Make a Good Impression with a Custom Twitter Background

A Custom Twitter Background can make a real impression and enhance your brand – but how do you make one? In this guest post post Hugh Briss from Twitter Image (a service that offers custom Twitter backgrounds) shares some tips on how to make your own.

I know what they say about making assumptions but I’m going to make one now and assume that most of you already understand the potential of Twitter, especially for those of us with something to promote. If you aren’t yet convinced that Twitter is going to do for the Internet what sliced bread did for the sandwich, I encourage you to spend more time reading Twitip. My job today is not to evangelize Twitter — which I love to do — but to talk about how to create cool Twitter backgrounds and show you how valuable the proper use of that space can be.

Generic is Only Good for Prescriptions

In addition to the generic Twitter background, Twitter currently offers 12 stock backgrounds along with pleasing preset colors for the elements on the page. You can also modify the colors of the overall background, text, links, sidebar background and the sidebar border. The first thing any Twit (easier to say that Twitterer) should do is change the generic background, unless you don’t like standing out from the crowd, in which case you can stop reading now.

Switching backgrounds and changing the color palette of your Twitter page is easy to do. Simply select "Settings" in the top row of links on your Twitter page, click on the "Design" tab and then either select a "theme" or click on "Change background image" or "Change design colors" and get creative. Don’t worry about goofing anything up. Any changes you make will not be visible to anyone but you until you click "save".

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Themes are Good but Why Stop There?

Now I know that some of you will be perfectly happy with one of the themes Twitter has provided for you but there are still going to be thousands of Twits with the same background as you. It’s like going out in public wearing the same exact clothes as a bunch of other people — which is only cool if you’re going to a football game or a funeral.

With the holiday season fast approaching, this would be a good time to start looking for a nice Christmas-themed background, or Hannukah, Kwanzaa or whatever holiday you celebrate.

The best way to make sure that your Twitter page doesn’t look like anyone else’s is to upload your own background image. Those of you with the necessary skills might want to use Photoshop or a similar program to create your own from scratch. If that’s not a possibility, then there are other options. You can simply upload a photograph you’ve taken, for example. Another option is to find an image that will tile (repeat) in an appealing way. Search Google for "tile background" and you’ll find thousands of places to get them.

Colour Lovers is an excellent place to start if you want to make your own tiling background patterns. They also offer palettes that will help you pick colors that go well together so your Twitter page doesn’t look like you picked the colors with your eyes closed or let your 3-year old do it for you.

Twitter Patterns is another great place to find patterns for your tiled background.

Here are some pattern generators that are a lot of fun to play around with:

If you want to make a pattern from your own image there are plenty of tutorials out there and a quick Google search will point you to them. Once you find the tile section you want to use upload it as your twitter background and be sure to click "tile background" before you save.

Here are a few pattern backgrounds from Colour Lovers:

pattern1.jpg pattern2.jpg pattern3.jpg pattern4.jpg

Another way to create a unique background is to use a photograph. There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind, though. For one thing, a limited amount of the photograph will actually be visible. Realistically you have a couple inches on either side of the main text area to work with. That means if you upload a cool picture of your kid playing with the family dog and they are in the center of your photograph, no one is going to see them.

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If you want the photo to fill the entire background, the size of the image is also important. It should be at least 1280×1024 pixels in size and preferably larger. Depending on the background and whether or not it can be nicely blended into a solid background color or not, I typically use 1600×1200 and even 2048×1600 for some backgrounds. It’s not likely that folks with huge monitors stretch their browsers to fill the entire screen, but you never know.

It is possible to create a pleasing background using a photo that isn’t large enough to cover the entire area but I recommend blending the edges of the photo into the background to eliminate the harsh edges around the photo. Here’s an example of that technique.

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File size is something else you’ll want to think about when you create large photographic backgrounds. Twitter limits the file size to 800k but I recommend staying much smaller than that or otherwise your beautiful background will take too long to load. In some cases I’ve gone a little over 300k but I prefer to keep them under 200k. When you’re saving the .jpg file, you’ll want to experiment with the compression percentage to get the smallest file size you can achieve without degrading the quality of the image too much.

Once you’ve selected your background, you may want to change the colors of the sidebar background and border so they complement the colors in the overall background image. Don’t pick a dark color or your text will be hard to read. You might be tempted to use white or light-colored type on a dark background but the problem is that if you use light colors for your text links they won’t show up in the upper row of navigation links.

I’ve added a section on my web site with royalty-free backgrounds which you are welcome to use or that might give you some ideas. All of the photographs I use to make these backgrounds are either royalty-free or published under the Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/ license and used with permission because I’ve added a credit line for the photographer.

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A Picture Might be Worth a Thousand Words but I Want to Say More

Your Twitter background can actually work for you like a business card or brochure does if you use the space on the left side — and to an extent the top — to promote something. A professional-looking Twitter background also makes an excellent first impression and will help you pick up followers that might have otherwise overlooked you. Someone recently told me that the background we had done for a client "induced me to follow her". The way I look at it, you only have one chance to make a good first impression; that’s why they call it a "first" impression. Even if someone only looks at your profile one time, the results could end up being well worth the time and effort you put into creating an attention-getting background.

A custom Twitter background gives you the opportunity to tell someone more about what you do than you can in the 160-character bio you get to put in your sidebar. An obvious choice would be to use your logo along with a bit of text, perhaps something like, "Mention you saw us on Twitter and get 10% off on your next purchase". If you don’t offer a product but just want to promote your blog, you might want to use design elements from your web site and then add a bit of text about your blog along with the url and your email address. If you have more than one web site, a custom background gives you a spot to list them all.

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A custom background is also a good way to let people know at a glance what company you represent, which is especially important if your company is well-known. For example, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has a Twitter page with over 17,000 followers, but word has it that nearly 400 employees of Zappos also have Twitter pages as part of the company’s marketing plan. Since only one Twitter page can use the domain twitter.com/zappos, the best way for the employees of Zappos to let people instantly know what company they are with would be to use a custom background with the Zappos logo on it somewhere.

