The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Theme Design

This post will help you become a real Twitter theme design Guru. You will learn how to design the cool theme, where to draw inspiration or where to get/generate some free themes if you don’t have time to create something on your own, don’t know Photoshop or you are just lazy and spend most of the day enjoying the young spring sun 🙂

Designing a Custom Twitter Theme

Strange as it may be but all the designers use different (though pretty close) dimensions when designing Twitter backgrounds, here come just a few:

  • 1600 px by 1200 px
  • 1898 px by 1593 px
  • 2048 px by 1707 px

The dimensions you can choose for your Twitter theme depend on 2 factors:

  • the background design you plan creating;
  • the most used resolution (you can check it here ): 1024×768 (26,42%),1280×800 (20,18% ) and 1280×1024 (10,94%).

If you plan creating a graphically rich background and want it to be large enough not to tile you can make it 1600 pixels wide – taking into account the most popular resolutions. If you plan leaving the right area in just a solid color with no graphics or gradients you can make the theme narrower (1200 pixels) and just add an option to tile. In most cases you can make your design 1200 pixels high but don’t forget that the active/informational area should be not higher than 800 pixels as some of us have lots of tools added to the browser toolbar which makes the visible area even smaller.

Creating the design for DesignTermite Twitter theme we have used 1300 x1000 canvas size matching all the most popular resolutions and quite enough to create something unique.

Starting on the Twitter theme design I strongly recommend making a screenshot of some twitter theme in your browser and use it as the basis for future design. The area on the left of the tweeting interface is 250 pixels wide. It’s recommended to leave at least 10 pixels on the right and left of this area for better visibility and perception and thus the active area is around 230 pixels or so (the active area on our theme is 210 pixels).

Having the tweeting interface screenshot as a part of your design will help you to better organize the elements and ensure they are not being covered by the middle area. You will also know where to start the background design on the right side if you plan creating some specific design elements.

The sample of the Twitter theme with middle area overlapping the text info on the left:

Some of designers are also making use of the Twitter background header area and add company name, links, email addresses or contact phones there. This is not an easy thing to accomplish, you have to move the elements, save as .jpg, upload as a Twitter background and look for a perfect location for say a company name at the same time making sure the design doesn’t look cluttered. If you’re a fan of the clean style, you can just leave the header area as it is, if you are a guru of the clean style, it’s worth giving it a try.

Good example:

Bad example:

10 Rules to Follow

Now when you can choose the right dimensions and have a draft with the middle area screenshot ready you can start on design itself. Same as a website home page, Twitter theme should speak about the author/services or whatever you are trying to deliver to your audience. These 10 simple rules will help you make your Twitter theme not just a cool background but an effective marketing tool:

  1. Design your Twitter theme following the style and colors of your website.
  2. Add your photo (if you are a one-company person) for more personal approach (we all like to see who we are working/communicating with).
  3. Add your company logo and company name.
  4. Give a link to your website.
  5. Provide email and contact phone number (in case you check your email often and answer the phone, Twitter is real-time).
  6. If you work in California only don’t forget to mention that, it’ll help you to create a more targeted base of followers interested in your services.
  7. Give a brief description of the services you provide: this can be a few words or several sentences but make sure they deliver the important information.
  8. Spend some time on your design. If you provide design services some percentage of people might judge on your creativity from your Twitter theme.
  9. Keep the design clean. Make sure the middle area is not overlapping your information (this is the problem with 80% of themes having the info block on the left), that your company name is not cut and that Twitter users don’t have to scroll down to see some important info.
  10. Make Twitter theme a small portfolio of your works. If you are a photographer, designer or painter you can nicely integrate the screenshots of your works into the background and your work will speak for itself.

P.S You may skip some of the points above if you own a well established brand or a popular website and just create something cool to keep your fans even more excited and inspired.

Examples:

Using photo as a Custom Twitter background

This is probably the most simple way to create a custom Twitter theme. Just take a cool photo and upload it as a Twitter background. Adding some information will help other twitters to identify who you are and what you do. You still have to keep in mind that the photo size should be at least 1024×800 to cover the background and that the middle area will be covered by tweeting interface. It makes sense to use some abstract rather than portrait photos and blend the edges of the photo into the background to eliminate the harsh edges.

Examples:



Using a Tile Pattern for Twitter background

Not way too creative but not a bad solution if you need things done quickly. You can either type “free patterns”, “tile patterns”, ‘twitter patterns” into Google and look for something to your liking or generate a custom pattern using one of the tools below. Do not forget about size requirements. The patterns look nice but if you want your Twitter background to be informative you’ll have to add backings for text, logo and info. Below you will find some resources where you can find cool free Twitter patterns.

  • BestDesignOptions
    1000+ free background patterns
  • COLOURlovers
    You can choose from the list of patterns available or create your own pattern directly on the website with a cool Seamless Studio application.
  • Stripe Generator
    Allows you to generate only striped patterns but they look quite cool.
  • Tartan Maker
    The name speaks for itself. You can create various tartan backgrounds.
  • BgPatterns
    This one is pretty simple. You are offered to choose a figure that will be repeated multiple times. You can choose the background color, opacity and the angle for the icon-tile. The backgrounds are simple yet very sweet.
  • Guilloché Pattern Generator
    This one is a bit different from the rest and allows to create a unique structure (there are lots of similar generators on the web now). You can use it as a tile for your background and create something unique looking with less efforts.

Examples:

Get a ready-to-go Twitter background for free

The number of websites offering nice free Twitter backgrounds is rapidly growing (and the number of those creating low quality stuff is growing even faster) so we’ll list just a few we like most. The main reason is that Twitter backgrounds are cheap and easy to create and same as the free templates they are used mainly for promotion of some other services and paid design as well as for the text line “created by”. In any case that’s the sweet offer and it would be a mistake not to use it. Also, if you are looking for a holiday Twitter backgrounds you may follow FlashMint and TemplateMonster on Twitter as these template giants usually create free Twitter backgrounds for Christmas, Halloween and other holidays. Most of the websites listed below offer Personalized Twitter Backgrounds and Custom Twitter Backgrounds for a fair fee.

Useful Twitter Tutorials

I hope you will find this post useful and it’ll help you to create a nice and functional Twitter background. Good luck!

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