How to Customize Your Twitter Page

by Content Solutions on February 7, 2011

Lately I’ve seen way too many Twitter pages that are very generic for a business or company. Whether it’s a personal account or one for your business, every Twitter page should represent your identity in some way. Twitter is nice in providing users a choice of themes and backgrounds, but there are only so many combinations that one can make. If you want to stand out from the crowd, or just make sure the page stands well for your business, you need to customize. But where to start?

The main customization on Twitter happens with the background. Let’s assume that there is no access to an image editor. You can still find and upload a background graphic and choose to tile it or not. While Twitter makes this a simple process, here are some design tips I can provide that will keep your teenage nephew from saying, “Hey, your page looks like a unicorn puked a rainbow on it, huh!”

Step 1: Access your account settings.

Settings Image

Step 2: Choose to edit your Design

Step 3: Click on CHANGE BACKGROUND IMAGE.  A little box should now appear where you can select a file from your computer to upload.

background upload box

Step 4: Upload an image and click save changes.

With Twitter recently changing its layout format, many backgrounds that were once great advertising space have now been completely covered. The left and right margins on the page only leave room for a maximum of 108 pixels between the tweet frame and the edge of the window. That’s not much space for seeing any cohesive image. Thankfully the side bar has become somewhat transparent, so the faint image can still be seen behind it.

Without an image editor, you can still make your page attractive just by choosing the right image for the background. Are you designing for a business? Then most likely you will want to represent that in some way. There are several options for images to consider.

Photographs: If chosen carefully, photographs can be a nice accent in the background. Here are some design tips for photographs as a background:

  • You image should be at least 1280 x 1024 pixels, large enough to fill the entire screen. The only limiting factor is that Twitter will only show images less than 800K, so if your image is too large, it won’t display. Try saving it as a medium quality .jpg.
  • Stay away from people as your subject matter. Most of the photograph will be covered up anyway.
  • Try to choose a photograph that sticks to a limited number of colors. The fewer colors in the background, the less distracting it is, thus keeping the attention on what’s more important – your tweets!
  • If you don’t have a photograph that fits your business, then consider a stock photo. Try looking on sites like istock, shutterstock, or fotosearch.  Here you can find stock photos that are purchasable for use in print or online publications for a reasonable fee.

    People in your background

    Here is what happens if you use people as the subject matter. The subjects are mostly covered and the color that stands out most is from the background.This also shows what happens when the image is not large enough to fill up the entire twitter background.

Other images of gif, jpg, and png format: If a photograph doesn’t quite work, then you can try tiling another image. Here are some design tips for trying to tile an image:

  • The larger in size your image is (width and height) the fewer times it will be tiled. This is can be good or bad depending on the actual image.
  • You’ll want to pick an image that is not very detailed. The more details the harder it is to tell the content of the actual image if it is tiled.
  • Again, I’ll emphasize that the fewer colors in the background the better. So if your image is a very bold mix of colors, tiling it would not be a great idea.  However, a one or two color image may look nice.
  • If your logo is mostly text, then tiling it would take viewers attention in the wrong direction. People will be busy trying to read your background, instead of reading your tweets! A symbol tiled would look better.

    Twitter Text tile vs. symbol tile

    On the left you can see the effects of a text logo tile vs. how a symbol tile would look, on the right.

Step 5:  Change your design colors and click save changes.

Twitter Design ColorsOnce you have decided on your image and uploaded it, then it’s time to coordinate your other screen colors with your background. Here are some things to consider when choosing your screen colors:

  • The background color is not necessary to change if you have a photograph. If your image is a png, or transparent, you can change your background color to coordinate with the image using this setting.
  • The text needs to be legible on white and on whatever color you choose for your sidebar. The most legible colors are colors close to black, so black, dark brown, or dark gray would all be good choices.
  • The links appear all over the page on different backgrounds. So your link color should be strong enough to stand out on white, on the light blue navigation bar, and on whatever color you choose as your sidebar. You don’t want it to be too close to your text color either, because then it will be hard to distinguish your links from your actual tweet text.
  • The sidebar color should accent your background, but be subtle enough that your links and text will be very legible on it. Using very contrasting colors like green text on a red sidebar will give readers a headache and make them run screaming from your page. Think tints and shades. If your image is mostly red and green, then a light green sidebar with darker green links will look nice.
  • The sidebar outline is there to make your side bar stand out. If you would like a definite line to separate your side bar from your tweets, then choose a darker or contrasting color as the outline. If you’d rather your side bar blend nicely next to your tweets, then the outline can be the same color as the sidebar itself, thus leaving no real outline. Or, as in the image above, a subtle color change leaves a very faint outline.

Step 6: Enjoy the new look.

Once you’ve clicked save changes, your twitter page should be all decked out. Here’s how the one I did above turned out.  (For privacy reasons I’ve covered a couple of areas.)

Twitter Final layout

If you’re a business and are looking for someone to make your social media sites more appealing, then feel free to contact us for assistance. We create custom graphics for Twitter backgrounds as well as Facebook landing pages. It’s always a nice feeling to know your customers enjoy coming back to your site time and again.

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