When you’re creating a custom background using the left side for your "business card" you’ll have to make a decision. Monitors with a resolution of 1024×768, which is the standard resolution of a 15-inch monitor, will shift the main center section of your Twitter page to the left more than a monitor with a resolution of 1280×1024 (17-inch or larger) will.

1024.jpg
Viewed at 1024×768
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Viewed at 1280×1024

I made the decision to work with a live area of about 200 to 225 pixels in width, which unfortunately means that some of the images and text in that area will be covered up when viewed on smaller monitors. If you decide that you want the promotional area of your background to fit within the live area on monitors with a 1024×768 resolution, you’ll be working with a width of about 120 pixels.

Although it’s tempting, it’s not a good idea to frame the main text area in some way like creating a border or placing something important like your logo on the right side. The problem is that depending on the size and resolution of the viewer’s monitor, the center section is not stationary, so your carefully planned background probably won’t look good to everyone. The same applies to placing something near the bottom of the background. It might look great to you but your picture of a tree that appears to be growing out of the bottom of your browser might look completely different to someone else with the same size monitor if they have multiple toolbars open taking up 2 inches at the top of their browser and moving your background image down 2 inches.

Do a Little or Do a Lot; Just Do Something

Whether you only take a few seconds to change the generic Twitter background to one of the provided "themes" or you take the time to upload a photograph or make a custom background, it says something about you. If you don’t care enough to change the standard Twitter avatar and generic Twitter background, what it tells me is that you probably aren’t worth following, and if you’re using Twitter to promote your blog or company and don’t have a custom background, you’re missing out on an excellent opportunity.

Please be aware of copyright laws and only use images and photographs that you create yourself or that come from sources that specifically allow you to use them.

Share Your Favorite Twitter Backgrounds

Thanks to Hugh Bris from Twitter Image for writing this post.

Have you customized your Twitter background? What approach have you taken?

We’d love to see your suggestions on great Twitter backgrounds – share them in comments below.

Comments

  • November 12, 2008

    Making a custom background for my Twitter to stand out from the endless cloud background on Twitter has been a goal of mine for awhile. Managed to have one designed yesterday. Very happy with the new look. :)

  • November 12, 2008

    Wonderful post , i was seriously thinking about something similar , loved this post !

  • November 12, 2008

    Thanks to Ronald for creating a custom background for RubyLearning. Nice and timely article.

  • November 12, 2008

    I made a custom background using the header of my website to give it the same look. I want to update it, however, with more useful information on the left side and maybe a photograph of me.

    Thanks, Hugh, for providing this information.

  • November 12, 2008

    Hi,

    I also have a custom background and I think it does good things to you but only after you have followers. I don’t know if you could get followers just on your custom background. It didn’t happen to me (maybe my background is not that good, who knows).
    If you like to see it I’m WebOptimization on Twitter

    Thank you

  • November 12, 2008

    That was the first thing I changed on mine – the background…but now I am thinking of adding much more! Thanks for the tip, Darren.

  • November 12, 2008

    I actually design custom twitter backgrounds for friends as a side business, and I’d have to agree that having one is a great idea. If you click on my name you can see my custom background on my twitter profile.. I think its important to have something pleasing to the eye, and if you want to have information included about yourself and your web projects..

    on my twitter background i included some profile information along with the url of my site(s).. Seems to have increased the number of people coming to my sites!

  • November 12, 2008

    I use a custom background with my own picture with links to my blog, personnal page and to my facebook account, like a business card : http://twitter.com/maximeguernion
    It seems to works great for connecting with others.

  • November 12, 2008

    I have not come around to making a custom Twitter background. Heck I don’t even have a brand yet. But I will keep this in mind once I put up my blog. Really useful tip for bloggers and businesses.

  • November 12, 2008

    Launching our brand and organization into Twitter a month or so ago seemed scary at first with many decisions to make. After pondering on it, it seemed to make sense of it all for anyone that we are brick and mortar, so we took a picture of our building. Also, to be non-threatening, simply listing our website seemed an obvious choice. As time goes on I would certainly see us changing up our background so that others can see the many dimensions of our work with special needs children. Check us our or follow us at http://twitter.com/childrenscare.

  • November 12, 2008

    Great article. After the new twitter themes were implemented I haven’t changed my background. I like the idea of a business card/photo on the left. Will try tmrw. Http://www.twitter.com/javajive

  • November 12, 2008

    Our custom background has EASILY increased our RSS subscribers and Twitter followers by 20%.

    http://twitter.com/xequals

    |Brandon Oelling
    {x=}+photography+consulting

  • November 12, 2008

    I consider myself to be a newbie twitter, however having had fun w/various myspace backgrounds, didn’t like the limiting options of twitter, hence uploaded my own image with my info on the photo so that it personalizes it a little. It’s still a little bland, however it’s at least personalized and not generic. Thanks for the additional tips. I will experiment some more–always room for improvement! http://www.twitter.com/beautysecrets1

  • November 12, 2008

    Hey, nice article, thanks for that! I just started using twitter yesterday, and am finding it really helpful for networking etc. I’m now definately going to create a custom background ….what a pain different moniter sizes are!

    James

  • November 12, 2008

    Cool, I was wondering what size I should make my background image. I am going to work on a new one but for now I used my gradient background from my blog and website

  • November 12, 2008

    After taking a look at your Twitter background over the weekend, I set up to make a custom one for myself ( Thanks Darren). My biggest struggle was lining up my sidebar. Then the next day a Tweet in my network ( I forget who) came up with this post

    http://tinyurl.com/65w2y5

    This I think is a nice addition to some of the tips you give in this post – things like how far over to start a sidebar box (3/4 inch) and how far from the top to line up (14 px or 1/8 inch from the top).

    I don’t know Leah – (the author) but Twitter of course introduces you to helpful people!

  • November 12, 2008

    Thanks for the great post, Darren!

    I’m now addicted to playing around with my Twitter background. For now, I’ve just used one of your royalty-free backgrounds, but I have plenty of ideas swimming around in my head thanks to you!

