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Creating A Facebook Cover Photo, Mitchell Style

Posted by on Apr 18, 2012
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I have to face this fact; I’m not the most creative guy in the world. I know what I like, but I’m bad at figuring out how to create images and the like. Heck, it took me more than 2 years to figure out a title for my first book. I can write almost anything at almost any time, but I do have my limitations.

Thus, I came into this thing about Facebook, timelines and cover photos with a lot of trepidation. Lucky for me, my personal page hasn’t gone the timeline route yet, but my business page had. And when one came to it and looked at it, there was this major gap in the upper middle that just looked horrible.

I knew I had to take care of that at some point so last night I decided it was time to try to do something. I had saved a great number of pages that all said they were going to teach me how to create a cover photo, which you’ve probably seen on a lot of pages already, but every page was lacking. Most didn’t have anything at all for me. A couple mentioned to use Photoshop or Adobe something, which I can’t remember since I don’t have those programs. And one other site said I could download a template to help me, but only if I subscribed to a newsletter; that wasn’t happening.

So I used Microsoft Publisher to help me out with it, and I’m going to tell you what I did. First, let me show you the image I created:

It might look a little strange, but the explanation is coming.

I opened up my Publisher program, and instead of going through all the gesticulations of trying to remember how to landscape the thing I just made it bigger on my screen. I initially set it to a 150% view, which helped me to start putting things together.

I started with a text box and elongated it into a triangular shape. You’re trying to get to an image size of around 851 x 315, which is odd, but that’s Facebook for you. Then I went to the picture box and selected my business logo to start with because I thought that would work well. The problem is that in reality it’s only 639 pixels wide, and if I was looking at a 100% normal view it would look great. However, at 150% it was smeared and looked lousy, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to use it.

I deleted the picture box and decided to just type in my business name in my business title font, which is Imprint MT Shadow. I added my favorite color, then increased the size. I centered the image as well because I needed to make sure that once I copied and pasted the image into my photo program that I wasn’t going to have to worry about those editing lines that always exist in Publisher.

Once I did that I did a screen print and copied it into Microsoft Photo Editor, the program I like to use for pictures. I cropped around it so I only had my business name showing, then I saved the image. I did that because I figured the first thing to do was see if I could get close to the width required by Facebook. It was way too large, and I had two choices; reduce the size of the font or reduce the size of my view, since I was doing print screen images.

I decided to reduce the size of my view, and I dropped it to 125%. When I tested it again, the images was around 830; I figured that was pretty close as a starting point.

Next, it was time to add images. I knew I was going to frame the bottom with two professional images I have of myself, but wasn’t sure what I’d put in the middle. I tested the two images first though, putting each one on the outside, and then did a series of tests trying to get close to the 315 width. I had to alter the size of the images about 5 times, but I got it to 302 and figured that was close enough for the moment.

Now, which other two images? As you can see, in the end I decided on one with my dad and one which was an actual image that I “cartooned up” to create something different that I liked from years ago. I saved and tested everything, then decided to increase my view size from 125% to 126%, a very minor increase but it brought my image to 852 x 314; almost perfect! Just to let you know in case you don’t already know this, when you save the image you can look at it in Explorer, hover your mouse over it, and it’ll tell you the dimensions. That works for all images on your computer, just so you know.

Now it was time to upload my image to my Facebook business page, which I did, but it didn’t work out. Why not? Here’s the original image:

The problem is that Facebook business pages have this logo box that pops up to the left side. If you don’t have an image in there the box remains with a big question mark, so you have to put an image there. With that box, it completely covered the bottom half of my image; that wouldn’t do. So I had to come back to the drawing board and resize an image, and I decided I didn’t want to shrink my professional image, done by my friend Kelvin by the way, so I reversed the order of the first two images and shortened the cartoon version instead. Here’s what it looks like on the page now:

There you have it. Now, you can obviously go your own route in the type of image you wish to use, but I found for this task that Publisher worked well for me, and doing screen prints also works well for me. Of course, if you have those other fancier programs you can go a much different route. It’s even possible that if you don’t have those programs OR Publisher that you could do the same thing with Word. The problem with Word is that it doesn’t have the image or text boxes to help you out.

There you have it; a true tutorial, even if you can’t use it. Good luck!
 

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28 Comments »

Good job! BTW, I am glad you had to switch those two photos because you do not want a photo leaning OUT of the frame. People’s eyes will follow it and away they go.
Scott Thomas recently posted…Spring TraditionMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

See now, I wouldn’t have known that. lol Still, it threw off my normal pattern of symmetry, but I think I also showed I can be adaptable… sometimes that is.

April 18th, 2012 | 2:50 PM
Angela:

Thanks for sharing your idea how to make a photo cover in facebook. Love it!
Angela recently posted…Los Angeles IT SupportMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

No problem Angela; I hope it helps.

April 18th, 2012 | 4:56 PM

Mitch,
I suggest that you use the online photoshop file editing tool http://pixlr.com/editor/ to create this image. It’s an amazing tool that can be learned in a few minutes and the quality and types of formats supported is just amazing. Recently I designed my new logo in int with ease (after spending on two logos with two designers and ditching them)

With publisher kind of software you lose valuable pixel information.

Also I would try to use all different photos. 2nd and 4th are similar. Man, you need to click a few more of yours more frequently :)

cheers,
Ajith
Ajith Edassery recently posted…Big Traffic Change for Top URL: Webmaster Tools AlertMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks for the downer Ajith; I thought I did pretty good. In any case, it’s not a bad recommendation for others, but for now I’m done.

