Great graphic design is essential in social media. So much of a brand’s image and engagement on social media depends on its visual elements. It only makes sense that brands (and indeed individuals) want their social media profiles to be as visually appealing as possible. How to design social media graphics that will entice the viewer? There are several key factors. Let’s take a look at some of the best social media design tips!
There are many different kinds of social media graphics. From posts, stories, videos and even profile visuals, they all need to work together and create a cohesive image of the brand.
Social media is, above all, a visual experience. If you want to learn how to design for social media in a way that will resonate with your audience, you must take several things into account.
- Your brand identity – what are your core values, missions, and messages?
- Your customer base – who buys your products/services? How old are they, what’s their job? What are their interests?
- Your visual identity – what colors, shapes, and other imagery are associated with your brand?
The best kind of social media post design is the one that combines all these elements in a harmonious way. How to design for social media? Let’s learn all about it and take a look at some of the best graphic design tips for social media!
1. Keep it short and sweet
No one likes mile-long blocks of text. We come to social media for relaxing, and bite-sized information. In 2021 it was reported that human attention span has shrunk to a sobering 47 seconds. This means that it is more difficult than ever to capture the users’ attention on social media, and even more difficult to retain it.
You should aim for brevity and conciseness in any kind of post. The best duration for video posts are different across platforms.
- Instagram video post shouldn’t be longer than 1 minute.
- TikTok videos should be somewhere in the 7-15 second range
- Facebook videos should be just under a minute.
- The longest video range is, understandably, for YouTube, where the preferred video length is about 2 minutes.
The same goes for photo posts. Keep them streamlined and brief. Make sure the captions aren’t too long, and that the sentences are clear and to the point.
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2. Use GIFs
No matter how you pronounce them (as long as it’s not JIF), GIFs can be an amazing tool when you create a post for your social media. If you’re unsure whether to use a photo post or a video, a GIF is the perfect middle ground.
Many social media post design tips overlook them as viable marketing visuals, but they allow for some inspiring design.
You can use GIFs as brief teasers for bigger pieces of promotional material, as well as standalone posts. Reaction GIFs are a huge part of internet meme culture and, when used correctly, they can generate massive user engagement. This is especially true for Twitter, where brands can directly engage and communicate with their customers.
3. Add text to photo posts
This is one of the most common graphic design tips for social media. Most people won’t read the caption on a post if it doesn’t immediately spark their interest. By putting the most important information directly within the frame of a post, you have a much higher chance of getting the user to actually take in what you’re saying.
However, social media post design tips such as these often neglect to stress the importance of choosing the right information to put in the text boxes of your posts. If you’re offering a special deal for your products, the most important thing to say is what kind of a deal it is (50% off, BOGO etc.). And then in the caption you can elaborate about the conditions, timeframe and other relevant information.
4. Use bright colors
It seems obvious, but it’s amazing how often social media design tips neglect the power of a bright color palette. With minimalism and sad beige aesthetics on the rise, lots of brands opt for subdued colors. While that’s a valid choice for your brand’s website and overall look, it’s usually brighter colors that help draw attention on social media.
The best way to add pops of color without being too garish and tacky is to combine your color palette with one or two accent colors. Using the same accent colors will not only save you from choosing new color accents for every post, but also provide a nice common thread throughout all your posts. That way it will become an easy identifier for your brand.
5. Keep it consistent
Consistency is one of the most important graphic design tips for social media, but also a vital thing to keep in mind for almost any graphic design project. You can have the most beautiful social media marketing design, but if the visual elements don’t complement and work off each other, the whole project will look cluttered and messy.
One of the tried-and-true ways of having consistency across various channels is to create a social media post template for all of them. Creating a similar template for different platforms will allow you to curate and cultivate a common identity on any social media platform.
As we’ve mentioned before, color schemes are also a great way of creating consistency. However, there are many other ways to achieve that as well.
For example, fonts are a crucial visual element that’s often overlooked in social media. But, as mentioned in one of the previous social media post design tips, text can be an important part of a post. A nice font can be a wonderful common thread across posts and different social media.
Additional visual elements such as logos or illustrations can also spruce up your post design and provide consistency.
6. Avoid stock photography where you can
Stock photos are often regarded as impersonal and generic (which they can be) and can signal a lack of effort in design. When you create a post, you want it to catch the users’ eye and make them pay attention.
So, creating your own social media photos, or even hiring a professional photographer to take them for you is a much better option. People respond to sincerity and authenticity, and even an impromptu, unstaged photo you took with your phone will make your brand seem more genuine than a stock photo.
Stock imagery can be a perfectly valid tool in graphic design, when used sparingly and as enhancement rather than the centerpiece of your post. Keep the use of stock photos minimal and showcase your creativity and uniqueness.
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7. Be mindful of the visual communication
This is one of the most important graphic design tips for social media. Clear visual communication is the essence of good graphic design.
But how to design social media graphics that are visually appealing? There are a few principles all designers should keep in mind.
We don’t like when things are off-kilter. Striking a balance between different visual elements is paramount in graphic design. Make sure you make all the visuals proportional and balanced in their alignment.
If you decide to play with perspective, make sure it remains visually anchored in the frame of the post.
Not all visual elements hold equal importance for the users. The term hierarchy in graphic design refers to arranging different pieces of information in such a way that the most important data is featured in the most prominent place in the post.
Space in social media posts is precious and every millimeter counts. Make sure you put the information you want the user to remember in the place with the most visibility. The handy demonstration below sums up what this cluster of social media design tips is all about.
Informational and engaging social media post design isn’t about cramming in as much information as you can. In order to let your design breathe, you must leave a bit of empty space between the various visual elements.
This empty, or negative space, serves as a respite of sorts, which allows the viewer to take in one piece of information fully before moving onto the next one. Negative space is vital in keeping the design clear and neat.
8. Create branded content
No matter how you approach engaging with your social media audience, your profile is a brand profile at the end of the day. This means your profile should contain your brand’s main imagery such as a logo, letterhead, or even a mascot.
This seems like the most banal of social media post design tips, but people like familiarity. While you should avoid monotony in your posts, a small logo in one of the bottom corners is not only good for brand recognition, it will also help your posts be more unified in their appearance.
Branded content on social media is especially relevant during big campaigns and announcements.
Rebranding is another instance where you want to make more branded content than usual. This helps your customers create a link between the old and the new brand style, as well as usher in the new brand identity. Highlighting the similarities and differences will help you segue into your new brand style without alienating your audience.
When you think about how to design social media graphics, you must think about what kind of design will best compliment your brand. We hope these tips will help you create the most appealing and engaging social media posts.