    I’m OnHerToes

  • November 12, 2008

    OK, now I understand!

    Doing it now.

    Cheers

    George

  • November 12, 2008

    While it is fun to have a cool custom twitter background, don’t forget that many will only see that image once, when they visit your profile to follow you. After that, they don’t have much reason to come back to your twitter page. They can @reply to you from their web based twitter page, and tons of people don’t even use twitter.com (thank you desktop clients). So I could focus more on creating a memorable avitar than a cool background image.

  • November 12, 2008

    This post gave me the kick in the butt I needed to actually go out and create my twitter background! Thanks Darren, I’m a new reader and new to blogging and I am really enjoying your posts. Always looking for new twitter followers and people to follow so look me up! ilivemybliss

  • November 12, 2008

    Great article Darren.

    I have a quick question. What do you think is better, unique Twitter background or with a design similar to your brand/blog/site?

  • November 12, 2008

    @Freelance Twins. I covered your point in the post. Even if they only see your background one time, the right background can make a very big impression and point them to your website or promote your product or service that they might otherwise have never know about. I also don’t agree that most of us only see a background once. If I follow someone and I like their tweets but they tweet 20 times a day, I can’t possibly read them all unless I spend the entire day in front of TweetDeck. So, I visit their profile on occasion to read the tweets that I’d missed. I also think that a great background can get your profile viewed more often because other Twits will post about it and anyone following them will click to check it out.

  • November 12, 2008

    Thanks Darren for this post, I have been contemplating on designing a custom Twitter background for some time now, this post really inspired me to do it! Here’s how my Twitter looks now –

  • November 12, 2008

    Oops not sure why the link didn’t show up, here it is – http://twitter.com/benhomie

  • November 12, 2008

    Is anyone else afraid of Twitter profiles turning into MySpace profiles?

  • November 12, 2008

    Hi
    A very good post,
    Going to try it out.

  • November 12, 2008

    I scheduled a post on this very subject for Sciencetext last week, you’ve stolen my thunder. However, the point I wanted to make was that a lot of people seem to use images that are basically lost behind their tweets and look wrong, backend of a dog sticking out from the sidebar is not the most aesthetically pleasing image. I wanted to recommend something slightly different and have done so in my post, which will appear soon.

  • November 12, 2008

    Good post- I did this last week after seeing a few others…

    My Twitter

  • November 12, 2008

    now you have the gears turning!

    Would you reccomend a seperate ‘business’ and personal twtter accounts? I have been toying with the idea of setting up a business twitter account or my website, as well as one for my online magazine.

  • November 12, 2008

    When I joined Twitter I never understood it’s potential, but now I do. I went to a Scoble meet-up in Austin because of his tweets. There was a group of 25 people. It was a great experience.

    Twitter is a great way to connect and share your expertise. Darren, I’ve subscribed and I’m ready to optimize my Twitter presence.

  • November 12, 2008

    We just created an image and then had it span width wise – not tiled, and then had it fade to a color that we could match to a background color. So, the whole thing is not an image but it flows well.

    Check out the profile: http://www.twitter.com/arifgan

    Background image: http://s3.amazonaws.com/twitter_production/profile_background_images/3338102/nrtwit2.jpg

    Pretty simple, but works for us.

  • November 12, 2008

    I found a tutorial and made an image with three titles I use in my work with my logo at the top. It is simple but effective. I put the link in my name if you want to have a look…if you are into animals and pets you might even want to follow me!

  • November 12, 2008

    Great article. I, too, changed my background as soon as joining to a seamless one that could be tiled that I hadsamed on my computer for my eBay store. Now after readingthis, I am gonna change it to something more, seasonal, not yey gonna do Christmas, would be tired iof it in the 2 months till, but maybe something fall. Thanks again for the clear concise info. Stumbled it for you (&easy find) for me!
    craftyGAgal ~~ on twitter y’all look me up and see what I choose!
    SMILE!

  • November 12, 2008

    I agree with Freelance Twins. It’s definitely nice to have. And if you’re going to have one, colors/theme and all matching your website is the best way for Branding, which should be done for Companies, Designers, etc.

    All in all though, I rarely see my own Twitter page, let alone anyone else who I’m following. Desktop clients, mobile clients, and even services like FriendFeed and Ping.fm basically stop me from checking into the Twitter website. Avatar though, that’s definitely the key. Now that’s seen everywhere. Gravatar here included.

    :)

  • November 12, 2008

    Denise, I think setting up two accounts is a very good idea. I’m sure there are things you’d like to post on a personal Twitter page that you wouldn’t necessarily post on a page about your business.

  • November 12, 2008

    I used my logo as a custom background for a while. Unfortunately, on my somewhat geriatric computer it made my Twitter home page scroll much more slowly. I then switched to a nifty fractal that I’ve had for ages and always liked. It doesn’t look as good as a Twitter background as I thought it would, and the scrolling is still noticeably slower than on a plain background. So it’s back to the drawing board. Thanks for the nudge. :)

  • November 12, 2008

    I decided to make the most of my background and my avatar:
    http://twitter.com/babygotmac
    http://babygotmac.com/charity/

    :)

  • November 12, 2008
    Julie Deeds

    Great tips for backgrounds and thanks for all the resources. If companies are serious about using their own Twitter background to brand themselves they should also check out Twittad.com. It’s a branding and promotion tool that allows companies to put their brand on other Twitter user’s backgrounds for a pretty nominal fee in the online advertising world. It’s a terrific way for companies to select specific Twitter users that can help promote their brand. Coffee shops can purchase local caffiene fiends, Financial Institutions can purchase finance bloggers, etc. It’s definitely the next step for companies to consider beyond their own background for Twitter branding!

  • November 12, 2008

    http://twitter.com/scottlackey

    This background has generated a lot of questions about the backstory and…great for speculation.

    Name the band recording their new album.

    Get that tight really impress me with the location of the image.

  • November 12, 2008

    Thanks for writing this, it’s timely for myself to read this. I’ve been considering taking the steps to change the background, but have yet to find time. Yet again, here’s a post prompting me to take action. Thanks!

