2020 Social Media Graphic Design Formatting Guide

It can be confusing when you have to remember image sizes across different platforms. It means you have to adjust every social media graphic design asset most of the time. You have to think about profile photos, cover photos, advertisements, and image posts (to name a few).

It’s a common practice by businesses to publish the same social media posts on different platforms. That way, they have brand consistency throughout.

In this article, we’re looking at four social media platforms where you can post images.

Also, you might be wondering why the word aspect ratio or numbers in the ratio would appear here. It’s a guide to the orientation of the photos. 

Remember, in a grid; you have the x-axis and the y-axis. The x-axis is horizontal, while the y-axis is vertical. So, an example aspect ratio would be 4:3, which means the photo is landscape. So, 1:1 is a square image.



Facebook is still one of the widely used social media sites. In their earnings release in Jan 2020, they reported that Facebook had daily active users (DAU) of over 1.60 billion in 2019.

In terms of posts, video remains king on Facebook. 

According to Buffer, 81.8% of posts were video (from the Top 500 Facebook posts), and images were only 18%. However, it doesn’t mean that photos aren’t performing well. To engage with your target audience better, always upload a high-quality image on social media.

It’s best to have a template for all the photo guides on Facebook. You can upload a different social media graphic design for each type of image on Facebook.

  • Profile photo
  • Cover photo
  • Timeline image (also, link and event)
  • Stories
  • Ad


Facebook Profile and Cover Photo

social media graphic design example

To start, you need a good profile photo on Facebook. To ensure that your followers or fans get a better view of your profile photo, you need to have it sized 170 x 170 pixels on the computer. On smartphones, it’s 180 x 180.

Facebook states that you need to publish a cover photo with at least a size of 820 (width) x 312 (height) for computers because they scale it at that dimension. However, you can upload a bigger image.  As for smartphones, you need to create one that is 640 (width) x 360 (height).

You can add logos to your profile photo and cover photo. You can even try to create your social media graphic design to become more creative for the cover photo.

Check out this example from the Starbucks Facebook page on how they made their cover photo. The image is larger than the minimum size requirements and the main visual isn’t covered by the profile photo.


Facebook Image Posts

social media graphic design example

Experts found the optimal post for photos on timelines. The best size for image posts is 1200 x 630. However, many brands like Samsung and Nike follow a 1:1 ratio in their posts. You do have a minimum image size of 200 x 200 for this type, according to Hubspot

If you do post links and event page photos on Facebook, you follow the same size as with the image post as well.

Example of graphic design images you can post on your feed are: 

  • Invitations
  • Typography
  • Infographics
  • Illustrations
  • Posters

File types allowed on the Facebook feed are JPEG, PNG, and GIF.

See how Grammarly placed a photo on their link for their Facebook post. It fits the size requirements and it’s not distorted or a low-quality image either.


Facebook Stories

Facebook Stories have a size of 1080 x 1920 pixels. You can post custom templates on your Facebook Stories as part of your campaign. You can post videos and images. For images, you can upload a JPEG or PNG file.


Facebook Ads

social media graphic design example

This is where it gets in-depth because you can place many ads on Facebook. According to Facebook, you can have ads in the following areas:

  • Feed
  • Right column
  • Instant Articles
  • Marketplace
  • Stories
  • Search results

On the Facebook feed and search results, there’s no maximum resolution on ads without a link. You do have to note the 20% rule in adding a copy on a Facebook ad. For those with links, Facebook recommends you can publish a Facebook ad with at least 1080 x 1080 pixels.

If you’re posting a Facebook ad on the right column of the platform or a Marketplace ad, you can have an aspect ratio of either 16:9 or 1:1. You may publish this type of ad with a minimum of 1200 x 1200 pixels.

For instant article ads, Facebook recommends you optimize the ad with a link and should have at least 1200 x 1200 pixels. If it’s purely for social media graphic design purposes, you may post it as landscape or wide.

For Facebook Stories ads, make sure that you have a safe area with these dimensions: 1080 x 1420. You need to remember that Facebook Stories ads are vertical, so the image ratios are 1.91 to 9:16. Instagram Stories Ads also follow the same specifications.

Typically, Facebook Ads support JPG and PNG.

To get an idea of how the 20% rule for ads works on Facebook, you can look at how Everlane runs their ads for their products. It highlights the product while ensuring the copy still makes an impact.

Facebook Ad Example:



As Instagram gained traction in the early ‘20s, more businesses have also used Instagram to connect with their followers. To get you some insight into how many people follow businesses on Instagram, over 90% of users on the platform follow one. 

So, you need to make sure that you have an engaging social media graphic design on Instagram that can increase likes and comments from followers.


Instagram Posts

social media graphic design example

Despite the many changes to optimal file size in most social media networks, Instagram remains consistent at 1080 x 1080 pixels. However, according to Instagram, if you have a photo that isn’t of that scale, they’ll keep the original photo resolution. You’ll need to remember an aspect ratio of 1.91:1 and 4:5.

