There is no one standard size that works for all social media. You can make the process of creating promo images for social media more efficient with templates and a size checklist. I’m going to share with you a template I use and a cheat sheet for popular social media sizes.

The good news about creating promotional images for social media is many of them use a square shape. I like to start with the largest and size down. I also name my files by size and social media outlet, for example ‘text-wrecks-infog-fb-1200px.png’. This makes finding and uploading the right one very easy.

You can use any image editing tool or even PowerPoint if you have to generate images. A professional program that allows fine tuning of sizes and resolutions will work best. The basic steps are the same for all. Below I will show step-by-step instructions for Adobe illustrator CC.

Basic steps

  • Open up the image editing software and place your template.
  • Place the infographic image
  • Scale the infographic so the title and maybe an interesting fact show in the template boundaries (hold down shift to keep it in proportion).
  • Crop the graphic to the template
  • Save the file in the right format (usually jpg or png)

Advanced tips

  • Customize -Choose part of the infographic and isolate it in an image editing program then add a call to action and background.
  • Overlay the promo image with a “screen” of color or black or white and place promo text on top of it
  • Pull out one interesting statistic and use it to create a teaser promo
  • Create a series of social media promos based on the infographic

Preparing Social Media Files in Adobe Illustrator CC Step-by-step

  • Open up the template in Adobe Illustrator. Notice there are layers for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and artboards labeled and set to the correct sizes.
  • Select the Facebook layer and place the infographic image. I have gone ahead and copied over the infographic files so I can more easily manipulate text and images from the infographic but you could use a high resolution png or flattened file.
  • Scale the infographic so the title and maybe an interesting fact show in the template boundaries (hold down shift to keep it in proportion). I open up the transform tool (object>transform in the file menu) and use uniform percentages with preview turned on to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

scaling a promo image for Facebook

Here is how the graphics for the Facebook promo look when aligned to the Facebook artboard:

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 9.17.50 PM

  • Crop the graphics to the template by aligning the top and left corners of the graphic(s) to the artboard. Twirl open the layer and resize the clipping mask rectangle path if necessary.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 7.28.01 AM

  • Repeat for other social media platforms. You can also add additional artboards using the artboard panel/tool. Notice for the Twitter tool I decided to change up the background, add an overlay and change the title text color.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 9.23.13 PM

  • Save the file in the right format (usually jpg or png). You can export all the files at once.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 9.56.25 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-09 at 9.56.38 PM

Here you can see all three laid out:

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 9.31.27 PM

You can download the social media templates in pdf and Photoshop psd formats for free.

Social Media Sizes

It’s great to use templates, but what sizes should we keep in mind? These do change pretty frequently, but as of right now they are as shown in the list below (from my eBook Create Awesome Infographics).

  • Thumbnails in PNG sized for Facebook and/or Twitter
    • Facebook link image: 1200 x 627
    • Facebook shared Image 1200px x 1200px
    • Twitter shared photo – 1024px x 512 px
    • Twitter in-stream photo preview: 220px x 440px
  • Thumbnails in PNG sized for Instagram
    • Desktop light box view: 612px x 612px
    • Image feed: 510px x 510px
  • Thumbnails of the final and process shots to share on Dribbble
    • small screenshots (400×300 pixels
    • large screenshots for HiDPI/Retina: 800×600 pixels

I hope you’ve found this information on templates and sizes for social media platforms useful. What are your favorite social media platforms? Do you struggle with quickly preparing promo graphics for campaigns?

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Create Awesome Infographics, my eBook on the dirty, gritty, not often told story of how infographics are really made.


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