  • November 12, 2008
    Jamie Lee

    Thank you both so much for sharing this info – it’s just what I was looking for and then some.
    As always – you rock!

  • November 12, 2008

    There is one other option, as a site called Twittad offers you the chance to sell your background for advertising…I covered it back in September (http://www.140char.com/2008/09/is-twittad-just-a-fad/), and actually just accepted an advert – I’m waiting to see what the response is from my followers etc…

  • November 12, 2008

    As if I didn’t have enough to do today Darren! :-) I threw this together. I will probably change it up and add to it when I get more time.
    I just used PSP7 and built it using some icons and images I had laying around, and of course my current Logo.
    That little white ^ in the header is annoying, it covered up my “easy as”, but any higher and the Twitter logo covers the top part of logo sighh..
    Using 1024×768 here.

  • November 12, 2008

    Okay, I’ve seen all the different backgrounds but had never looked into how to change mine. So, thanks for the post – I have been playing around with my background today. Right now, it might be a bit too “loud.” Got to find the right mix.

  • November 12, 2008

    Looking forward to trying out this tutorial.

    Here are some very colourful backgrounds that I’ve put together for Twitter users.

    http://www.adrianbruce.com/backgrounds.html

    Enjoy

    Adrian

  • November 12, 2008

    Custom backgrounds – what a great idea!
    Here’s mine:
    http://twitter.com/MicheleConnolly

  • November 12, 2008

    Thanks for the specific how-tos. We had already created a custom background to promote our e-book, “Blogophobia Conquered,” but it doesn’t look too great. These instructions will help us re-work and improve.

    Laura Christianson
    Co-founder, HeBlogsSheBlogs.com
    https://twitter.com/HeBlogsSheBlogs

  • November 12, 2008

    Took your advice Darren and created my own…my MS Paint Fu is mighty weak though :) You can check it out at: http://twitter.com/stuartcfoster

  • November 12, 2008

    I did my twitter background the other day, it’s fairly minimal, and I’m thinking up upgrading it. The only real visual feature is the little bar that holds the twitter bar.

    http://twitter.com/willhiggins

  • November 12, 2008

    I love customized Twitter bg’s. I love playing with photoshop and design on the side and Twitter gave me the opportunity to do so as I customized my profile (www.twitter.com/sonnygill) to match my personal brand, what I’m about and where you can find me and contact me.

  • November 12, 2008

    Excellent post. I have thought about doing this for a while but haven’t really determined a method. Thanks for the boost!

    Robert.

  • November 12, 2008

    ooh., I’m excited to create my own.

  • November 12, 2008

    Hi Darren and the rest of the commenters,

    I´m a designer so I decided (inspired by others) to make a twist to my twitter background a week ago, now I´m receiving 3-5 followers daily!

    I had the problem with resolutions, Thanks for the great advice.

  • November 12, 2008

    hi Darren, it’s a tough balancing act trying to be tasteful in a very limited space while standing out from the crowd.

    I’ve played around with this idea for awhile and as with blog designs, I’ll probably be changing my Twitter background on a regular basis to keep things fresh!

    Thx for the awesome tutorial, I’m really enjoying TwiTip!!! My Twitter background is at…
    http://twitter.com/TheBlogArtist

  • November 12, 2008

    hehe, i’m still giggling over the pic of the dogs balls.

  • November 12, 2008

    I am actually quite proud of my own custom Twitter background :)

    Even though it is quite simple, it matches my website really well so the transition between my website and twitter page is very smooth. I did not only customize the background image, but also changed the color scheme of the left navigation to match my website.

    You can check it out at: http://twitter.com/FileinaBox

  • November 12, 2008

    I recently re did my background to show my primary website’s urls and also made it look like my monobook (wikipedia) themed blog. It looks quite tasty and seems to degrade well on smaller browsers. I got the idea from a blog called twitip…

  • November 12, 2008

    Great post! Makes me happy, as to change my Twitter background is in my ToDo list.

  • November 12, 2008

    Hi Darren,

    this is a good post. I just changed my twitter background yesterday. It changed the appearance totally.

  • November 13, 2008

    Nice comprehensive article on one of the most overlooked marketing opportunities for any business or entrepreneur using Twitter. tutorial on how to create a custom Twitter background went live today for those who interested in creating a custom Twitter background :D

    Wesley
    The Geek Entrepreneur

  • November 13, 2008
    B3thy

    thanks for the great information! I am going to customize my background right now :)

  • November 13, 2008

    I have been waiting for a post like this! Thanks!

  • November 13, 2008

    This is a great post with some very valuable tips for creating custom Twitter backgrounds. I have been running a contest, giving away custom designs and there are three morning drawings in November. You can enter here: http://www.avertua.com/twitter

  • November 13, 2008

    Well I’ve wasted.. er SPENT the last couple of hours playing with this darn thing.. plus twitter wasn’t cooperation and kept going back to my old background instead of the one I was uploading. https://twitter.com/YourWebChick take a look and tell me what you think. :) I grew and photographed the sunflower so it’s definately not duplicatable..(Is that a word?) tee hee….

  • November 13, 2008

    Here’s a fantastic post with 42 Information Packed Twitter Backgrounds that take the idea of a Twitter business card to the next level: http://www.iammikesmith.com/42-information-packed-twitter-backgrounds/

    Like Huge says, I think it’s important to keep in mind that your background really is the first thing that someone sees when they visit your page from clicking on an @ tweet from one of the people they follow, or from an external source, so it really is important to make a good first impression. Plus, it helps you leverage your Twitter traffic to other profiles of yours online when done correctly.

    http://www.twitter.com/coryobrien

  • November 14, 2008

    Great post! and links love the backgrounds.
    We just switched up our twitter background.
    Send us a tweet and let us know what you think, we’re always looking for input!
    Thanks!
    -Adam, Wendy & Lola (Woof Woof)
    http://Twitter.com/Pawluxury

