How to Improve Your Social Media Graphic

Social media can be a very polarizing topic. It seems that most people either really love social media, or really hate it. No matter what side of the debate you’re on, the one thing we can all agree with is that social media is very dominant in our lives. It’s basically impossible to run your business or personal brand without at least one social media account. In this article, we won’t get into the specifics of designing posts for specific social media platforms, but rather the mindset and guidelines for designing engaging and effective social media posts. By focusing on guidelines rather the specific platforms, you’ll be able to make a post for whatever platform your client is using. Also, today’s most popular social media platforms may not even exist a year from now, so understanding how to design for social media as a whole is much more valuable than learning how to design for a specific platform.

The Basics

There’s a lot that goes into a good social media graphic, but there are a few basic elements that every graphic should contain.

Make your graphics readable. If there is any text in your graphic, no matter how simple the message, make sure that everyone can read it. If you’ve taken the time to include text, it’s important. Get a second opinion if you’re not sure if your text is readable to the average person. Use contrast in your designs, a great way to catch people’s attention is with contrast. In addition to being eye-catching, contrast also aids in the readability of your design. So you wouldn’t use light gray text on a white background. Understand the goal of your project, designing a fabulous graphic starts with understanding the purpose of that graphic. Are you trying to sell a product? Or are you announcing a new and exciting contest? These are very different goals, so you wouldn’t use the exact same design for both goals.


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Take It To The Next Level

Now that we’ve covered the bare minimum requirements for making a graphic that really drives engagement, it’s time to take everything up a notch.

1- Pick your branding colors and keep them consistent. A huge part of designing for social media is brand recognition. When someone sees a picture, they should be able to identify which brand shared that picture. All the images you design should be cohesive and send a very specific message.

2- Copy what works from other designers. Great design takes cues from what has worked in the past and improves upon that. There is a good reason why some things work, and some things don’t. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Several designers have worked to figure out what constitutes a good design. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t constantly work towards improving what already exists, but focus on working with a baseline and moving forward from that point.

3- Choose the correct canvas size for the platform. While we won’t be getting into the specific sizes for each social media platform in this article, you should know the exact canvas or document size that you’ll need. You never want to design an image that is incorrectly sized for the platform. So let’s use Pinterest as an example. The images on Pinterest are very tall and narrow. Designing an image that is very short and wide wouldn’t perform as well as it could on Pinterest. The same goes for any other social media platform that you’re designing for.


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Advanced Techniques

Tell the story with your designs. When people view your designs on social media, they should be able to follow along with the story. This means that all the elements in your design work together to tell one story. Everything has a purpose, take the viewer on a visual journey that provides the required information, but also allows the viewer an opportunity to answer their own questions and come to their own conclusions. Leave a lasting impression on your viewers. To accompany telling a visual story, you want to make a mark on your viewer. You want to make them reflect on what they’ve seen. That reflection leads to further sharing of the content, which increases your client’s audience size.

This is how you achieve your overall goal of driving engagement. By creating thought-provoking content, you empower the viewers to take action and move forward.