All the Dimensions and Best Practices You’ll Need for Your Facebook Cover Image
On March 30th, 2012, Facebook transitioned everyone’s wall to the “timeline” layout. This included personal profile pages as well as fan pages. Along with this update came the addition of a banner section at the top of your wall. This section is called the “Cover Photo” or “Cover Image.” It’s actually a very useful new feature and provides a great opportunity for better branding on Facebook pages.
This how-to guide will help you create fantastic cover photo’s for your facebook page while also showing you some of the things you need to consider. You can even download a FREE layered template (for Photoshop or GIMP) to use as a guideline while creating your page. Then it will be up to you to get creative and put together a great cover photo for your business page or personal profile.
Things You’re NOT Allowed To Do
Alas, it wouldn’t be Facebook without a few extra rules thrown at you. Unfortunately, these rules restrict some very effective marketing tactics that you could’ve used. Before you get too attached to your awesome Facebook cover photo idea, you should review the Facebook Page Guidelines. There’s this little section in there about cover photos:
All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.
Covers may not include:
- price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”;
- contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;
- references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or
- calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
Boo! Really? We can’t even use calls to action? That’s craziness. What is the point of having a page if you can’t even ask people to “Like” it? Sigh. *Mini Rant Over* Better get creative with your cover images!
Using the Right Dimensions and Layout
Let’s get into what you CAN do and HOW you should layout your image. First of all, cover images are 851 x 315 pixels in size. That’s 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels high.
I suggest you use those exact dimensions when you’re creating your Facebook cover photo. Otherwise Facebook may stretch and scale your image to those dimensions. That might cause poor resolution or skewed looking covers. You want this to leave a good impression. After all, it is the first thing people will see when they visit your profile or page.
But wait, there’s 3 items that get put on top of your cover photos.
1. The most obvious is your profile photo. It doesn’t take up much space but you should know where it appears. I’ve seen some really neat cover designs where they utilized their profile photo in creative ways. The profile photo starts 24 pixels in from the left side of the image. Then continues for 133 pixels in width. The part that covers the image is 74 pixels high.
- profile image (portion over-top of your cover): 133 x 74 pixels.
- appears: 24 pixels from the left.
2. Something a number of similar guides miss is the Facebook Sign-Up Banner. If a viewer visits your page without being logged into Facebook, there’s a rather large banner that gets slapped into the top right corner of the image. That banner is slightly transparent, but basically covers up anything below it. Like your logo. So be careful of this one. Here’s a screenshot of what I mean.
That sign-up banner occurs 18 pixels from the right of the image and 18 pixels from the top. In total, it covers 439 x 122 pixels.
3. Lastly, Facebook will put a small 1 pixel border around the outside of the image and around the profile photo. This border is actually slightly transparent. It doesn’t really interfere with most designs.
Oh, and a small slightly off-topic piece of information… the profile photo minimum size is 180 x 180 pixels. So if you’re having troubles getting your profile photo to look good, try using those dimensions.
Download the FREE Layered Template for Photoshop or GIMP
I created a layered template that contains the position of all the elements on a Facebook cover image. It makes my life easier. Maybe it will make your life easier too. You can download the template for use with Photoshop (.psd) or GIMP (.xcf) by clicking here. You will get a zip file with source images for both image editors. There’s no catch to downloading this template. Just click and the download will start. Of course, I would appreciate it if you shared this guide with your friends.
If you just want the (non-layered) .jpg, save this screenshot to your computer (click on the image to get a full-sized view):
You are free to use this template in any way with attribution. It is licensed to you as Creative Commons by Attribution.
Adding Your Cover Photo on Facebook
This last part is pretty easy. Once you’ve created your image, the only thing left to do is upload it to Facebook and set your cover.
- Log into Facebook
- Go to Your Profile or Page that you want to add the Cover Photo
- There will be a button called “Add a Cover” in the top right (or it will be called “Change Cover” if you already have a cover photo). Click the button.
- Select Upload Photo…
- Choose the image off of your computer. And you’re done!
Share Your Cover Photo Examples
In this guide, we explored the Facebook Page Guidelines and how that might affect the design of your cover photo. Then we dove right into the dimensions and layouts you’ll need to use. I hope you found it helpful!
Once you’ve created your brand new Facebook cover image, why don’t you come back and show us all what you did? Leave a comment below and inspire us with your great designs!