  • November 15, 2008

    I did a basic one for my twitter page..pretty easy

    http://www.twitter.com/danlondon

  • November 15, 2008

    I just did a bunch of custom twitter pages today after folks read this article. Seems everyone wants one now!:

    http://twitter.com/thatonecaveman
    http://twitter.com/jnickles
    http://twitter.com/frugaldad
    http://twitter.com/ncheapskate

    It’

  • November 16, 2008

    Check out InviteShare’s background: Simple, but easy to read.
    InviteShare’s updates are all about invites to private Web 2.0 startups.
    http://www.twittter.com/inviteshare

  • November 16, 2008

    Great article — just hooked up with your blog. Was able to put one together in Illustrator this morning — not bad for the first try. http://twitter.com/Vitessepress

  • November 28, 2008

    Darren,
    Thank you for creating this entire site. It has been most helpful & informative. This post was a really cool one. Very helpful tutorial about the custom backgrounds. Between this and @ResPres creating his I was inspired & motivated. Mine can be seen here:
    https://twitter.com/DaleChumbley/status/1026852647
    Take care,
    Dale

  • November 30, 2008

    Excellent explanation of the design options, Dale. I have made a few custom backgrounds but I prefer to work with the 1280 option and the ability to utilize both left & right side columns. But it’s unfortunate that due to the various settings, not everyone sees the backgrounds the way they were originally intended. twitter.com/virtuallyready

  • November 30, 2008

    Excellent explanation of the design options, Dale. I have made a few custom backgrounds but I prefer to work with the 1280 option and the ability to utilize both left & right side columns. But it’s unfortunate that due to the various settings, not everyone sees the backgrounds the way they were originally intended. http://www.twitter.com/virtuallyready

  • November 30, 2008

    excellant post

  • November 30, 2008

    I just started my Twitter and wanted to use my graphical talent in creating a background with my companies logo and information on the side. Your article had the information I was looking for to design a few backgrounds for myself.

    Thanks –

    William
    http://www.vividlydrawn.com

  • December 2, 2008

    Great article. I love getting creative with my custom twitter background, and I’m always changing it up! Check it out.

    http://twitter.com/phil_franks

  • December 2, 2008

    I too have decided to give making custom backgrounds a shot. It’s my first real online venture. Doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as much demand as for Myspace and bebo backgrounds but the demographic is quite different I imagine. I’m interested to know if anybody has seen any real benefits from a custom background as opposed to a standard one.

    Twittalicious.com

  • December 2, 2008

    Not a bad article considering it was written by some punk kid.

    I followed your advice and here’s what I came up with… http://twitter.com/iskillingme

    Here’s some advice back at ya. Stay off my lawn!!!

  • December 2, 2008

    Great post with a lot of important information and resources. I just updated my Twitter background too.
    You can check out my branded background at http://twitter.com/mayhemstudios

  • December 8, 2008

    A few free custom twitter backgrounds I designed using GIMP.

    http://nwc1.blogspot.com

  • December 21, 2008
    stepher
    @stepher

    Hugh:

    I’ve looked at ALL of the branded backgrounds linked above and I can’t see 100% of any of them. I see maybe 50% & then rest appears under the main tweet area.

    It’s maddening.

    Should I change my monitor set-up or something?

    BTW, it appears the same in both IE and FF & I’ve had this computer for two years so I know it’s not a bad computer thing.

    What do I change or does everyone also see them this way? I feel like such a dolt!

    THANKS!

    Stepher

  • December 22, 2008

    @stepher Your screen resolution DOES matter… I know mine looks perfect to me with my screen resolution, but a BUNCH of other peoples has their contact information hidden from my view.. So for me I put my screen resolution where it works for my work and if I can’t see all their twitter background… you can always copy and paste it into a graphic program and see the whole thing if you need to. hope that helps. :)

  • December 22, 2008

    @stepher:

    I agree with @yourwebchick – your screen resolution does matter when it comes to seeing some of these Twitter backgrounds. Some backgrounds have different widths and heights, depending on what the designer is trying to show – my background is 1600×1200 pixels and only shows my main information to the upper-left.

  • December 22, 2008
    stepher
    @stepher

    Chris Morin -

    Thanks. I figured it had to be something like that. It’s odd but my screen resolution works for just about every other webpage I’ve come across, but for some reason, the branded Twitter backgrounds never show up for me.

    I appreciate the feedback!

  • December 22, 2008

    @stepher

    Are you on a laptop or smaller monitor that has shorter height? I know mine was cutting off on laptops, made my info on the left shorter. The problem is that twitter background is set to fixed, so it can’t scroll.

    A safe size is around 500 pixels from the top and 250-300 from the left. It will depend on everyone settings, etc. All you can do is design for the average monitor sizes, which around 17.”

  • January 15, 2009

    Great tip, I was just looking for the way to do this and you answered my questions and more.

  • February 18, 2009

    I just Had to thank you for this wonderful posting.

    I followed your instructions and can’t believe it – it came out!!!

    You are terrific and thanks so much. Go take a look
    Brenda

  • February 18, 2009
    Kabilan SA
    @kabilan

    You can check out my branded background at : http://twitter.com/kabilan

  • February 26, 2009

    I just made my design! ;-)

  • March 1, 2009

    Great Twitips..Always looking to get more creative with the Twitter profile’s look!

  • March 1, 2009

    The assumption that the image size available is determined by monitor size is flawed. It is determined by the window width, which you, the designer, have no control over. Unless I resize my window to make it larger than I want, most backgrounds with information in the left margins get chopped off and look terrible! Much of the advice above is really good, except for this, which I examine in a blog post, Twitter background: don’t do it!

  • March 3, 2009

    Thanks for posting this. I am going to have to start generating some ideas.

  • March 4, 2009

    Thanks for the tip……… Just redid my background came out great….

    JC

    Miami, FL

  • March 14, 2009

    Hi Darren,
    Thanks for this post. Twitter backgrounds really do make a difference in user experience for those who visit you and creating and implementing mine was a great way to share information about our special project.
    Cheers!
    Sue

  • March 17, 2009

    Hi! Great tips :) I’ve starting doing some freebie twitter backgrounds as well. I think customization is important, especially when seeking to gain new followers who are savvy and screening who they follow back.