Here’s an example Disney+ on how they integrated graphic design on their Instagram post. The use of typography is appropriate with the copy.


Instagram Stories

social media stories design

Similar to Facebook, the optimal size for an Instagram story is 1080 x 1920. So if you have any social media graphic design to post a story, you might just need one template for Instagram and Facebook. That, at least, saves you the time to create more graphics for other social media platforms.

Image file types allowed for Instagram posts and stories are JPEG and PNG.


Instagram Ads

social media graphic design example

Like Facebook, you could place ads on different areas of the platform. These are on:

  • Stories
  • Feed
  • Explore

According to Facebook, Instagram Feed and Explore posts don’t have a maximum resolution for images. But, you should follow ratio requirements. Sprout Social says the optimal aspect ratio for Instagram Ads is 1:1.

Allowed image file types for Instagram ads are JPEG and PNG only.

Here’s how Oreo published their ad on its Instagram feed. You see how they followed the image requirements and the 20% rule for Facebook ads since they emphasize the product more than the copy. But the copy is still impactful.



Twitter remains a strong contender among Facebook and Instagram. It’s essential that if you want to connect with your audience on the platform, you have to post videos or images on your tweets. According to Quicksprout, tweets with images got 128% more retweets.


Twitter Profile and Header Photo

social media graphic design example

To optimize your profile photo, upload one that is 400 x 400 pixels. As for the header photo, Twitter recommends you post a header with a 1500 x 500 dimension. 

File types allowed on Twitter are JPEG, PNG, and GIF.

Get inspired by this Adidas example on how your Twitter header can look like. They made sure that the featured image isn’t covered by their logo.


Twitter Posts

Twitter didn’t mention any sizing restrictions on their Help Center, but they have a maximum of 5MB to upload for one photo. Also, Twitter says they scale your pictures to your display accordingly. According to Brandwatch, they recommend you post an image with a minimum of 1024 x 512 pixels.

You can upload marketing-related visuals, typography, and posters (and so much more) as your company’s social media posts on the platform.

As for the Twitter image card size (or image link), Twitter recommends an aspect ratio of 1.91:1 or 1:1 for all types. Typically, Twitter suggests you upload an image that is 800 pixels wide.

Twitter card types:

  • Website
  • App
  • Direct Message
  • Conversation
  • Tweet to unlock

Allowed image types on Twitter include JPEG, PNG, and GIF.


Twitter Ads

You can upload a promoted image ad on Twitter so long as you have at least 600 pixels (width). However, you can upload large images like 1200 pixels in size as well. Twitter will scale the display to 1:1 if the height is longer than width.



Many regard LinkedIn as a professional networking site. However, LinkedIn has become the go-to site for B2B companies for marketing their products or services. With that, LinkedIn reports that its posts receive 15x more content impressions.


LinkedIn Profile and Cover Photo

social media graphic design example

A personal profile photo on LinkedIn can be 400 x 400 pixels up to 7680 x 4320 pixels. They allow headshots only for people to recognize you. As for your business page, you may upload a logo that is 300 x 300 pixels.

For your LinkedIn cover image, LinkedIn recommends you publish a picture with 1536 x 768 pixels. The minimum size is 1192 x 220 pixels.

LinkedIn states that you can upload JPEG, GIF, and PNG files for your cover photo. Meanwhile, only JPEG and GIF are allowed for profile or logo photos.

To integrate graphic design on your LinkedIn cover image, look at how Samsung did it for their page. It’s bigger than the recommended size, but it still works and it’s also a high-quality visual.


LinkedIn Image Posts

social media graphic design example

LinkedIn recommends you publish an image with a minimum of 552 x 276 pixels.

You can upload illustrations, marketing visuals, and infographics on LinkedIn.

There’s also a ‘company photos’ feature on a LinkedIn page too. You can upload a photo with a size of 264 x 176 pixels up to 900 x 600 pixels at a maximum.

You can also add a custom module on your LinkedIn page. The social media platform recommends you upload an image size of 502 x 282 pixels.

You can only upload your images as a JPEG or PNG.

To get an idea of how an image would appear on your feed, look at how Amazon posted a link with an accompanying photo.


LinkedIn Ads

social media graphic design example

Luckily, for LinkedIn (at least with images), you’ll have to remember the only type of ad where you can post graphic design.

For Sponsored Content ads, they recommend posting an image with 1200 x 627 pixels. According to LinkedIn, you can get 38% click-through rates by adding large visuals to the ad.

File types for LinkedIn ads images are JPEG and PNG.


Final Thoughts

It can be challenging to remember all these image sizes considering aspect ratio and optimal sizes provided by experts. The easiest way a graphic designer can deal with these requirements is to create templates to avoid confusion and constant editing.

If you don’t want to worry about size requirements or file types, leave it to the experts in Design Doctor. They can create high-quality social media graphic designs across different platforms. You can request for other visual assets like flyers, logos, website designs, and more. Learn more how Design Doctor can help your startup or small business.

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