Designer’s cheat sheet for streamlined social media image sizing

Social design simplified

Once your business begins to see value from engagement on social media, maintaining consistent graphics, photos and other social assets across several different social networks will become a challenge. You need to make sure you have an authentic voice matching the audience in each social channel while providing a consistent messaging for your brand.

Design elements can be the most efficient ways to accomplish both of these ends. You’ll quickly discover each social channel will have a unique set of design elements — and that there appears to be no consistency from one network to another. Social networks are constantly evolving; not only are there new networks to maintain, but the existing networks regularly update their offerings.

As with almost every marketing activity, it’s important to build a plan to streamline the design process to update design elements across networks.

This cheat sheet provides image sizing recommendations for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+. (I’m including Google+ although the social network is evolving into Photos and Streams. No timetable for Google+ has been set.) It can become very time consuming to keep a consistent presence if you are not prepared for those changes. This cheat sheet can help.

Note: We created this cheat sheet assuming that you typically develop marketing campaigns and as such will be creating similar graphics across all social networks. That is why we will describe the dimensions for “profile pics,” for example, across all networks to allow you to create all needed profile photos at once. This list provides both dimensions for the primary design assets of each network and the maximum file size allowed for certain graphics.

Profile picture

As you can see from the dimensions below, if you develop a single square “profile picture” that scales appropriately for the sizes below, you’ll be able to streamline the process for making updates. The one exception is LinkedIn’s Standard Logo, which is 100px x 60px. In all reality though, your profile pictures will likely not be updated as frequently as other areas of the site.

Social site Image size
Twitter 400px x 400px
Facebook 180px x 180px
Instagram 110px x 110px
Pinterest 165px X 165px
LinkedIn 100px x 60px Standard Logo/50px x 50px Square Logo
YouTube 250px x 250px
 Google+ 250px x 250px

Cover/header image

While it’s rather easy to build a standard process for updating profile pictures, it’s a much different story when developing cover and header Images because the sizing is very unique by network. The sizes are listed below, but the best method of standardization is to follow a few guidelines to ensure the proper experience:

  1. If you are including text in cover/header images, you will get the best balance of image clarity and image size with a .png file.
  2. Avoid putting important visuals or text in the bottom portion of cover/header images as they will be covered up by profile pictures or buttons. Depending on how a device displays, it’s typically best to keep important visuals and text in the center of cover/header images.
Social site Image size
Twitter 1500px x 500px
Facebook 851px x 315px
Instagram Pulls random images from your posts
Pinterest 215px x 145px (Board cover image)
LinkedIn 646px x 220px
YouTube Display varies by device; 1546px x 423px on desktop
 Google+ 1080px x 608px

Shared content images

The imagery you develop as part of your normal social content production schedules can become a significant portion of a designer’s time when trying to post content across several different social networks. When streamlining the development of images for links, content previews, etc., the best advice I have found to streamline activities is to develop three images that can be shared across networks:

Image No. 1: 506px x unlimited. You can create infographic type imagery that can be used on both Pinterest and Google+.
Image No. 2: 1024px x 512px. Strong visuals that can be shared on Twitter and Facebook.
Image No. 3: 1200px x 1200px. Visuals that can be scaled to fit Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Shared image sizes

Social site Image size
Twitter 1024px x 512px
Facebook 1200px x 900px (Timeline); 1200px X 1200px (Newsfeed)
Instagram 640px x 640px
Pinterest 735px x unlimited (Expanded Pin)
LinkedIn 360px x 265px
YouTube 16:9 aspect ratio (Video)
 Google+ 506px x 284px

Shared link graphic sizes

Social site Image size
Twitter 1024px x 512px
Facebook 1200px x 627px
Instagram 161px x 161px (Photo Thumbnails)
Pinterest 235px x 800px (Pin Preview); 68px x 68px (Board Thumbnail)
LinkedIn 180px x 110px
YouTube 1280px x 720px (Custom Video Thumbnail)
 Google+ 506px x 284px

Download all the things!

We have put together examples of every image size noted in this guide across every network in PSD, AI and PDF format in a single .zip file to help speed you on your way.

To learn more…

For more information on utilizing imagery and design specs on these social networks, check out these links:

Twitter Profile Settings

Twitter: Customizing A Profile

Facebook: Profile Settings

Facebook: Ads Guide

Instagram: Photo Taking, Editing & Sharing

Pinterest: Editing Profile Settings

Pinterest: Add, Edit or Deleting Pins

LinkedIn: Adding Images to Company Pages

YouTube: Video Manager

YouTube: Custom Thumbnails

Google+: Profile & Cover Photos

Image by: VFS Visual Design

Bryant Tutterow
Bryant brings over 18 years of business acumen to DK New Media focused on strategic marketing and e-commerce. He has more than a decade of P&L responsibility, leading in-house marketing organizations at Fortune 500 companies and building three separate marketing departments from the ground up into world-class teams of as many as 14 people. As the Chief Marketing Officer for DK New Media, he provides overall strategic direction for marketing and e-commerce while leading business development of all strategic advisory and measured marketing services.