Twitter’s New Look
Tips for Formatting Your New Header Image
By Timothy S. Jacobson
~The Nonprofit Provocateur~
In case you hadn’t noticed, as of April 2014 Twitter is rolling out a new look. Some are characterizing it as a transition toward a more Facebook-like appearance. Twitter users are being offered a chance to make the switch to the new layout, but not all at once.
In the past (and, still for many, in the present), the top of one’s own Twitter profile consisted of a small profile photo on top of a relatively small header photo which, in turn, laid over the top of the background image. Savvy marketers tended to focus most of the attention on the background image, as that provided much of the usable screen real estate.
Now, the header image, which spans the full width of a profile page, is where it’s at. There’s an area that’s effectively 1500 wide by 360 pixels high that’s available for promoting whatever it is you’re offering people on Twitter. Take advantage of this new opportunity at your earliest convenience!
I have created the following template to make your job much easier. If you use Photoshop or GIMP, use this template as the background image. Add your material layered on top, but lower the opacity of whatever image you throw on top to allow the template to be seen while adding text or other elements, so that you don’t inadvertently cut them off on the top or bottom margin or cover them with the profile pic. Then when you’re done editing, raise the opacity of your background image to 100%, and turn off the view of the template layer.
The official header photo size is 1500 x 500 pixels, up from 1252 x 626 in the old design. If you make the switch to the new design without changing the picture, your old photo will be stretched/re-cropped to fit the new space, which might not look very good.
Unfortunately, you don’t get to use all 500 pixels of height. Seventy pixels on the top and 70 on the bottom (for a total of 140) get chopped. I don’t understand why they do that. In any event, create your image 500 pixels high, but only use the center 360 pixels of height (the green area in my template).
Twitter recommends a profile photo of 400x400 pixels, but it will be resized automatically by Twitter to 240 x 240 pixels.
When I first created my new header image, I made the mistake of centering my business’ logo, slogan and list of services. It looked great on my laptop, but fortunately I tested it on my iPhone right away. The Twitter smartphone app positioned my profile picture right over the top of my business logo and information. Major design faux pas! In the next iteration, I slid the critical image and text to the left, alongside the profile picture, and I inserted a non-critical image in the center. Here’s what the top of my Twitter profile looks like now with the new design:
Here’s how my Twitter header looks on a smartphone. It’s not perfectly optimized for my iPhone, but it’s much better than it was. I think if I further optimize the look for the phone, it will decrease the effectiveness on a computer.
I’ve also seen where a Twitter user effectively placed a pic of her head and torso in the center of the header image. That way, when viewed on a smartphone, the profile pic gets positioned approximately on the shoulders of the person in the header image. Clever!
Please further note that the Twitter header image on mobile devices loses 240 pixels on each end, which leaves 1020 pixels in the center (horizontally) of the image to use for both mobile devices and desktop users.
Don’t neglect to use the digital marketing space provided to you for free by Twitter. You have a chance to create a billboard of sorts for all of your Twitter followers to see. The template I’ve provided should make the work much easier.
If you need a hand with this or other social media marketing, Visjonær Consulting can provide you with assistance. Whether the subject is copywriting, fundraising, marketing, strategic planning, or organizational assessments, we can help. Contact Visjonær today for a free consultation.
Check out the author's website at www.visjonaer.com, Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Visjonaer and find him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TimoJacobson
‘Like’ and/or 'Share' this article below if you use Twitter for marketing. Has your organization made the switch to the new Twitter header? How do you like it? Share your stories!
Tim Jacobson, CEO of Visjonær Consulting, has served as a board member and executive of a variety of nonprofit and for-profit organizations over the past two decades. He's author of the book Explosive Marketing for Nonprofits: Trajectory for Success, to be released in 2014, the executive producer of a documentary film, Mysteries of the Driftless, broadcast on PBS, and author of Amazon best-selling thriller The Kurchatov Penetration. He has been featured dozens of times by TV and radio stations, magazines and newspapers for his organizational consulting, filmmaking, writing, conservation and legal work and for his exploration of international justice and peace issues.
This article is copyright (c) 2014, Timothy S. Jacobson. All rights reserved.