Create the perfect Facebook cover photo 2017
Although there are dozens of reasons why you would want to create the perfect Facebook cover photo, the main motive is always the same – to impress.
The cover photo is the largest piece of real estate you have on your profile, so you’d better make good use of it. Of course you can always put your company’s logo and a slogan such as “best valued products”, but that’s rarely effective.
And just to be clear from the start, I am not talking about a company’s Facebook cover photo. I am talking about the one on your personal profile. Why? Well, one of the most effective (and practically free) ways to attract new customers is through commenting in groups and on pages. However, you can’t always comment using your company’s page. On the top of that you are much more relatable when you use your personal profile.
You can put some beautiful scenery or an edited mockup, but “synchronizing” your cover photo with your profile picture is far more impressive. So let me show you how you can too create a stunning facebook cover in just 15 minutes.
Step 1 – Figure out the composition
Obviously the first thing you need to do is figure out what you want on your Facebook profile and cover photo. You can browse for inspirations by googling clever facebook cover photos or check some examples of funny and create Facebook profile covers here.
The real beauty of a well-integrated work comes when your Facebook profile picture looks normal until people land on your page… then they see the whole picture. Literally. You know what makes a joke funny? A careful mix of shock and surprise. The physicist Richard Feynman calls it the “kick of the discovery”. In other words you find something funny or exciting when the outcome is unexpected.
“Yesterday I shot an elephant in my pajamas,” goes the old Groucho Marx joke. “How it got in my pajamas I have no idea.”
As you can see my profile picture seems pretty normal at first. It’s not until you open my page that you see the epic intergalactic battle. As Yoda said “The Force is strong with this one”.
Step 2 – Setting up the right sizes
Now bear in mind that Facebook updates the size of the cover and profile images almost every year, so you will need to check the dimensions before starting work. As of this moment (April 2017), they are as follows:
Facebook Cover picture: Must be at least 828 x 315 pixels, as anything less than that will be stretched and won’t look nice (not what we are going for here). The minimum size is 399 x 150 pixels, but I highly recommend NOT going for it. Optimal results are achieved for RGB and JPG files that are less than 100 kb. If your image is larger, you can use a smart JPEG and PNG compression, such as TinyJPG.com
Facebook Profile picture: Must be at least 180 x 180 pixels. It will appear as 160 x 160 pixels. Photo thumbnail will appear throughout Facebook at 32 x 32 pixels.
Seriously, it’s important to make sure you are working with the right sizes, as I’ve lasted about an hour carefully editing the structure of my composition only to realize I was working with the 2016 sizes… talking about dumb mistakes.
Step 3 – Creating the composition
So you have an idea of what you want to compose and you know the Facebook picture sizes. Let’s get down to work then. By far the easiest way to create your masterpiece is through Photoshop. Don’t worry you don’t need to be a master designer to do that (I certainly am not one). Here’s the quickest way to create your masterpiece without any prior knowledge.
- Go to Helpx.Adobe and download their Facebook cover photo and profile picture template by clicking the Get Files button. Extract and open the file.
- When you open the file you will see 4 layers on the right side, called Facebook Frame, Artwork, Profile Picture and Cover Photo. On their page Adobe go through a detailed explanation of how to work with the template, but I find it unnecessarily complicated. You can follow their way or give mine a go.
- Right click on Profile picture and select Convert to Smart Object. Then double click on the thumbnail to open it.
- Open the files you want to edit by right clicking on them and selecting Open with Photoshop. Unlock the image (if it is locked) by double clicking on the locker icon.Then grab the image and drag it to the Profile picture layer that you should have opened.
- Scale the profile picture by having it selected and then press Ctrl+T (for Windows) or Cmd+T (for Mac). Hold Shift while scaling it down to ensure that height and width are kept proportionate. You can check more Photoshop shortucts here.
- Repeat the same steps for the Cover photo layer as well. It will be a bit more tricky since you need to make sure that there is a smooth transition, but it shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes. As for Darth Vader and the Storm Trooper I used PNG files as it saved me time separating them from the background.
- In case you are wondering what the original picture looked like, here it is. I haven’t done much editing – some slight modifications to the background and I made the lightsaber a bit more realistic (and blue).
- Once you’ve completed the whole composition and each image aligns perfectly, it’s time to save them. Open the layers Profile picture and Cover picture and press Ctrl+Shift+S (for Windows) or Cmd+Shift+S (for Mac). That’s the equivalent to Save As, which you can select from the drop down menu under File. Save the images as JPEG in order to be smaller. Quality is not sacraficed.
- Upload the images to Facebook. Time to impress now.
I understand that not everyone has access to Photoshop and not everyone wants to work with it. That’s fine.
If you want to use online services then I can suggest checking those:
- Canva – they have a pre-made templates for Facebook cover photo, so you won’t spend valuable time creating yours from scratch.
- Fotor – another great online service that will help you design your cover photo in matter of minutes.
- PicMonkey – in my opinion not as great as the other two, but will still help you get the job done while offering you freedom to experiment.
I hope this guide helped you design a stunning Facebook cover picture that not only impresses your friends, but also leads to new leads (no pun intended). Also feel free to send me your work, which I will include in some of the future articles.
Thank you for reading.