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We all have a short attention span when we’re scrolling on social, so it’s crucial to make sure the impression you leave is a lasting one. Especially when you’re designing creatives for these platforms. Having designed social assets for our clients and our c3 marketing, I’ve picked up a few handy tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of your designs. Read on to find out how you can catch your users’ attention!

1. Find your purpose and know your platform

By evaluating which type of content performs best on each platform, you can establish which design style will be most relevant for each. Don’t always assume that a ‘one size fits all’ approach for designs will work, as platforms differ in their audiences. For instance, LinkedIn is much more formal and professional than Instagram. Based on this, consider the impact that the style of the platform will have on the design, and always remember your audience in your designs. Essentially, you need to tailor your designs around this.

2. Know your dimensions and formats

Depending on which platform you are posting on, the dimensions will vary. Post sizes will be optimized for the feed and previews, so it’s best to keep on top of the right dimensions for each platform. You don’t want to risk your beautifully designed post being chopped off or appearing too zoomed into. With all the different post options, it starts to become a bit of a minefield. Make sure you find a good source online and create different templates. Then, every time you need to create another post, you can ensure you are designing for the right dimensions, with optimisation in mind.

Here is a great site to refer to from Sprout Social, which is always on top of updating the ever-changing dimensions.

Regarding formats, you should try and export your assets with a high resolution, so that they are clear and professional. The best way to do this is to create your artwork with a large pixel size, but at the correct ratio. That way, when you export your assets, they’ll be large and high quality, but scale down to fit perfectly.

The best formats for export are jpg and png. Png is best for keeping the quality of vector graphics, whereas jpg is better for designs (including photos). When you are posting carousel posts (which is a post made up of one or more ‘slides’), you can use the same formats. Although for LinkedIn, if you want to replicate a carousel-style post, it’s best to use the LinkedIn ‘document post’ feature. This takes each slide of your post and puts it into a carousel format. It also adds useful arrows to each slide, offering the user the option to click left to right at their own speed.

3. Keep text to a minimum: ditch the fluffy words

A good way to understand this is to apply this to yourself: How much text would you read on a post before you get bored or overwhelmed? Would you be interested in looking at a post that has no visual element to it? Remember, social media is all about grabbing attention and maintaining it. So:

· Create something visually appealing and that won’t overwhelm your audience. Don’t forget, you have the addition of the description below the designed post. Think of your designs as a visual aid to then be followed up by a full description or caption

· Keep text to a minimum if you can – pull out a quote, or paraphrase a paragraph, or break your information down into bullet points across each carousel slide

· Break down your content into carousel slides. Because no matter how complex the subject is, you can be sure that your post is digestible and accessible.

4. Use colour and visual elements as much as possible

It may seem obvious, but using colour and visual elements in an effective way (that complements your brand) will automatically create an eye-catching post.

Your post will always be competing with thousands of others on a feed, so make yours the one that stands out from the crowd! This might be in the form of graphics, illustrations, shapes, block colour, icons, or just a simple and well-thought-out layout of text.

5. Create a variation of visual content, but be consistent with your brand

Once you’ve started to establish your brand and your style, you can work towards templated design, based on a brand style guide. Do try and keep variations of these designs, to ensure you’re always mixing up your visuals.

Users are inundated with many other post designs, so to catch the eye of your audience, you want to be creating something that they haven’t seen before. This could be changing something as simple as the background colour to make it different from your last, adding new icons to support your text, or a new variation of font layout. If you continue to use the same designs, but just keep changing the text content, users might assume that it’s the same post as the last from a glance. You need to continually mix it up and keep it fresh.

It’s still very important to ensure that you are maintaining your brand’s style. Although people like to see variation, you will definitely benefit from creating designs that strengthen people’s awareness of your brand. Therefore, be consistent with your logo, colours, fonts, graphic elements and tone of voice, but continue to create variations of these designs to uphold strong brand memorability.

Ultimately, users tend to place trust in what they know and what they’re familiar with. For this reason, you mustn’t throw them off by designing something that’s completely unrecognisable.