Last Updated: October 12, 2015 3

6 Tips for Creating a Great Twitter Avatar

Found In: Social Networks

6 Tips for Creating a Great Twitter Avatar

People judge books by their covers. On Twitter, your avatar is your book cover and may even make the difference between someone reading your tweet or scrolling right past it. If your Twitter avatar is a blurry, jumbled mess, people may think less of you. On the other hand, if your avatar is clear, sharp, and distinguishing, your tweets will stand out and your words will carry more weight. But making a great Twitter avatar can be challenging, largely due to its minuscule size. These 6 tips should help you in your quest for creating a great Twitter avatar.

1. Keep It Big

You can upload an image as large as 700k to your Twitter profile, but Twitter will resize it to 73 by 73 pixels. Because of this, you might be tempted to upload a small picture. If Twitter is going to shrink it anyway, what’s the point of using anything larger? But there is a point. Two points, actually.

First, Twitter gives you the option of clicking on a person’s avatar to view a larger version of it. This is a nice opportunity for people to get a more detailed view of your picture, but if you use a tiny image, it will remain the same size, or–if you’re using a Twitter client like TweetDeck–may even appear blurry and pixilated.

Second, large photos are far easier to edit than tiny ones. You may find, after uploading an image, that your avatar needs work. If you have a decent-sized source image, editing it into a great Twitter avatar should be a piece of cake.

2. Focus on a Single Aspect

With such a tiny canvas, you don’t have room for a lot of detail. Choose a single, central focus for your Twitter avatar–like your face–and weed out the distractions. Every extraneous detail takes focus away from your central image and makes the whole avatar more confusing. If you have a picture of yourself standing amongst a crowd of people, crop yourself out, or paint over the crowd with a solid color that makes “you” stand out.

3. Zoom In

When people see your Twitter avatar, they almost always see it in the standard 48 by 48 pixels, but in some cases it’s even smaller, like when it’s shown underneath the “Following” or “Followers” count on a person’s Twitter profile page. So keep this in mind when you’re making your Twitter avatar. If you have a picture of yourself leaning against a wall, zoom in until only your head is visible.

4. Keep it Square

Twitter avatars are perfect squares, so before uploading an image, make sure its height is equal to its width. If you don’t, Twitter will do this for you…by chopping off part of your picture.

5. Make Words Legible

If you choose to insert words into your Twitter avatar, make sure the words are legible. Space the letters out and avoid fancy fonts. Also, be sure to make the font color contrast nicely with the background–no silver on white or navy blue on black.

6. Enhance with Photo Editing Software

Photo editing programs are “key” to producing truly great Twitter avatars, and there are a number of free programs out there (GIMP is a popular one). Now’s the chance to be truly creative with your icon. Sharpen your image and raise the contrast. Give it a nice blue hue. Brighten your central image and darken the background. Raise or lower the saturation. Run the image through some photo filters. Have fun. Play around and experiment. The result can be something truly awesome and unique.

Creating a Twitter avatar can be difficult, but you can accomplish this through trial and error. The trick is to upload your image, study it, and make changes. Then rinse and repeat. You’ll get it right eventually, but by applying these 6 tips, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, prevent a heap of eyestrain, and end up with a great Twitter avatar that you can be proud of.