This is a 5-step tutorial on branding your Twitter profile. It includes a Photoshop file for you to download and use as a template. (There’s more to this tutorial than just the template. So even if you don’t have Photoshop, read on for some Twitter-branding tips.)
Twitter is making a beeline for the mainstream. Marketers, friends and moms are finding more and more ways to connect using this social media service. You can scoop it, remix it or you can use it as a social news source and that’s probably just the beginning. Twitter is here to stay.
With more eyeballs flocking to the service, it’s high time we got rid of the default look and upgraded to something unique. Branding your profile will convey sincerity to potential followers. (Sincerity is just about the only currency that matters online, anymore.) It will be well worth our trouble. Let’s go…
1) Download the Twitter branding template here (5.66MB zipped .psd file) and open it in Photoshop. You’ll see the default Twitter background with some gray boxes laid on top of it. These reference the normal Twitter GUI elements you’ll need to design around.
The edges of all the Twitter GUI elements also have guides to help you with alignment. Pay particular attention to the two guides in the upper left. They create a 14px margin. This will perfectly align your logo (or any other element) with the Twitter logo.
There’s also an “Examples” folder you can flip on if you want to see some examples to get you started. For Voltage Blog’s background, I used the horizontal version of the Voltage Creative logo with a simple “Voltage Orange” fill in the background.
Twitter has a liquid layout, which means those GUI elements move around and center themselves on the screen if the window re-sizes. So I decided to keep it simple, but I’m sure you could do some interesting things with patterns or horizontal elements that work alongside this liquid layout.
Also, keep the Teal Twitter logo in mind when designing. It’s pretty much the only element on the page we can’t tweak. You’ll want to choose colors and shapes that compliment or contrast, and don’t clash with it.
2) Once you’ve got something you like, switch off the “Twitter GUI Elements” layer and go to File > Save for Web & Devices… It should be fairly easy to tweak the settings here to get your image under 700kb. (You may not have to do anything all.) Once you have your image saved, head over to your as-of-now boring Twitter profile.
3) Click on Settings in the upper-right, then go to Design and click on the Change Background Image tab and you’ll see this dashboard. Hit the “Browse…” button and upload your saved design. It might take a minute and chances are good you will see a fail whale… (I love you Twitter!) But it will work, eventually.
4) While we’re in here we need to make the rest of our profile match our new background…
Still in the Settings > Design area, click on the Change Design Colors tab. This will give you the above dashboard where you can choose complimentary and/or contrasting colors for your GUI elements. This is where you can really polish your Twitter Profile.
5) Lastly you need a proper avatar. This can be any square picture that represents the profile well. You can upload an avatar under Settings > Picture. It’s 48x48px on the site. You probably want to design it at that size, so you know it actually looks like something, even when it’s tiny.
And you’re done! Now your Twitter profile is interesting and personal/personable, which will make people more likely to follow you! (Which is the point right?)
Here’s an example of a personal page. You can find it in the “Examples” folder in that .PSD you downloaded.
This is my own Twitter page. As an individual’s profile it’s branded differently than a blog’s profile. I used a picture of myself for an avatar instead of some logo, and I have a favorite photo as the background. (When using a photo background make sure it’s muted enough to not clash with GUI elements. This would make your profile hard for you to use, and hard for others to read.) In the upper left is my name in Adobe Garamond Pro caps with some hand ligature-tweaking to make it my own.
So there you have it. If you use this template to dress up your profile or even if you don’t, but have profile you’re proud of, leave us a link in the comments.
Now all you have to do is think of something to tweet!