  • March 18, 2009

    Unfortunately Twitter cant manage to show a 1600×1200 87kb background on IE7 – be warned !

    I wasted 3 hours designing a nice bg just for it not to work.
    Hopefully someone out there will make sthg like Twitter that actually works!

  • March 20, 2009
    Cynthia Young
    @cynthiayoung

    I loved making a Twitter background – but I keep wanting to change it and tweek it. I think the more personal your twitting is the more personal your background should be. I wanted people to see a “snapshot” of me – so I added little snapshots….

  • March 21, 2009

    Lol, I spent ages designing a stunning bg (1600×1200) only to find out (thanks btw) that all I need to do is design a 225px wide left-hand-side piece and then blend that in with a matching bg color.

    Yikes.

  • March 22, 2009
    Shelby Lynn
    @SappyLoveStory

    Thanks for the tips on here! I was able to make my new background with your photos specs. Check it out! http://www.twitter.com/sappylovestory

  • March 25, 2009

    Thanks for the ideas. I used my website’s background as my twitter background. It’s so seamless I didn’t even notice that I had left my own website when I clicked on the twitter link… it almost looks like my twitter profile is part of my own site. I liked this so much, I did the same thing to my myspace account. Kewl… You can see it here: Chris Everett Twitter Page

  • March 26, 2009

    very cool, I have just added my own now.
    shot

  • March 27, 2009

    Thanks for the article – really simple to understand

  • March 30, 2009

    I’m glad I stumbled upon this post. …coz I’m about to pimp my twitter! Thanks for the advices.

  • April 1, 2009

    Great post Darren – I’ve just branded up our twitter profile with a custom background and matching picture @ http://www.twitter.com/scotlandhotels. Our website is still in production but we’re finding that twitter has been great for building up interest with like minded people!

  • April 1, 2009

    Please tell me what you think of my new design!!

  • April 1, 2009

    great stuff- best is its been explained in very simple language- I am looking forward to brand my twitter profile

  • April 8, 2009

    Good post. I *JUST* created my custom background and ran into many of the challenges and limitations that you describe. I tried to balance it all out, but of course one of the first people to look at it was our company founder who said IMMEDIATELY “it cuts off part of the background”. I tried to explain, but it would have been much easier to just give her a link to this article!!

  • April 10, 2009

    Great post! I just recently joined twitter and saw one of these custom backgrounds from someone I followed. After having read this tutorial I went ahead and did my own. I played around with my desktop resolutions and came across exactly the problems described here – really, the best bet is just to place a few things with 120 pix width to the left. I hope twitter will change their fixed settings in the future so there will be more creative wiggle room. But without it getting out of hand like on myspace. So, anyone feel free to check out my Twitter profile and let me know if it displays ok. Thanks!
    p.s.: I put you on my following list, Darren. ;-)

  • April 11, 2009

    I have recently discovered that it is possible for custom backgrounds. I am now exploring the possibility for a custom one.

  • April 19, 2009

    Thanks for a great post! I used your tips and redesigned my Twitter page. Well done.

  • April 19, 2009

    This really helped me out in creating a background fro my Twitter!! I’m under username propartygirl if you’d like to take a look. Thanks again!!!!

  • April 24, 2009

    I had originally created my own Twitter background because I wanted to add more info about myself and my company. I didn’t even realize how bad the design was until I had it redone by a design professional http://twittro.com/

  • April 24, 2009

    Nice tips: many thanks!

  • April 28, 2009

    I too am a Twitter background designer (Free and Premium) and would add a little about the Colors:

    Changing the Font and Background colors.

    Besides changing the background image of your Twitter account you can also match your image with colors (Settings – Change design colors).

    Warning: Never use a white (#ffffff) or almost-white font as it will ‘hide’ your Tweets – it may look pretty on your sidebar but Twitter will inherit it as the navigation and Tweet colors.

    Your ‘Background color’ choice should, of course, be the color of your background as this color will show whilst your background is loading.
    ‘Text’, ‘links’, ’sidebar’ and ’sidebar border’ should match your design – you’ll need to know the hex values; the easiest way of knowing these is to download the free Colorpic by Iconico.
    Once you have it, run the app and point the pipette at your background and you’ll know your hex values.

    Hope this helps.

    How to choose the colors

  • April 29, 2009

    I’d really like to see an automated tool for creating Twitter backgrounds.

  • April 30, 2009
    Adam

    Impressive post. I have seen a lot of sites offering Twitter backgrounds, but most are paid for. These are great if you’re looking for something custom. I seen a site that offers free Twitter backgrounds and the site has a very impressive selection. The site is updated daily also.

    The site is http://sweettweet.net

    I think they do customs also, but you would have to ask them.

  • May 5, 2009

    Thanks for the informative article. I just finished my custom twitter background and am loving the uniqueness!

  • May 6, 2009

    Even at 1152 x 864, most Twitter backgrounds end up getting stepped all over by the floating Twitter boxes. You’ve gotta be really conservative with the left-hand portion of your image if you want it to be viewed intact. And what’s going to happen with the right-hand portion is anybody’s guess…

  • May 7, 2009

    I did my own profile background, after much trial and error got it kinda right. anyway i am give away 1 custom profile background formy site’s contest do check it out.

  • May 9, 2009

    I am definitely trying this out. Maybe this can increase my follower a bit =)

  • May 11, 2009

    I am surprised how many people don’t bother to customise their Twitter backgrounds, unfortunately it’s often those celebs or organisations that don’t need to make any effort to attract huge numbers of followers.

    Using a personalised Twitter background shows that you ‘respect’ your vistors/followers and gives them something of you to provided context to your tweets.

    Here’s mine;

    http://twitter.com/DriversRepublic

  • May 13, 2009

    thanks so much I’ve been back twice to read this great information. I deleted my background on accident the other day:(

  • May 17, 2009

    thanks for the instructions, trying to make one now.

  • May 18, 2009

    Hey,
    Nice posting on twitter backgrounds this will help to each and every professaiona who is handling or using twitter.

