This guide offers tips on how to choose suitable social media profile and header images. We go through the most popular social media platforms in turn and explain how to use our templates for each one to create the perfect profile and banner images.
About social media images
Most social media accounts provide two main areas into which you can upload images to personalise your account. These are:
- Profile image: often small and either square or circular
- Banner image: often full-width with some other content overlaid, like part of your profile image
The exact dimensions and uses of these images vary between platforms and do change over time. This guide will help you to choose suitable images and offers free, downloadable templates to help you create and crop your images perfectly.
Your profile image is quite straightforward, it should be your logo. Most social media profile images are square (or circular). This works well for individual people but for organisations, it can be difficult to fit your logo into this shape. The best approach is to create a dedicated version of your logo for this purpose. Ideally, it will just be an icon because your name will be written alongside anyway and the icon will work better as the profile image will be displayed smaller on tablets and phones.
Most banner images work well with normal photos (as opposed to graphics). They automatically scale and crop to suit the viewer's screen size and normal photos accommodate this very well, as long as the main subject is not very close to one of the edges. If you choose to create dedicated graphics for your banner image, and especially if you include text, be aware that your text may be cut off and graphics distorted as the banner image scales to suit the device size. This can look quite unprofessional.
Each social media platform uses slightly different dimensions for their images. Some profile images are square and some are circular so make sure your logo/icon works in both formats. Each banner has different proportions so you may need to optimise your banner image for each platform independently.
For reference, here are the recommended dimensions for the different platforms. All dimensions in pixels.
|Profile image||Banner image|
|200 x 200 (circle)||1680 x 460|
|180 x 180 (square)||820 x 314|
|140 x 140 (square)||800 x 200|
How to use the free template
The downloadable template includes sample profile and banner images that are already optimised for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. All you need to do is open them in an appropriate image editor like Photoshop, Gimp or Seashore and drop your image over the top. Each template indicates a 'safe area' inside which you can confidently position your main subject or any text to ensure that it will be visible on all screen sizes and all devices.