You’ve felt the frustration before. You paid big money for a logo and a cover photo/header image design to display on your brand’s primary social media platforms. While it looks good on desktop, it just doesn’t look the same on mobile.
That’s because on mobile, a much larger portion of your cover photo is blocked out because the profile picture and the Page name are on top of the cover photo.
So, for all of you that have felt the frustration of creating a beautiful cover photo and having it not work on the various social media sites mobile platforms, I am here to help you. This will serve as a guide and go platform by platform to discuss how to upload and optimize each cover/header photo.
You’re all prepared to upload your new cover photo. It looks perfect when you view it on desktop. Boom!
However, you view it on mobile and some of the image’s text or part of the logo is cut off. For example, the desktop version of this former Adobe cover photo on Facebook looks great:
Then, you head over to your smartphone to review your newly minted cover photo and it looks nowhere near the same. It’s cutoff and distorted. Once again, using the Adobe example, the mobile version looks something like this:
You are completely bummed out because you don’t understand what went wrong. Notice that the sides of the photo are cut off on mobile. Whereas your cover photo displays at 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall on desktop, it displays only the center 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones.
Also, notice how the text in Adobe’s cover photo is cut off on the right-hand side. You are seething with frustration.
What do you do?
Facebook Profile Photos:
For profile photos, create the image so it displays at 170×170 pixels on your Page on computers, 128×128 pixels on smartphones and 36×36 pixels on most feature phones.
Facebook Cover Photos:
- Cover photos display best at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on your page on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones.
- At the bare minimum, they must be at least 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall.
- Cover photos will load fastest as an sRGB (standard Red Blue Green) file that is less 100 kilobytes.
- For both profile and cover photos that contain text or a logo, you will get better results with PNG files.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure your cover photos are mobile friendly. In 2017, Facebook reported that over half (HALF!) of its user base access the network exclusively from mobile devices.
That being said, I must also remind you that a much larger portion of your cover photo is blocked out on mobile because the profile picture and page name are on top of the cover photo. See this example:
So, make sure to keep that in mind when designing your cover photo on Facebook!
If you have ever struggled with Twitter header dimensions, don’t worry, because you are not alone.
Despite all the provided guidelines from Twitter, it can still be extremely confusing when it comes to actually taking action. That’s because Twitter does this funny (not really!) thing where it cuts off part of your header photo even though you followed their supposed guidelines.
And as I’ve been stressing throughout this article, you also must remember to pay attention to how your photo scales across different platforms.
So, what are Twitter’s recommended dimensions?
• Header photo recommended dimensions are 1500px by 500px
• Photos can be in any of the following formats: JPG, GIF, or PNG. (Twitter does not support animated GIFs for profile or header images.)
You may follow those guidelines to a tee, but it probably won’t look right post upload because you didn’t account for your profile picture and the invisible area (yikes!).
For example, here is Nike’s Twitter cover photo at full width:
When the Twitter header is displayed at full width, the profile photo moves towards the middle of the screen.
But, if you scale down the resolution, the profile photo changes location and move towards the left side of the header photo.
So, a key takeaway is that you must leave some empty space at the bottom left corner of your header photo or you will likely run into the problem of certain portions of your photo being cut off or blocked.
How about accounting for the “invisible area?”
Despite the 1500px x 500px suggestion from Twitter, the top and bottom of your image will get cropped off once you upload it.
So, how do I get around this you ask?
You follow my 3 guidelines that I have been discussing throughout the Twitter segment of this piece:
1. I still suggest using the 1500 x 500 dimension for your header photo because, after all, Twitter recommends that.
2. Leave empty space at the top and bottom of your header photo so you don’t get impacted by the invisible area.
3. Leave sufficient space at the bottom left corner to account for profile pictures and different screen sizes, such as MOBILE!
If you follow these steps, you will likely avoid pulling out your hair in frustration.
In my experience, YouTube can be one of the most difficult platforms to deal with when it comes to designing photos for your channel.
Once again, channel art will NOT display the same way across all devices. How vital is this to know?
According to Fortune Lords, more than half of YouTube views comes from mobile devices and the average number of mobile YouTube video views per day is 1,000,000,000! Yes, you read that correctly.
So, to avoid branding mistakes when it comes to YouTube channel art, follow these suggestions:
• YouTube recommends uploading one 2560 x 1440 px photo for best results across all devices.
• The bare minimum photo that can be uploaded is 2048 x 1152 px.
• The bare minimum safe area for logos or text in your header is 1546 x 423 px (wouldn’t recommend this option!)
• The file size can be no larger than 4MB.
This is what YouTube provides as help for your cover art:
However, I like to use the phrase “less is more” when it comes to YouTube. The less text and logos you have throughout the channel art, the better of you will be.
Whatever you consider a necessity in your image- logo, tagline, address, etc. – make sure it is in the safe area (1546 x 423 px).
And this should go without saying, but use high quality images only! That will ensure the image looks nice, clean and attract more eyeballs to your channel.
Circling back to my “less is more” suggestion, I prefer using a very simple cover art photo that has minimum text and graphics. One of my favorite examples is from popular YouTuber Jimmy Tatro, who runs the channel Life According to Jimmy.
Look at that cover art image. It’s clean, it’s simple and there is absolutely no distortion or area that is cut off. The logo and name of channel are displayed prominently in the middle of the header, and there no cut off issues.
My recommendation would be to keep it simple, just like Jimmy!
LinkedIn can be another maddening social media platform to deal with for cover photos. You have to worry about the profile banner, profile avatar, company cover photo and company avatar.
The great thing about LinkedIn, however, is that you have the ability to crop, filter and adjust photos once you upload them.
That doesn’t mean you won’t have trouble, so here are the best tips for uploading the various photos to LinkedIn:
• Profile Cover Photo: 1584 wide x 396 tall; it must be 4:1 proportion.
• Profile Avatar: 400 x 400 pixels
• Company Cover Photo: 1536 x 768 px
• Company Avatar/Logo Photo: 300 x 300 square. It can no longer be horizontal.
The frustration generally comes from the company cover photo. When uploading, the height gets cropped noticeably (ok, very noticeably) on desktop.
You may have to create a photo and test it on different devices if there are elements of the photo you can’t remove (logo, headline, address, tag line, etc.).
My biggest suggestion when it comes to LinkedIn is think of it as more of a background image that won’t look crappy when cropped on the various devices. It has become difficult to place text on company page headers, so I would suggest abandoning it unless crucial.
Take Zimmerman Advertising for example, they use a simple approach and just have their building as their company page cover photo.
I recommend using a similar tactic for LinkedIn because it’s become the platform has become very annoying for company page headers and text.
If you follow the aforementioned tips, I guarantee it will alleviate some of your frustration that you’ve had in the past when it comes to uploading logos and cover photos for social media.