checks, save your image as a PNG to preserve as much detail as possible. Upload the PNG to the form field below.

Google+:

Create a 2048 x 1537 pixel canvas

(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/google-plus-logo-favicon-icon-940316/)

For Google+, create a 2048 x 1537 pixel canvas to work with.

Google+ is different from most other social media platforms in that the common display size for images doesn't fully scale with the maximum image size.

The true maximum image size is 2048 x 2048 pixels, and you can use this size if you're aiming for a square image. However, know that when the image is scaled down for display in feeds you'll lose some of the image's height.

That's why the 2048 x 1537 canvas is better. This will allow you to use the maximum image size while retaining the width:height ratio that the feed image display size uses.

Create the image design to fit

It's time to create the full version of your design. So, by taking into account the initial design already created and any feedback given on it, create the full version to fit the dimensions of your Google+ image canvas.

Once finished, record a copy of it using the form field below.

Check for mistakes

Next you need to check for any mistakes that might have been previously missed. After all, it never hurts to be cautious.

These errors could include things like misaligned text, incorrect icon colors, and elements being the wrong size.

If you need help, Nela Dunato has a great go-to checklist of design mistakes which you can work through using the sub-checklist below.

Make a note of any corrections you make in the form field below, and use the one below that to upload the corrected file (if you made any changes).

  • 1
    Clear visual hierarchy
  • 2
    Reasonable margins and padding
  • 3
    Clear information grouping
  • 4
    Purposeful text alignment
  • 5
    Limited use of centered text
  • 6
    Body text is not all caps (eg, font)
  • 7
    Good color contrast
  • 8
    Legible fonts
  • 9
    Subtle text effects (not tacky)
  • 10
    Complimenting / consistent font families
  • 11
    Sensible number of colors

Check that it scales down effectively

Next you need to check that the image looks okay when scaled down, as Google+ (like many other platforms) will automatically shrink and expand your image depending on where it is displayed.

For Google+, the image will mostly be displayed at 497 x 373 pixels in people's feed, so create a new canvas of this size and past in your image to fit.

Check that:

  • 1
    Icons are clear
  • 2
    Objects aren't overly distorted
  • 3
    Text is still legible (or at least not ugly)
  • 4
    Color contrast still works
  • 5
    Branding is still visible

If any of these is distorted too much by scaling the image down, make edits to the design to try and allow it to retain its key features while at the reduced size.

Upload the scaled down and revised version (if required) of the image using the form fields below.

Save it as a PNG

The checks are done, so now it's time to save the image as a PNG to preserve its detail. Upload a copy of the PNG to the form field below for safe keeping.

Tumblr:

Create a 1280 x 1920 pixel canvas

(Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tumblr.svg)

Start by creating a 1280 x 1920 pixel canvas. This is the maximum image size for Tumblr, although it will be scaled down when displayed in a feed.

Create the image design to fit

Create the main social media image design to fit the Tumblr canvas, using your initial design as inspiration and the feedback received from your team and/or client to correct any undesirable elements.

Once finished, record a copy of it using the form field below.

Check for mistakes

Now you need to check for any mistakes in the image. While you should have already combed the image to make sure it's okay, it's always good to look over it once more to make sure that everything's in order.

From text size and font to checking that all icons are layered and positioned correctly, cast your eye over the image to make sure that nothing is out of place.

If you need help, Nela Dunato has a great go-to checklist of design mistakes which you can work through using the sub-checklist below.

If there are any mistakes, make a note of the corrections that are required and upload the corrected image to the form field below once you've made them.

  • 1
    Clear visual hierarchy
  • 2
    Reasonable margins and padding
  • 3
    Clear information grouping
  • 4
    Purposeful text alignment
  • 5
    Limited use of centered text
  • 6
    Body text is not all caps (eg, font)
  • 7
    Good color contrast
  • 8
    Legible fonts
  • 9
    Subtle text effects (not tacky)
  • 10
    Complimenting / consistent font families
  • 11
    Sensible number of colors

Check that it scales down effectively

Now you need to check that the image still looks okay when scaled down to the size that Tumblr uses to display images in someone's feed.

Tumblr's feed image display size is 500 x 750 pixels, so use a new canvas this size to house your image and make sure that everything still works as intended without too much distortion.

Check that:

  • 1
    Icons are clear
  • 2
    Objects aren't overly distorted
  • 3
    Text is still legible (or at least not ugly)
  • 4
    Color contrast still works
  • 5
    Branding is still visible

Sometimes scaling images down ruins one of these elements. If that's the case, you'll need to edit the design to make sure that it still works at this reduced size.

Upload a copy of the smaller image and any revised versions created using the form fields below in this task.