April 19th, 2012 | 1:46 AM

Man, that was a lot of hard work Mitch, but I’m sure that at the end of it all you were a happy man because it turned our pretty well. Congratulations on a job well done.

Me, I’ve still to create a FaceBook Page. I’ve started but not happy enough to go live yet.
Sire recently posted…How To Get Your Visitors To Click A LinkMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Sire. You know, it looks a lot better on the Facebook site than it does here, and I’m starting to wonder about how my theme shows images, which don’t look at crisp as they do elsewhere. Still, I have to admit that it was a bit of fun while I was doing it.

Sire Reply:

I just went over to your FaceBook page and I agree the image does look better there but I think that the only reason you lost any quality was because you had to shrink it to fit in your post.
Sire recently posted…Monetize Your Blog With LinkShareMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Good point Sire; I hadn’t thought about that but I don’t always create things that fit the size I’m looking for. Now I need to experiment some more.

April 19th, 2012 | 9:46 AM

Good job Mitch and I understand what you’re talking about. It’s as if everyone thinks we are all Adobe photoshop experts. Heck, I don’t even own the program and I never have.

I’m not creative either and although people keep telling me to stop saying that, it’s the darn truth. My imagination is SO limited. I can’t think up cool things or have a wild imagination to come up with so many awesome ideas. Has never happened for me.

I just used Pixlr to create mine and just threw some stuff in there. It will have to do for the time being but I’m sure I’ll have something created down the road.

But, you did a great job on yours. Well done.

~Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted…Blogging Community To The RescueMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Adrienne. You know, there’s all this fancy stuff, but for some of us it doesn’t work well at all. Maybe it’s the Texas in me that limits my mind on visual things as well; Texans have always had a different kind of vision. :-)

April 19th, 2012 | 2:57 PM

I very much love that facebook implemented cover photos into the timeline update. It’s a great way to show who you are and what you do in a way that is different (or adds to) your profile image. Photoshop isn’t always needed to make a good one, too – sometimes a good one can be made simply with MS paint and a good resize or two.
Steven Papas recently posted…Webhosting PlansMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Steven, I wasn’t so sure I was all that happy about them doing it, but I handled it with the business page and it gave me the confidence to create something for my personal page as well so I could switch to the timeline there as well. Of course, turns out the width for the personal timeline cover photo needs to be at least 399, which they could have told me up front. lol

April 19th, 2012 | 10:14 PM

Honestly this looks good, Mitch. One of the things that I like about the timeline format is exactly cover pictures a large image that can tell much more about you and even can promote services that you do. There is one other thing, since the new format became available I’ve had more than dozen orders from existing customers to create portfolio alike banner for business pages.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

That’s a good deal Carl. I just did the one for my personal page earlier today and, as it figures, the width is a bit wider than what was requested before. And I did something similar to my last one, adding multiple images instead of just one, and I like the final result there as well.

Carl Reply:

I just saw the one on your personal account, looks very cool too. Actually for fan pages the latest news are that double size image height image can be used, I saw this one in developer section but I will test it probably by Monday, about the size, there was a bit confusion for everybody in the very beginning.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

They’re always changing stuff Carl; makes it difficult for those of us who are visually creatively challenged. lol

April 20th, 2012 | 4:52 AM
Anton Koekemoer:

Great post – I see Google+ now also has a cover photo… One for is for certain – It must look Intriguing for the user to keep on reading. Thanks for sharing the post.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

I hadn’t noticed that Anton so I’d best go take a look to see if I need to do something special for them as well. Thanks for the heads up.

April 20th, 2012 | 5:12 AM

I was also surprised when my profile suddenly switched to TimeLine. But I tend to look at the bright side. At least now there is a banner where my profile visitors can see what they should expect from me.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Mine didn’t switch John, but I knew it was coming so I decided to be proactive.

April 21st, 2012 | 10:28 AM

Such a useful tutorial! My personal page has got the old layout yet, but I think I’m going to be in-time and create my cover as soon as possible. I’ve got one creative idea, I want my cover picture synced with my profile pic. You know, what I’m talking about, the thumbnail of the profile pic is located at the lower-left corner of the cover pic, but I want to design my profile page as a part of the cover image. Any idea how to do this?
Anna recently posted…cosmetic dentistMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Anna, nothing except what I’ve stated in this post; I’m really not a design guy unfortunately.

April 22nd, 2012 | 5:05 PM

Good job Mitch I am glad you had to switch those two photos because you do not want a photo leaning OUT of the frame. People’s eyes will follow it and away they go.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Well CE, one would hope people wouldn’t have gone away with any image I’d put up but what I ended up with worked better.

May 3rd, 2013 | 9:09 AM

Quite an informative post,Mitch.I can completely relate with your experience.
I was never a big fan of Timeline on facebook.But just as to
maintain a decent profile,I really had to struggle on getting a good cover page.I almost gave up at one point but my persist editing,resizing images paid off well and achieved me a nice profile.Few comments on this post are quite interesting especially the one using pixlr editing tool.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

I think it was a tough prospect for a lot of people Jackson. Mine took a long time, and only recently have I discovered that I have a photo program that can alter pictures to any dimensions I like. Of course they don’t all look that good so I probably would’ve still struggled some, but I think things would’ve gone faster if I’d known it at the time.

May 31st, 2013 | 10:17 AM