Human brains process visual contents 60,000 times faster than text. That’s why visual contents own the internet. The biggest proof is Facebook. In 2011, Facebook launched their Timeline feature. Timeline saw a 65% increase in engagement overnight. The success of visual-social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram just corroborates that viewpoint.
As a designer, I have to make different types of visual contents for social media which includes infographics, typography, data visualization and miscellaneous graphics. The main challenge is you have to design at scale for social media. It needs to be done in a very short time in order to keep up with the dynamic nature of social media. Here are 5 tips for designing effective visual contents at scale.
1. Know your social media platform
You need to know which social media platform you are working with. Each social media platform has a different size, dimension and formatting requirement. For example; if you are designing a content for Facebook, you need to keep in mind that how the content is going to look like after uploading it on Facebook dramatically reduces the picture quality. So if you have used red color for text and fonts are very small, readers are going to have a very hard time reading those texts. Where on the other hand, if you upload the same content on Pinterest, there won’t be such issue. So you must know which social media platform are you working with.
2. Size matters
Another very important thing is the size of your content. I am talking about the dimensions not the file size. Though you can upload any kind of visual content in most of social media, research shows that they work effectively only when you follow the dimension guidelines. For example, whenever you boost a post on Facebook, it appears on the right side of your Facebook home page as a sponsor ad.
The ads shows up in 16:9 ratio. So what if you are using a 4:3 or 1:1 picture? Exactly, the top and bottom part of the image will be cropped out. But what happens when you post a 16:9 image on Instagram? It will be cropped as a 1:1 image. So you might be thinking that now you have to make two separate posts of a same campaign for these. Actually you don’t. If you make one post (16:9) and put the main text right in the middle you can use it as a 1:1 (or 4:3) post without facing any issue.
See also: The ideal length of everything online.
3. Too much text?
A very important key point of designing an effective content is to use less text. Use less text, but your message should be clear. The text has to be powerful enough to grab the attention of the viewers at the very first glance. In some social media platforms, you can’t use too much text even if you want to. Facebook, for example, does not allow you to advertise posts if more than 20% of the image is occupied by text. So you need to use the most out of your texts. That’s why powerful typography becomes a key to your success.
4. Optimize for internet
As a graphics designer who’s been working on digital platforms over the past 3 years, one of the most important things I have learned is: Optimizing your design for internet. This is a must do, otherwise all your hard work goes in vain. The final result may look awesome on your PC, but it might not look the same when uploaded on the internet. This is why using the right formats and softwares is a key.
5. Keep it simple
Lastly, the basic of all design theory, keep it as simple as possible. Do not put too many elements or information in your design. That’s what the captions are there for. Keeping some empty spaces here and there does not hurt (at WebAble, we love white space for selective attention). Make it easy for your viewers to understand your message. Play with vibrant colors, play with typography, arrange all the components properly and yes, you will definitely come up with a brilliant design which works for your brand.
While it is important to create great visual contents, you should treat this as just another important piece in the puzzle. My designs are powered by content strategy, copywriting and optimization by specialized teams at WebAble Digital. It is really a team-work. Powerful and professional copywriting takes your visuals to the next level. Also, you should make sure your designs reach the right people on right platforms, at the right time and in right context.