Save it as a PNG

Once the checks are done it's time to save the image as a PNG. While JPEG is also a good file type, PNG allows for greater detail and is the only compatible format for images which rely on transparency.

Upload a copy of the PNG to the form field below.

Make sure the file size is below 10Mb

The maximum image file size for Tumblr is 10Mb, so check the PNG to make sure that its size doesn't exceed that.

If it does, try saving the image as a JPEG instead. This should reduce the file size at the cost of some detail (although this usually isn't too noticeable). Upload a copy of the JPEG to the form field below if you need to do this.

If the image relies on transparency (and so needs to be a PNG) or the JPEG still isn't small enough, make an iteration of the image to reduce the size. To do this, try simplifying the image or reducing the number of colors - either should give you enough room to work with.

Upload any simplified iteration of the image to the form field below for safe keeping.

Pinterest:

Create a 600 pixel width canvas

(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/pinterest-icon-symbol-sign-logo-2151052/)

Create a 600 x 900 pixel canvas to use as the base for your Pinterest image.

If required, the height can be adjusted - images taller than 900 pixels can make use of a canvas with a greater height. However, the maximum width an image can be for a pin on Pinterest is 600 pixels.

So, if you're posting an infographic which is much longer than it is wide, create a canvas that's 600 pixels wide and however tall the infographic will be when scaled to that width.

In general, however, it is recommended by Pinterest that you stick to a standard 600 x 900 pixel format.

Create the image design to fit

Now it's time to create the main image design for Pinterest. Take your initial design, apply the comments your team or client gave after seeing it, and make sure that it fits the dimensions of your canvas.

Upload a copy of the design to the form field below.

Check for mistakes

Check for mistakes and irregularities which might remain in the image. This can range from text being misaligned to icons becoming distorted during the transfer to a new canvas.

If you need help, Nela Dunato has a great go-to checklist of design mistakes which you can work through using the sub-checklist below.

Any such mistakes will need to be corrected before you continue. Start by recording the required corrections in the long form text field below, then use the file upload field below that to store a copy of the corrected image.

If no corrections are necessary, leave these form fields blank after checking for mistakes.

  • 1
    Clear visual hierarchy
  • 2
    Reasonable margins and padding
  • 3
    Clear information grouping
  • 4
    Purposeful text alignment
  • 5
    Limited use of centered text
  • 6
    Body text is not all caps (eg, font)
  • 7
    Good color contrast
  • 8
    Legible fonts
  • 9
    Subtle text effects (not tacky)
  • 10
    Complimenting / consistent font families
  • 11
    Sensible number of colors

Check that it scales down effectively

Pinterest displays images at a reduced size in users' feeds, so it's worth checking that your image looks okay in its reduced form.

Paste the image into a new canvas sized 236 pixels in width (with height scaled to your image's at that width) and use the sub-checklist below to check the individual elements for any problems.

  • 1
    Icons are clear
  • 2
    Objects aren't overly distorted
  • 3
    Text is still legible (or at least not ugly)
  • 4
    Color contrast still works
  • 5
    Branding is still visible

If any of these elements become overly distorted when scaled down in size you should consider editing the image's design to work better at a glance.

Remember - this is the size most people will see your image at. It needs to be good or interesting enough for them to click on to see it in full (and hopefully click any links you've provided with it).

Upload the scaled down image below for safekeeping, along with any iteration created to work better with the smaller size.

Save it as a PNG

All that's left now is to save the image as a PNG, ready to upload to Pinterest. JPEG is also an acceptable format, although PNG results in more detail being retained, so use that instead where possible.

Be sure to upload a copy of the finished PNG to the form field below for safe keeping.

Finishing up:

Send the designs for approval

Once you've finished, send all completed designs in for approval. There's no trick or specific method here, so go ahead and gather the files together, then submit them.

Record the approval status of the design(s) using the form field below.

If the designs are approved then congratulations! You've finished the social media image design process and they're ready to submit alongside any appropriate links.

If they require iteration, continue to the next task. If, however, the designs are not approved as a finality (eg, the project was canceled or the client doesn't want to pay for iterations) go ahead and mark this task as complete and close the checklist.

Record design feedback

If the final design(s) didn't get approved, record the feedback received using the form field below.

Make iterations

Using the feedback from your designs, make iterations until either you get approval or the project is not approved (as a finality).

Final design(s) feedback: {{form.Final_design(s)_feedback}}

Upload the iteration(s) to the form field below - use a ZIP file if there is more than one.

If further iterations are possible (through time restraints or the scope of the project), continue to make iterations until approval is gained. Otherwise, mark the project as "not approved" and close out this checklist.

Congratulations on finishing the social media image design process!

Sources:

Relevant checklists: