Jennifer Farley joins the SitePoint blogging team today, and will be posting tips and tutorials on graphic design, typography, layout and more.
If you’re looking to enter the current SitePoint Twitter Background competition, or one of the other Twitter background contests on 99designs, then this post is a great place to start!
You can add your branding or personal style to Twitter by creating your own background.
Your own background can help you stand out from the pack and it’s a chance to shine in a sea of default blue backgrounds! Think of it as an extension of your business card that you’re handing to every visitor who comes to your Twitter homepage.
There are no specific guidelines from Twitter regarding dimensions and setting up a background, so let’s take a quick overview of what you can do to create your own background.
The main problem you’ll face when designing a Twitter background is that your Twitter homepage will look quite different on various monitors at various resolutions.
As you can see from the images above, the higher the resolution of the screen, the more of the background is visible. So you need to decide at what point you want to compromise. According to statistics at W3Schools, the majority of users have a screen resolution of 1024×768 or higher, so I’m going to take the liberty of designing a background at that resolution and completely ignore 800 x 600. Hey! It’s tough love for those older monitor users.
I used Photoshop to set up a document of 1024 pixels by 768 pixels and produced a simple coloured background – a gradient running from light red to dark red, blended over a grungy texture.
The main Twitter area is approximately 763 pixels and the Twitter logo and menu take 71 pixels. You will need to leave space in your design for these parts of the Twitter page.
As mentioned earlier, this is a good opportunity to share some of your details on your background, so I’ve added some text to the left side of the image taking into account the 760 pixels required in the centre for the main Twitter space. Once your background is applied in Twitter, it anchors to the top, left corner of the screen, so keep that in mind for your design.
When you’ve finished your background design and saved it for the web, go to your Twitter homepage and choose Settings, then click on the Design tab. Click on the “Change background image” link and browse for your new image. Do NOT click on the “Tile Image” checkbox.
To make your whole design come together, you should set up the colours for the links and text. Do this by clicking on the “Change design colours” link. By setting design options in Twitter so that the background colour is the same as the right hand side of the background image, you can ensure that your design appears seamless.
Resolution of 1024×768 pixels.
Resolution of 1280×800 pixels
To find more Twitter background inspiration check out the following links: