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4 Major Tips to Personalize Your Twitter Background

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It has been a year since I last modified my Twitter background. While inspecting my own social media sites for improvements recently, I couldn’t help but noticing how cheesy and uninformative my Twitter background was! It was created when I wrote about personalizing Twitter background with Free Twitter Designer. It’s time for a change!



#1: Why Should We Personalize Our Twitter Background?



Understanding why we need to personalize our Twitter background is vital. It is not about decoration but to:

i)   Manage Personal Branding

People will visit your Twitter page from your social media links and search engines. Be ready to impress at first sight.

ii)  Maximize Exposure with Limited Background Space

Blend in your intro with relevant background design. Provide social contacts for others to reach you.

iii) Show your Brand & Personality

An unique background attracts, it should say something about who you are, your passion and niche.

Another good reason is you might get a free promotion from a post about Twitter background, exactly like this one! (Good for @mashable and @marcome)




#2: How to Personalize Your Twitter Background?


After knowing the purpose, now it’s time for the real challenge – to personalize a Twitter background. Here are some options you can choose from:


a) Use a Twitter Background Generator


For those who are not into crafting their own images, tons of template selections can be found from Twitter background generators. Some setbacks are the duplicate designs and their brand name on your wall. Usually a minimal payment is involved to modify, for example, $4.99 to remove Twitbacks brand while Twitrbackgrounds will charge $9.99 for personalized backgrounds. Login is required for both services.

Tweetbacks, on the other hand offers free templates for modification (.psd). Personalized your information and photo before upload it to Twitter page.

Another service I love is Free Twitter Designer – a background generator and image editing application. A Twitter stream box is given so your design will not run off on the actual page. You can tweak the image settings, blend in the effects and colors, view the final results in different resolutions:




b) Personalize Twitter Background with Image Editing Application


My favorite method so far as it gives you:

  • Full control over designing and positioning.
  • No distracting brand name on the background except your very own.

Photoshop:

I created my second and third Twitter background with Photoshop. The dimension for the canvas size is preferably 1600 px x 1200 px so it will fit in fine for most screen resolutions. Keep the important information close to the left of Twitter stream. As of right, use non-essential designs as mostly they won’t be visible on regular screen resolutions. Apply Twitter Background Checker to monitor your background designs:

Resize the image to less than 250kb to optimize page load time (maximum file size: 800kb).

I created a blank template to fix for resolution 1280 x 1024. Therefore I can tweak its opacity level to adjust text/background image freely.

Suggested Read: Twitter Background Design How-To and Best Practices.


Gimp & Pixlr:

You can download Gimp (for MAC & Windows) or try the web application Pixlr to customize your background image:



PowerPoint:

Not my top-pick for complicated designs but Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 is competent to create a simple and colorful Twitter background. Save your final result as .jpg to be uploaded as your Twitter background. PowerPoint is not a designing program so there will be limitations, such as cumbersome process with measurement and positioning:



Extra Tools:

Some amazing tools to assist your background designing:

  • MeasureIt – A FireFox plugin to measure width and height for a web page.
  • Peekr -  On and off feature that gives you a clear overview of the entire Twitter background without the stream, control panel etc.

If personalizing a Twitter Background is too time consuming for you, you can:



c) Outsource to Professionals and Graphic Designers


Everyone’s definition of ‘quality’ may differ in art. Understand your own needs is important before finding the best designer that fits you. Make sure you are providing enough information so the designer knows about your expectations. Be communicative and respectful for both sides.


#3: How to Upload Your Personalized Background to Twitter?



Let it be a picture or a neatly designed template, it’s time for the final results. To upload it:

1. Log on to your Twitter account.

2. Go to Settings > Design > Change background image

3. Browse to locate the image file you’re ready for.

4. Click Save and see the magic appears before your eyes.


#4: What Makes a Good Twitter Background?


Last week we had a discussion over at the Facebook Fan Page about my second Twitter background. Ricky’s commentary about the font visibility brought my attention of how ignorant I was about my Twitter background.

I did not take the design seriously so instead of just the font, I changed the whole Twitter background. I prefer a non-business-like, harmonious background with nature elements. It may not be my best design yet but I’m happy to keep it for awhile.

For a Twitter background to serve its purpose, we need to refer to why we need one in the first place. Following these designing guidelines will be an added advantage:

  • Make sure the background is none distracting for your main info.
  • Clear and readable fonts (for example Arial, bold). Avoid spindly text for important messages.
  • Use contrast colors for text & background.
  • Make full use of the blank areas. Ensure main info are visible regardless low or high screen resolutions.
  • Complex does not mean elegant. Keep the K.I.S.S principle in mind unless you have a different purpose for your background design.

There is no right or wrong, but the impression and friendliness you would like to portray to others. Think of it as your name card, but with personality.


Now Is Your Turn…


When was the last time you personalized your Twitter background? What makes a presentable Twitter Background in your opinion? Share it all in the comments below.



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