How to Create an Eye-Catching Header Photo for the New Twitter Profile

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Are you promoting your brand on Twitter?

Freaking out about creating a good-looking header photo for your Twitter profile?

You’ve probably noticed that striking visual piece in the Twitter profile layout — a full-screen-width banner image, known as a “Header Photo.”

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, Twitter blessed it’s users with a new profile layout that includes a full-width header photo.

But you may have noticed that not every header photo is a home run …

Following the release of twitter new profile layout “New You” last month, I have compiled a few image recommendations to help you create a header photo that looks professional, makes a great first impression, and markets your brand’s best assets — without violating the Twitter Image Terms.

What’s new about the “new you”?

Background image -out, cover image -in, summarize the new twitter profile look. The new web profile lets you use a larger profile photo, customize your header, show off your best Tweets and more. Other features included to the new look are:

  • Best Tweets: Tweets that have received more engagement will appear slightly larger, so your best content is easy to find.
  • Pinned Tweet: Pin one of your Tweets to the top of your page, so it’s easy for your followers to see what you’re all about.
  • Filtered Tweets: Now you can choose which timeline to view when checking out other profiles. Select from these options: Tweets, Tweets with photos/videos, or Tweets and replies.

Feeling Un-Cosy? 5 Steps to Setup a Branded Twitter Profile

If you are an existing twitter user, you may find your old profile header photo a little bit un-cosy after migrating to the new look. With the background image feature gone from the profile area, the massive space occupied by the header photo becomes your next billboard.

In this article I’m going to show you how to make the most of this massive space in five steps.

1. Abide by Twitter Image Policy

Twitter reserves the right to suspend/terminate your account if you don’t comply to the rules. One of this rules states that “You may not use obscene or pornographic images in either your profile photo, header photo, or user background”.  Having that at the back of your mind, let’s proceed to the next step.

2. Map out the exact dimensions and shape

The Twitter header photo is not a common image size, and the rectangular composition includes a cut-out for your profile image in the lower left corner.
This means the best-looking header photos tend to be images that are designed to take advantage of the header photo’s exact size and shape.

Shape and dimension of Header area. Click to view full image

Detailed measurements:

  • Official recommended size for Twitter header photo is: 1500 pixels wide by 500 pixels tall.
  • Profile image cut-out: 211 pixels wide by 125 pixels tall, spaced 90 pixels from the left edge of the header photo.
  • Profile image size: 200 x 200 pixels, with a recommended image upload size of 250 x 250 pixels. (Note: Larger images can be cropped).

Important tips:

  • If you upload an image smaller than 1500 x 500, it will be stretched to fit. This will make your image quality appear slightly grainy or distorted. The best practice is to upload an image that’s sized to Twitter’s dimensions.
  • Screenshot measurements reveal that only 321 pixels are visible from a 500-pixel image upload. The top edge appears to be covered by the Twitter header bar. A test with a 321-pixel tall image became distorted when uploaded, so do upload a 500-pixel tall image even though only the bottom 321 pixels will be visible.

3. Don’t hide content behind your profile picture.

Even though you are granted a massive 1500 pixels by 500 pixels to design a Header Photo doesn’t mean that you have all of that to work with. Because of the way that Profile Image are placed on Twitter profiles, there’s a section of your Header Photo that won’t appear unless you click on it.
Note the area highlighted with dotted lines in the image below: That’s the part of the Header Photo that isn’t immediately visible to your Twitter followers.
The dotted area is not visible unless the viewer clicks on the Header Photo
Unless you are hiding a Christmas tree behind your profile image, it is generally recommended to keep the space clear.

4. Decide contents to include in your header photo

Outside abusive and pornographic contents, Twitter currently does not have any rule limiting users on what kind of contents to display on their profile header image. However, it is the best practice to include only text/image that describe or relates to you.
Use high-quality photographs that are in focus, have balanced color and good lighting, or use photo editing software to optimize your images. You can design an image collage or use one big, beautiful photograph — just keep the cover photo shape in mind when setting up your composition.
Australian Football League Twitter profile. Notice the powerful text on the Header Photo
Your company logo should appear somewhere, usually in your profile image, in which case it is not needed as an extra graphic in your cover photo. If you plan to include text, consider its placement when selecting images.
Here are a few image content ideas suitable for brands:
  • Candid photos of customers enjoying your products (be sure to get permission to use their likeness)
  • Your most popular products
  • Icons of awards won
  • Employees in action
  • Company founders
  • Store interior or exterior
  • Branded vector graphic
You might also consider the following type of text to grab your audience attention:
  • Company tagline or short phrase that explains what your business does
  • An impactful word that embodies your brand
  • Inspiring quote
  • Names of people in your photo
  • Photographer credits
  • Image copyrights

5. Upload your profile header header photo

Now is the easy part. Uploading your profile header photo is as simple as ever.
  1. Log in to your Twitter account.
  2. Go to your profile by clicking on “Me” on the twitter main menus.
  3. Just below the header photo area, click on Edit Profile button.
  4. Click on the Camera Icon on Header Photo space and click Upload from the drop down menu
  5. Reposition and scale your header photo by dragging the image and scale bar below it. When done, click Apply.
  6. Finally, save your changes and you are good to go!
Awesome! If you think you did a great job, inspire others by posting your Twitter profile links on the comment section. GoodLuck!

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