Social Media Graphics: 5 Simple Tips for the Non-Designer

Making social media graphics can be hard sometimes, especially for someone not familiar with social media or graphic design. Here are 5 simple tips to keep in mind while creating social media graphics for your brand!
  1. Keep Your Brand in Mind Always
When you are making social media graphics, make sure you always include some part of your brand on the graphic. That can include your logo and anything from your brand guidelines like your brand’s fonts, colors, or even certain design elements. Using parts of your brand on the graphic will allow the audience to recognize your brand easily and increase your brand awareness. The goal is to keep your social media graphics cohesive with your brand so if someone is scrolling and sees the post, they will immediately know that it is your brand.
See our Instagram page, for example. We consistently use our brand colors, fonts, and our unique design elements from our brand guide to keeping a cohesive identity. Doing this makes it easier for us to be recognizable on a social media feed! 
2. Make Sure You Are Using the Right Size for Each Social Media Platform
This one is crucial for posting social media graphics. When it comes to sizing, you want to make sure you are using the correct size and orientation for whichever platform you are planning to use. Below is a list of some platforms and the post size requirements for each.
  • Image Post:  1200 x 630 px
  • Event Cover Photo: 1920 x 1080 px
  • Image Post: 1080 x 1080 px
  • Story Post: 1080 x 1290 px
  • Image Post: 1200 x 627 px


3. Be Mindful of the Images You Are Using
Make sure when you are making a social media graphic you want to choose the best image for that graphic. You want a high-resolution image whether it is a stock photo or your own. No one wants to see a blurry image on their feed.  If you are using a stock photo make sure you are purchasing the image or are downloading from a free image site like Unsplash or Pexels. We don’t want to see any watermarked images either! 
When you are selecting images for your social media graphic you also want to keep your brand in mind once again. To make the graphic more cohesive with your brand identity, try to use photos that implement your brand colors. This will also help with brand awareness. Another thing to consider is using images that represent who your brand is. For example, if your brand is a snowboard manufacturer, you wouldn’t want to use pictures in a warmer climate or a beach. You would want to use photos that represent the snowboarding brand and culture. 
If you are just using a stand-alone image for your social media post make sure you are putting your logo on the image somewhere. This helps connect the company with the image and again boost that brand awareness!
Another point to consider with images is the composition. Make sure that you are choosing an image that highlights the important elements you are presenting. If you have a busy image and are wanting to focus on one thing you can crop it to make sure that you have a clear subject. You also want to make sure that the subject is in the frame, but is also visually appealing. To make a composition more visually appealing consider using the Rule of Thirds to adjust the image.

The rule of thirds is a type of composition in which an image is divided evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and the subject of the image is placed at the intersection of those dividing lines, or along one of the lines itself.

Remember: People on social media love to get personal, so when it comes to your social media graphics, you use your own images that highlight your company. This gives the audience a more authentic look at the company since they are original photos instead of curated stock images that anyone can download. If you don’t have any photos, no worries! We know a guy! 😊
4. Using Backgrounds
Using colors as a background for social media graphics is probably the most popular way to create graphics. You can either use a bold color background or a patterned background. Using a bold color will definitely help your content stand out on a social media feed. Using color as a background can make the graphic look clean and have a minimalistic look. You can also add a pattern to a colored background if you want to add a subtle element to the graphic. If you include a pattern just make sure that it isn’t too busy so it takes away from the text. If it’s done right you can have a balanced and attractive graphic!


background example design


You can also use an image as a background. If you choose to do this make sure that the image isn’t too busy where it takes away from the text of the graphic. You want to find an image that works more as a background element and not as the main focus. To help keep the text the main focus and I suggest you add a layer on top of the photo. This can be just adding a colored layer and dropping the opacity enough where you can still make out the image but aren’t distracted by it. The graphic below is a great example of how to do this. The photo isn’t taking away from the main focus of the graphic because it is muted in the background. 



background example 3



5. Adding Text and Photos
When you are adding text to a social media graphic there are a couple of things you need to consider. One of them being the actual font you are choosing and the second how the text is displayed overall.
Displaying a message on a social media graphic the font choice can make or break the message. With this being said, you want to make sure the font that you are choosing fits the message and matches the mood/tone. You also want to make sure the font is legible. If you cannot read the text, the graphic is pretty much worthless. Make sure you are choosing a font that can be read easily. Another thing to consider when it comes to fonts is how many you are using. You don’t want your font choice to get out of control and have so many that it becomes overwhelming to look at. Instead, try to stick with using 2 fonts with different styles. But never go over using more than 3 different fonts for a graphic.
One more thing to think of is how the text is being displayed overall on the graphic. The text should always be clear and easy to read. You want to make sure that there is high contrast between the background and the text so there is no struggle to read the text. If you are using a colored background consider using a less saturated complementary color or a neutral color.



Complementary colors are two colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel. 

Also, make sure you are making the most important text on the graphic the biggest. This is helpful for the viewers so they can understand what the graphic is about within seconds. This is one of the nice things about social media graphics because you can grab their attention with a minimal graphic but then include more details in the description post. For example in a “We’re Hiring” graphic, the biggest text on the graphic will be something on the lines that the company is hiring. Then you can include a call to action to either their website for more information or just include it in the post description!
You can also integrate text with an image for social media graphics. You can do this in many ways. One is you can include a photo on the graphic by containing it in a shape. This can almost mimic a picture frame feel. Like the example graphic above, the photo on the graphic is contained in a circle. You can contain an image for a graphic in any shape. An existing or a unique shape that you make!
Another way is having the text and the image have their own “space”. This can include dividing the graphic in two where the text and the photo have separate parts. This is usually shown with the photo on one side of the graphic and text on the other with a solid background. You can add design elements to this approach so that the graphic doesn’t become too dry. Try to carry some elements from the text side onto the photo like in the example below. The image and the text are their own separate parts, but feel whole with the design elements added to the right side of the photo with the heading overlapping into the photo.


If you are wanting additional help with your social media or graphics, we can help! Contact us here!

Author Info

Hi there! My name is Sidney Meyers and I am one of the Graphic Designers here at Systemax. I am responsible for creating artwork, anywhere from logos to social media graphics, to fulfill the needs and goals of a variety of different clients. Outside of work, you can most likely find me hanging out with friends, planning my next weekend adventure, or creating projects on my Cricut!