When puzzling, always start with the corners.

First Impressions are important when it comes to social media. In the world of Facebook, to establish a great first impression, there are many pieces to the puzzle. As an amateur puzzle enthusiast, I know when puzzling one always starts with the corner pieces. When you want to make a great first impression on Facebook, your cover photo isn’t just a corner piece, it’s all four. Here are four ideas I like to think over before designing any Facebook cover photo.

1. Establish your Goals

If your goals are to cultivate an active community on your page, interacting with your customers is an important part of this. Changing your cover photo monthly or bi-monthly may be a necessity. It will keep things fresh and also be an outlet for promotions or events.

If you are not really pushing an interactive community on your page, you should be. However, time and cost may not allow for consistent interaction with your customers. If this is the case, your cover photo may be in place for long stretches of time.

Knowing how long your cover photo will be in place will effect the design from a conceptual level. Establish how often you will be changing out your cover photo and start sorting from there.

2. Find the Right Tab for the Right Blank

Tabs and Blanks are the proper term for the connecting elements of puzzle pieces. As great as my love for puzzles is, I had to do some research to find these terms. Just as I researched proper puzzle nomenclature, you too must research the proper size of cover photo, and how it fits in your page.

The dimensions of a cover photo is 851 pixels wide by 315 Pixels tall. These two numbers are easy enough to remember by themselves. However there are many other dimensions that need to be followed in fitting your cover photo perfectly in place. You want to avoid hiding content behind your profile picture, or the links and information that are displayed at the bottom of the photo area.

Just how big are these particular elements? The Facebook Help Center has great resources for finding the dimensions, and making sure you don’t break your tab, forcing it into the wrong blank.

3. Start From One Side and Work to the Other

When I get a heavy puzzling session started, a technique I fall back on is starting from one side then working to the other. This concept lends itself nicely to designing a successful Facebook cover photo.

If you look at any blank Facebook page, there is an uneven balance. The profile picture causes the top of the page to list left. A way to counteract this, is to design elements right of center. It’s not always easy and may seem counterintuitive when looking at the raw image. A right heavy image when placed within the Facebook layout brings balance to your page as a whole.

4. It’s Not a Crossword Puzzle.

Don’t forget the inspired puzzle analogy I’ve been using is specifically for jigsaw puzzles (the best puzzles). The main component of jigsaw puzzles is, for the most part, pictures. Some jigsaw puzzles do have words in them, but the picture is still the main focus.

Words are a great tool for communicating with customers, and they can be effective elements in your cover photo. But too many words can busy up your image, and create a message nobody will take the time to solve.

A good rule of thumb is less than 20 percent of your cover photo should be text.

There are A LOT of pieces that go into successfully utilizing social media. It can seem daunting. A 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle can be daunting as well. But as you spread the pieces out in front of you, remember always start with the corners.

John Blades | Jr. Graphic Designer


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