  • May 20, 2009

    Very informative. Thank you for covering image widths and providing examples. Very well written and stumbled!

  • June 9, 2009

    Great post, allot to remember when making a twitter background. the sizes you have given will help alot. ;o)

  • June 13, 2009

    This is a great tutorial as quite a few things go into consideration when creating a custom Twitter background. Here is one that I created – http://twitter.com/ChaseontheLake

  • June 13, 2009

    You can find FREE Twitter backgrounds at http://www.mytwitterbackgrounds.com! I also heard they are soon to offer Custom Twitter Backgrounds as well! Get a new theme for your Twitter profile, hope this helps! :)

  • June 25, 2009
    Suvarnabhoomi
    @muangthaitv

    How could we set background is senter ?
    Easy to manage and set all pattern.

    Thanks
    Suvarnabhoomi

  • July 9, 2009

    Here is our custom twitter page, matching our branding, looks pretty impressive I think!

    Coast Digital Twitter

  • July 11, 2009

    Hey Guys,
    Great article. You definitely hit on alot of very valid points.

    I make custom designed Twitter pages at TwitterBackground.com. If you own a business or company and use Twitter, you got to get one designed from us! It’s on special for $75 right now.

    TwitterBackground.com also has hundreds of Free backgrounds for everybody too! Feel free to use! And if anyone needs any help making backgrounds themselves, feel free to give us a shout!

    Thanks,
    -James F

  • July 18, 2009

    My turn to make a good impression on twitter :)

  • July 21, 2009

    I created one for my girlfriend last night. I notice that if you are using your own background image and if you unchecked the “tile” option, the image will not repeat . You will need to do some editing with your image so that if the image tile (repeat) , it wouldn’t be ugly than try this…. make sure your image width is 1680 pixel. So at least if you are using 22″ monitor, you still get it blend beautifully.

    Here is the link.. http://twitter.com/yithua

  • July 23, 2009

    Now this is a what I call a great article, this is some very useful information you have here, thank you!

  • August 1, 2009

    A quick and dirty way of designing a background for your twitter page is to remember that the main window is 695px wide If you use a web design package that centres the window this will allow you to place your images in the right place. Use 1600 x 1200 images for those with larger screens.

    http://www.twitter.com/Des_Taylor

  • August 9, 2009

    Hey Darren,

    It’s a great posts by the way and so neat with details about how to create a cool custom twitter background design.

    I think I’ll be testing out everything that you wrote here. Cool.

    BTW, I just found some cool site for custom twitter backgrounds design. Check this out: http://customtwitterbackgrounds.info

    If you’ve any more resources, please feel free to share. Your posts is invaluable to me.

    Thanks a lot Darren. Keep doing the great work.

    Ronak.

  • August 10, 2009
    janine

    Comment on Colour Lovers—in some cases, a 3 year old would probably do a better job…lol

    Like some of the other people that have commented here, changing out the background was the first thing I did when signing up for Twitter. It’s really not that difficult—only as difficult as you wish to make it.

  • August 12, 2009

    to blend a photo into backgorund, do u have to do it in photoshop or alike, or is it poss to do it within twitter?

  • August 17, 2009

    Ive done one myself, not that difficult and I am no graphics guru.

  • August 24, 2009

    Great information, will be using some of your tips to enhance visibility – Thank you.

  • September 24, 2009

    Nice article. I have just starte using Twitter to harness the power of Social Networking. Twitter is a fantastic networking tool. Please visit my Tweets and follow me!!

  • September 26, 2009

    I enjoyed this read, it was very detailed and informative. I plan on retweeting this post right after I finish this comment. I also wrote a piece on why it is important to get a custom twitter background that can be found here: The Benefits of Customizing Your Twitter Profile Background for those interested.

  • October 12, 2009

    This is the information i’m looking for.Thanks for your kind sahring on this piece of useful information.

  • November 2, 2009

    Thanks for the help! I just did a trial run, and it will need some tweaking, but better than what I had before! Thanks

    http://twitter.com/dayeseye

  • November 6, 2009

    this is what i’m looking for, thanks for the information.

  • November 7, 2009

    thanks for information, it’s helpful

  • November 9, 2009

    The only thing I do right now is find a graphic I like and tile it. And then do a custom design based on the tiled image.

  • November 11, 2009

    FINALLY got around to updating my background, thanks to this article. Thanks for breaking it down!

  • November 15, 2009

    Thanks so much! A year later and it is still useful -

  • November 18, 2009

    Thanks for the tips, I made a new backgorund for my company http://www.marketyourcenter.com a commercial real estate marketing company,

  • November 18, 2009

    Thanks for the great backgrounds.

  • November 20, 2009

    why can’t twitter just make an application that eliminates all of the trouble. I was freaking out about the sizes until I read your post above….thanks!

  • November 22, 2009

    Thanks for these tips, esp. the sizing requirements, essential for producing a pro background. We’ll start working on this over the weekend and have something up by coming week.

    Josh

  • November 25, 2009

    You motivated me to get off my butt and get ‘er dun!!! In fact, I’m going to go ahead and add customized Twitter background automatically to my website packages!!! Thanks!!

  • December 5, 2009

    Thanks for the guide Darren. I have thinking about customizing my BG for awhile and now I have clients who expect custom themes. Very useful article I will share.

  • December 6, 2009

    Thanks for the post and theres also some very imformative post here too i wll def check out. I was wondering how to this, for quite some time i guess it time to give the people something to look at…

  • December 9, 2009
    DaraBell
    @DaraghBell

    Hey,

    Great article better than the others I read. I will try someof it out agree doing something is better than nothing as a starting point.

  • December 10, 2009

    If you want your background to reach the most audiences, unfortunately you’ll have to go at least 1920×1200 and keep the sidebar info in a space that’ll show on as low as 1280×800. And even compressed with Photoshop’s “save for web” you’ll be lucky if you’re below 600k with most photomanipulated backgrounds (which are what people ask for the most, oddly enough). I make them freelance myself. A lot cheaper than a lot of the well-known sites out there.

