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Your guide to designing the perfect Twitter header

These best practices will help you maximize your audience impact

Social media is a big deal when it comes to connecting with others, and it seems like everyone who’s anyone has a Twitter nowadays. From technology powerhouses to celebrity influencers and design experts. Even Darth Vader has a Twitter!

With the sheer amount of social media users out there, you have unlimited opportunities to get your designs or portfolio noticed.

If you’re looking to get your work out there, one effective way of doing that is through your Twitter header. And the great news is you can make your very own one in Sketch!

But where do you start? Let’s find out!

What is a Twitter header?

Your Twitter header is the cover image, or banner, that sits at the top of your Twitter page. It’s one of the first things that profile visitors see. That means it’s not only the perfect chance to flex your design skills, but it’s also an important chance to grab their attention and show them what you’re all about!

You might even say it’s a digital business card of sorts, or even an extension of your portfolio. Because of this, many people make good use of show-stopping color combinations, elements of brand identity, and even relatable memes — anything that aligns with their brand and is relevant to the audience they’re trying to draw in.

Why is a Twitter header so important?

If your Twitter header’s just a static image on your profile, what’s all the fuss about? Well, think of it as the perfect virtual billboard for who you are and what you represent. As they say, first impressions are everything — and this one really counts!

Because it’s the first point of contact, it’s a crucial opportunity to highlight your brand’s most important takeaways. Are you strictly business or a bit of a goofball at heart? Now’s your chance to use visual storytelling to your advantage. It could be the make-or-break moment that draws people in and has them wanting to find out more.

Best practices for designing Twitter headers

Here are five best practices to help you master the art of a high-impact Twitter header.

Think about dimensions

According to Twitter, the best dimensions to use for your header are 1500x500 pixels, which gives you an aspect ratio of 3:1. But screen size isn’t the only thing that counts. Consider your profile picture too, as its position will influence the layout of your imagery. You can design the best image possible, but if part of it is hidden behind your profile picture, it could ruin the whole aesthetic and messaging!

An image showing how much space a profile picture takes up in a Twitter header image.

When designing your Twitter header, keep in mind that your profile picture will take up some space!

Get on the trend train

Using images based on trending topics is a good way to get involved in the conversation. For example, updating your banner with festive illustrations when a hashtag like #HolidayGiftIdeas pops up! There are new trending hashtags and popular culture commentary every day, so use this as a launching point to get people talking about your brand.

Become your own brand

Your Twitter page is the perfect place to market yourself. In fact, nailing the right branding is crucial for resonating with others and building trust. A lot of marketing is built around emotional appeal and having a cohesive look, so don’t be afraid to use color palettes and themes that work across both your banner and profile picture. People want to know the person behind the brand, so show them your unique, sparkling personality!

Consider devices

Lots of people use Twitter on their phones, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be browsing through your page on their desktop too. I mean, who doesn’t love a good procrastination scroll when you log in to your laptop in the morning? So, make sure that whatever your Twitter header is, it’s going to be readable on all devices. If your image is too grainy or the text is too small, you may miss an opportunity to connect with people.

Keep it simple

You only have a few seconds to capture attention, so banners that are jam-packed with imagery and text can accidentally overwhelm people with information. Some of the best banners out there are those that stick to a singular narrative that’s easy to follow. So try to refine your message down to its core — you don’t want to overcomplicate it!

5 tips for designing your Twitter header in Sketch

Ready to create your own cool Twitter header in our Mac app? We’ve compiled five tips to help you work smarter, not harder 😉 Let’s take a look!

Not sure if Sketch is the right design tool for you? Try it out for yourself by signing up for a free 30-day trial. You don’t even need a credit card!

1. Add an Artboard from our presets list

Remember, Twitter recommends a 1500x500 aspect ratio for headers. But if you’re using Sketch, all you need to do is pick the right Artboard and start designing!

With our Mac app open, hit A to trigger the Artboard tool, choose Social Media from the drop-down menu, scroll down to Twitter and choose Header Photo — and voilà! A 1500x500 Artboard will appear right on your Canvas.

Now you won’t have to worry about accidentally designing a header that’s too small or too large to upload to Twitter.

An image showing how to choose an Artboard for designing Twitter header photos in Sketch.

Hit A to trigger the Artboard tool, choose Social Media from the drop-down menu, scroll down to Twitter and choose Header Photo.

2. Set the guidelines

Before you start designing though, it’s worth setting a few more guidelines — particularly where your profile picture will be. Twitter profile pictures take up roughly 400x200 pixels worth of space on the bottom left of a Twitter header.

You’ll save yourself the hassle of having to think about it throughout your design process using a simple rectangle to mark the spot! Just hit R for the Rectangle tool, draw a 400x200 shape, and place it on the bottom left of your Artboard. Finally, lock the rectangle by hitting L. That’ll prevent the rectangle from interfering with your other layers.

An image showing how to mark a profile picture when designing a Twitter header photo in Sketch.

When designing your Twitter header, you can use a 400x200 pixel rectangle to mark where your profile picture will appear.

3. Add the design

It’s finally time to tell your brand’s story through the magic of design. So let’s get those creative juices flowing! If you’ve already got a mockup of the design you’re going for, all you have to do is bring your ideas to life. But if you’re illustrating entirely from scratch, feel free to play around with a mix of shapes, images, and text — all while keeping the best practices above in mind.

An image showing a Twitter header design for a digital marketing expert.

Once you’ve got your Artboard and guidelines set up, it’s time to start designing your Twitter header.

4. Export in the right format

Ready to share your design with the world? Then it’s time to export your artwork in the right format. As Twitter’s support page says, the platform supports both JPG and PNG formats. So when you’re ready, head to the Inspector and click on Make Exportable. Then, choose the file format you want and hit Export.

An image showing how to export from Sketch’s Mac app.

5. Upload to Twitter

Now, you’re ready to upload your Twitter header! So just head to the platform, share your artwork, and watch the magic happen.

Remember, in a sea of social media saturation, your header has the power to set you apart from the rest of the pack. You can use it to find common ground and connect with others, advertise your services, and interchange it depending on the message you want to get across. So, with our tips and best practices in mind, don’t be afraid to run with it either!

An image showing an uploaded Twitter header image designed in Sketch.

Once you’ve exported your header design, it’s time to upload it to your Twitter profile!


Love the Twitter header you made in Sketch? We’d love to see it 🤩 Share your work with us on the platform using the hashtag #MadeWithSketch.