Did you ever think you’d have to wear so many hats?
No, we don’t mean in real life, although Edgar does enjoy a nice top hat. 😉
We’re referring to the different hats you have to wear in your business. Running a solo business means you’re in charge of everything. Now this can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on how you look at it.
For instance as a solo business owner, you:
- Get to make all the decisions. (Blessing)
- Have to actually complete tasks that aren’t in your area of expertise. (Curse)
Graphic design is one of those skills that doesn’t seem like a necessary business skill. But graphics make a big difference in the digital age, especially on social media. If you don’t have beautiful social media graphics, it can be especially difficult to attract any attention to your social posts.
This is due to human nature and the nature of social media itself. We’re visual creatures. 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual and our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Social media enhances the importance of visuals because it’s a fast-paced, competitive medium. Social platforms are designed so users keep scrolling, processing information as they scroll.
When you combine our brain’s preference for visuals with the fast-paced nature of social media, it’s easy to see that socials should be a core component of any social media strategy.
If you’re still not convinced, then think about this: visual content is 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
The bottom line: you’ve got to master some core graphic principles if you want to stand a chance of standing out online.
Don’t worry, you don’t need a design degree to feel confident designing beautiful social media graphics. You need to know a few design principles and a few tricks.
Before you get to how to design beautiful social media graphics, we wanted to give you a few for free! Download your free holiday image pack and get 40+ social media images to use on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram this holiday season!
Let’s start with five basic design elements that will give your social media graphics that professional polish.
Rainbows are beautiful after rainstorms and tie-dyed t-shirts are a fun addition to any wardrobe but when it comes to color schemes for your social media graphics, less is more. It’s best to stick to 1-3 primary colors for your graphics.
When choosing your colors, consider how you want people to feel when engaging with your content. Colors can evoke emotions so you want to choose a color that matches how you want viewers to feel.
You can dive deep into the nitty-gritty of color psychology here but here’s a brief overview:
- Red – Excitement, energy, power
- Orange – Creativity, determination, enthusiasm
- Yellow – Joy, happiness, cheerfulness
- Green – Nature, growth, health
- Blue – Trust, stability, peace
- Pink – Love, playfulness, vulnerability
You might be tempted to pick the colors you love or that represent the feelings you want your content to evoke. However, there’s something else you need to know about colors.
Opposites attract. In other words, look for contrasting colors. Contrasting colors, otherwise known as complementary colors are colors that appear in different sections of the color wheel.
The farther apart they are, the greater the contrast.
Contrasting colors can be used to direct the viewer’s eye toward key information, like keywords or icons. For example, we like to use contrasting colors for call to action buttons.
You might love the fancy script fonts and we do too but we caution you on overusing these fonts. You have to balance readability and style. The point of including text is for your audience to read and communicate that information. Script or stylized fonts are often harder to read, especially when a user is quickly scrolling or reading on a smaller screen on their mobile device.
If you are communicating something short and sweet, like a headline, we recommend using a larger, sans serif font. But if you are creating a larger graphic, you can balance different fonts by putting the headline in a stylized font and using a sans serif font for the smaller body copy.
Much like using colors, less is more with fonts. Don’t overwhelm your image and stick to a maximum of two fonts in each design.
When designing, ask yourself: “What is the most important part of this graphic?” Our eyes are drawn to the largest elements on a page. This is known as a hierarchy. You can easily use this in your designs by putting the most important information in the big, bold font or applying a pop of color to the most important part of the design. You can see in this example below that in this advertisement for New Year’s Eve highlights NYE so viewers immediately know that it’s a New Year’s Eve celebration.
It’s normal for anyone to feel anxiety when stuck in an overcrowded space. The same rule applies to design. Crowded designs are out and whitespace is in. If a design isn’t doing what you want, experiment with deleting extra elements and adding in white space around the text, images or other elements. You can also try scaling down elements like images or fonts to create more whitespace. This will make your design easier to read and it’s more likely to be eye-catching than an overcrowded graphic.
The Rule of Thirds
If you struggle with balancing your design, the rule of thirds can help. The rule of thirds simply means dividing your design into three rows and three columns. The intersection of the lines make the focal points of your design. This doesn’t mean you have to place important elements in each of these focal points but it makes it easier for you to visualize how you want to structure your design. The rule of thirds acts as a guideline for composing your design.
These 5 design elements can help you design any graphics for your business, not just your social media graphics! But, we wanted to add some specific tips for your social media that will help you save time and create more effective graphics. Because you know we’re all about getting more done in less time over here at Edgar.
Categorize your content and create image templates for each category
We advise using a category-based content system to manage your social media (And if you’re new, you can read more about that here.) Then once you have your categories, you can create templates for each category. For example, we have different templates for “Questions,” “Quotes,” and “Blog Posts.” This way, we can easily drop in the new content into the template and we’re keeping our visuals consistent without feeling repetitive.
Create a visual brand identity cheatsheet
Three little words should guide you in your social media graphic designs: Keep it simple. To eliminate any overwhelm, get clear on your visual identity and then only incorporate those elements. Here are a few ideas of what you can include in your visual brand identity cheatsheet:
- Brand Colors – Try to have 1-2 main colors and 2-3 complementary colors and at least 1 accent color.
- Fonts – Stick to no more than 3 with one for your headers, one for your sub-headers and one for your body copy.
- Image styles – For example, do you use images of people or nature? Do your images use a certain filter or color scheme.
- Iconography – If you use icons, stick to one there a certain illustration style and stay consistent.
Know your goals
One of our favorite rules here at MeetEdgar is to give every piece of content a job to do. The rule applies for visual content. Ask yourself what you want your social media graphics to do.
- Are they for conversions, website traffic, engagement?
- Who is the audience for these graphics?
- What platforms do they love?
- What device do they use to check social media?
- What emotions do you want your audience feeling?
In short, do your homework first, then come back to design. Trust us, it will make a difference. And when in doubt, use one of these tools and resources for social media graphics to help you!
And don’t forget, you can always use templates! Our holiday gift to you is an image pack of 40+ holiday social media graphics. Use these in your holiday campaigns this year while you practice your design skills.
Got a question on social media graphic design? Leave it below or ask us on your favorite social media platform @MeetEdgar.