Do you like free stuff? I think the better question is, who doesn’t like free stuff?
The next question: do you realize you have a plethora of free advertisement right at your fingertips? Social media gives you the option to plaster your brand all over your page and completely customize your look. You have profile pictures, headers, and banners galore, but are you utilizing them to their full potential?
Let’s talk Twitter, and how you can customize your banner to best suit your brand and get the most bang for your (free) buck.

01. Display your work

If you’re an artist you want to get your work out there. Why not use your social media to promote it as much as possible? Here the illustrator Nate Kitch showcases his work in his Twitter banner. You could custom make a banner just for Twitter or use one of your existing pieces. Using work you’ve created adds an element of personalization as well as showing your skills and specialization.

02. Use perspective

Use perspective to excite the eye and draw it forward. The more visually stimulating your banner is, the more likely people will be to visit your page time and time again. Here Andy Hau uses his architecture skills to create an interesting design to pull the viewer forward. It’s abstract enough that you can determine what the image is for yourself, yet it still contains consistent movement.

03. Be consistent

Translate your banner into your profile picture. In Eurico’s Twitter banner, he uses the same color and style as his profile picture, which adds consistency and an overall feeling of unity to the page.

04. Show what you do

Sometimes people may not be familiar with your brand or what you do, so why not use your banner to show them? Headspace, which deals with youth mental health, draws attention to their subject matter in their banner. They show two different young people who both have difficulties and encourage them to talk it out.

05. Use patterns

Repetition pleases the eye and is easy to understand. Seeing repeats of colors and visuals creates interest, and is something that can be evolved over time in your banners. Steve Simpson uses a floral and skeleton pattern with a unified color scheme. The skeleton and select colors are also repeated in his profile picture, which adds to the repetition.

06. Try a limited color palette

Pushing yourself to use a limited color palette can give a retro, unique feel. Throw in some texture and you can have something really special. Computer Arts limited themselves to three colors, but you don’t feel as though anything is lacking. They use the colors in a way that doesn’t feel repetitive, and using the colors as texture as well ties it all together nicely.

07. Don’t be afraid of negative space

Simplicity can be an excellent thing to utilize in your banner. Keeping things clean and simple allows for easy understanding for viewers, and can evoke a feeling of professionalism and a certain chicness. Maurizio Marinelli uses negative space expertly in his banner. A solid, flat color makes up the bulk of it, but the subtle hint of the ‘M.’ in the upper right corner gives just enough of a flair to add character to the banner.

08. Stand for something

Feel free to express yourself in your banner, no matter what it is. If you show you can take a stand, it shows you have a backbone. While Austin Kleon doesn’t exactly stand for something ‘serious’, he still takes a stand on what he likes and doesn’t like. The text also has a personal feel because it looks handwritten and shifts a little on each line.

09. Use shapes

Don’t be afraid to break up space with shapes. You can treat the shapes as little windows to house different bits of information, like the popular magazine Communication Arts. Triangles break up the plane nicely. Some of the triangles are just black with different colored text, while others show color washed images of work featured in the magazine.

10. Be linear

Use lines to break up areas and create different depths of field. Here Niklas Lundberg uses lines to break up the composition and make the hand feel as though it is reaching forward. It gives a two dimensional space a three dimensional feel.

11. Create a scene

Tell a story with your banner. That’s what banners are for, telling stories visually. Erwin Kho shows a story of a futuristic environment that he created. It’s more interesting to look at something you can interpret, like a scene, than it is to look at a flat piece of work with no meaning.

12. Be proud

Show what you’ve been doing. Be proud of what you do and show it off, plus it makes for regular updates once you’ve finished something up. Am I Collective, an illustration studio, updates their banner whenever they finish a big project, like the one you see here.

13. Show process

If your work involves a type of process, show it. Showing how you work gives a deeper glimpse into who you are, and shows your entire range of skills. Eunike Nugroho created a banner that shows her work from start to finish. You can see where it began and where it ended, and get a feel for her working style.

14. Create a personal connection

Make your brand more personable by showing individuals with a connection to it. Designboom shows employees and people featured in their magazine holding ‘boom’ pins, signifying their support of the brand. It gives a face to those behind the magazine and makes it feel much more personal.

15. Use layers

Using a shadow to separate graphics and photos creates a layered effect that gives more dimension to your image. 1st Web Designer uses a partial opacity layer of color over top of their photograph, which helps to separate it from the graphics over top. The neutral color over the photos helps the bright graphics pop even more.

16. Arrange a space

Set up a little area that feels cozy and matches your brand. It makes your page feel a lot more personable when you can see someone’s environment. Lindsey Riel did a great job of showing a space. It is clean, simple, and organized, yet still feels comfortable.

17. Show your unique style

If you have a unique style, showcase it on your banner. In Dominic Wilcox’s banner, he showcases his unique illustration style along with an accomplishment of his – his published book. Feel free to show your unique traits and accomplishments in your banner. It adds to your credibility as a brand and makes you look more reputable.

18. Use subtle texture

Adding in subtle textures to your graphics and photographs can bring them out of the flat, two dimensional space. Dana Fox uses textures in her banner illustrations to give them more character and a more organic, natural feel.

19. Give a face to the name

Seeing a brand online is impersonal. A lot of the time it feels like you’re interacting with just a screen. Use your banner to show who’s behind that screen, it’ll encourage people to interact more with your brand. Knotch shows some of their employees on their banner, and you can see the different types of people and personalities that make their company up.

20. Have a theme

Whether you choose a color, a design, or a pattern, having a theme creates a feeling of unity. Behance, an online portfolio website, chose to stick with the theme of the color blue, matching their branding. They also have a pattern of users’ work in the background, adding to the theme.

21. Use a background texture

Using a texture in the background of your banner can add a little something extra to push it over the edge. AIGA could have had the announcement of their awards gala on a simple black background, but adding in the sparkling star effect gives it an extra feel of elegance. Different textures can evoke different feelings, all depending on what your brand is going for.

22. Play with scale

Don’t be afraid to push the limits of your typography in your banner. Play with different sized text pairings and colors to create a unique design in its own right. HOW Design uses large scaled type alongside smaller type to create a dominance in their banner. You know the brand, HOW, is most important, and then you see the message to the right, explaining what they’re all about.

23. Have a message

 Use your banner to showcase a message you don’t want to tweet out all the time.Your banner can change as your messages change, just be sure to update and don’t leave an old promotion up. Taco Bell uses their Twitter banner to promote their new app, and they even include a hashtag that should be used, killing two birds with one stone.

24. Pair design elements with photography

 Incorporate design elements and graphics into your photographs to add another layer of depth. UPS uses their logo shield shape to encompass two workers, showing their employees are invested in the brand, as well as showing their clever acronym of united problem solvers.

25. Show your work environment

 If your work environment influences the work you produce, don’t be afraid to show it. Sharing your private space with viewers gives them a glimpse into your world, and you seem more approachable. Jessica Walsh shows her office area in her banner. You can learn a lot about a person by the environment they surround themselves with, and by seeing her environment, you feel like you know Jessica better.