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Insight October 16, 2018

Why Design Matters for Social Media Graphics


You don’t have to be a marketer to know that social media graphicsmatter. Instagram is the fastest-growing social platform by a large margin, after all.

That’s because humans tend to prefer visual information. In fact, we are hard-wired to prioritize visual information; half of the human brain is directly or indirectly involved with processing it.

Well-designed social media graphics are effective because they help people process, understand, and retain your messaging more quickly.

Think about the types of content you tend to engage with on a daily basis. As you’re scrolling through your Facebook News Feed, what types of posts are you more likely to comment on, share with your friends, or remember next week? Studies say that you are, in fact, 650 percent more likely to engage with posts that include images.

Visuals also tend to make information stick. Research shows that you’re more likely to remember pictures than words, especially over longer periods of time.

Typically, when we read text we remember about 10 percent of the information three days later. If you add a visual, that number jumps up to 65 percent. So, the right social media graphicsmay be worth much more than a thousand words when it comes to brand recognition.

In the past, we’ve talked about how (and why) you should be selective with images you curate for your social feed. But it’s also important to know how you can craft your own social media graphics in a way that will elevate your brand and encourage your audience to engage. We’ve compiled some essential design tips to help you get started.

Design Principles to Follow for Engaging Social Media Graphics

Limit your typefaces. When you’re selecting a typeface for your social media graphics, think simple. Our eyes find it difficult to scan multiple typefaces, and legibility should be your number one concern. Given that 80 percent of social media time is spent on a mobile device, you need to make sure that your font choice will look great on mobile — and be easy to read at a glance. Pro Tip: People are much more likely to see your social media graphics on a smaller screen, so bump up that font size.

Be selective with your colors. Designing for social media is all about capturing your audience’s attention in a short amount of time. Using color to create a brand identity is one way to make your posts stand out in a cluttered feed. Just make sure that you are aware of the color contrast. Pro Tip: You want to adjust the contrast of your background image so that it offsets your text color — otherwise you might create visual vibration, where the text appears to bleed into the background.

Use hierarchy to tell your story. Visual hierarchy allows you to quickly convey the relative importance of information in your images. For social media graphics, where skimming is expected, you want to be sure that the most visually dominant feature is the most important part of your message. Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid of scale. Apply scale to objects, elements, or type that demand emphasis — and see how it changes the visual hierarchy.

Keep it simple. You want your social media graphicsto invite engagement, not overwhelm your audience. Make sure that you keep the composition clean, crisp, and clear. Pro Tip: Negative space is good; it allows your elements to breathe. Tracking is good; you can use letter positioning to fill empty spaces, align text, or condense words.

Remember, there isn’t one right way to create social media graphics. What you design will depend on your audience and your brand — but these tips are a good place to start.