  • January 23, 2010

    Thanks for the great post. Most importantly, it gave me the specifics that I needed in order to create my own custom background. And yes, I actually did it using just the information from this post.

  • February 1, 2010

    I have a Squidoo page featuring free creative Twitter backgrounds designed by me:
    http://www.squidoo.com/twitter-backgrounds-sunil

  • February 3, 2010

    These backgrounds are awesome, thanks

    Ghillie Suits

  • February 15, 2010

    These are some great collections. If you have time you can check my designs too. I’ve been customizing others twitter account to show some uniqueness. :) thanks

  • February 24, 2010

    For professional Twitter designs and cool custom backgrounds — Checkout TwitArt.com http://twitart.com/. TwitArt.com designs were really great! Get yours now.

  • February 27, 2010

    Great quick article…I utilized your specs on sizing – Thanks!!

  • March 9, 2010

    Thank you so much for the great post! It helped me very much. Now I am ready to design my own Twitter background.

  • April 8, 2010

    i went to make a layout

  • April 12, 2010

    Hey Thanks for these wonderful ways to create twitter background. I have used stripe generator to make its background. Its looking great! I am loving it.

    Thanks once again!

  • April 16, 2010

    Thank you so much. Have just created my new layout. Looks much better than before! I’m looking forward to more tips from you!

  • May 6, 2010

    Just made one for my company’s recruiting-focused twitter account..

    http://twitter.com/americanincome

  • May 7, 2010

    Thanks, I am going to use a thumbnail of my Homepage floating on top of a picture of a dog in my garden. I just did not know where to start and how the process worked.

  • May 9, 2010

    I wish I were better at photoshop. I think my Twitter background is holding me back right now. Maybe I should just hire someone to do it for me. Anyone out there feel like doing me a favor? I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask.

  • June 4, 2010

    @MattMaresca

    Don’t let the twitter background get in the way!

    We’ve documented our attempts here: http://www.latteperday.com/blog/creating-a-twitter-page-that-fits/

    Try and create a new one! Set yourself a 15 minute deadline and see aht you come up with or google for a twitter background generator – that might help.

    Best of luck!

  • June 11, 2010

    Will be busy now designing a new background for Twitter, some useful advice on this post, much appreciated

  • June 18, 2010
    Mike
    @mladd

    Don’t most people use 3rd party applications now for Twitter? Besides to add a new list, I haven’t used the web based version for almost a year. I couldn’t even tell you what my background is.

  • June 21, 2010

    good stuff… applying right away.

  • June 28, 2010

    Great post!

    Here are some key things to consider when designing a Custom Twitter Background:

    #1 – The BIO area in the “Twitter Content Area” gets picked up through Google searches. I recommend putting your “business keywords/content” there.

    #2 – Because the custom twitter background is a JPG/PNG it doesn’t have any “searchable” value. I recommend putting your “personality” there. (i.e. the personal funstuff so people see your real, photo)

    #3 – Design to the common resolutions (1280×768, 1440×900, 1680×1050, 1920×1200).

    #4 – With a custom branded background, you most likely increase your chances of someone “stopping” and following, then if you had a “stock” background from Twitter.

    #5 – If you’re attempting to utilize Twitter as a sales tool for your product or service… then don’t add ALL of your thousands of social media. Sometimes it drives people in, what I call a “social media loop” and they never get to your storefront (which is where you need them to land). That’s like sending out a Direct Mail card advertising your YellowPage Ad (it’s advertising the advertisement).

    :)

    Let me know if anyone has any questions… be glad to help.
    -Matt Clark /// TweetPage Connoisseur

  • August 3, 2010

    Here’s a question about any studies done with regard to how many people read tweets via their browser.

    The answer I would think could, for the most part, make backgrounds “moot”.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much in favor of extending one’s brand to include design for twitter background, but wonder how many people like me read (and follow) people through strictly a third party app like Yoono, or HootSuite, or Pluggio, etc.

  • August 11, 2010

    Great post! and links love the backgrounds.I am going to use a thumbnail of my Homepage floating on top of a picture of a dog in my garden.

  • August 11, 2010

    After searching around for design ideas for customising my Twitter page, I stumbled on this page. Must say I love the idea of do a little or do a lot. Thanks for your insight. Drop in at twitter.com/rg1283 and let me know how my background turned out. Comments and suggestions most welcome. Thanks

  • August 11, 2010

    what we can do to increases engagement on twitter page

  • September 2, 2010

    Working on a new background image right now as we speak (type). I’m warning ya… its ugly right now. Any input would be much appreciated.

  • September 18, 2010

    Thank you for the information. Wish the links were clickable on the Twitter background but regardless, it looks much better now.

  • September 24, 2010

    Just started our page. No followers or followees, but a sweet background design if I do say so myself. https://twitter.com/TheDigitalRanch

  • October 15, 2010

    Do you have any advice on designing a new background for the new twitter?

    http://www.twitter.com/sweeticebiz

  • October 26, 2010

    Thanks for the excellent ideas. I have found a few things to really work well for me:

  • November 2, 2010

    Just created my FIRST Twitter Background – Using Photoshop. It took a lot of trial and error, but definitely worth it in the end. Don’t have any follower’s yet though, I presume that will come with time. Tweet me if you will.

  • November 3, 2010

    I’ve been thinking of making a Twitter account for my website but I always worried about having a unique background image (because I have zero design skills lol)…but I think the pattern generators would be a great place to start.

  • December 18, 2010

    Thanks for sharing very useful tips about how to customize a Twitter background. I got inspiration from your work and personalize the Twitter background for my upcoming Netflix application for BlackBerry in the App World Store.

    You can see it at: http://twitter.com/daflicks

  • January 19, 2011

    Ok… default backgrounds and pre-set themes are boring… custom means cool… (math sounds and blinking lights fade unto lightbulb screen, then to question mark…) So, my background is one where I took a default, cut the ranch, doubled it, added my phrase, then it’s translation into french. What does that make me? Cool or Boring?

  • January 21, 2011

    I need to re-work my background now. I’m thinking of duplicating a twitter background with my website background.

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