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Join Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author and design enthusiast, each week for a new 5-minute, self-contained tutorial that you can use to instantly improve your design workflow. This series covers techniques for print, digital, and web design, addressing the tools that creative professionals like you use most. Learn new ways to leverage layer styles and vector shapes in Adobe Photoshop, work more efficiently with text in Illustrator, and embed videos and even tweets in WordPress posts, and much more. Check back each week for a new installment, and a new design hack.
Hello, and welcome back to another instalment of Creative Quick Tips. My name is Justin Sealey, and this week, we're talking about Twitter. Or more specifically, Twitter avatars. Now this may seem a little confusing, giving the fact that I'm currently working inside of Photoshop, but this is actually where creating a Twitter avatar all starts. Not necessarily in Photoshop but in an image editing application of some sort. We're not going to be doing any fancy Photoshop editing or anything, it's just going to be basic principals to help you create a better Twitter avatar. In order to create a good Twitter avatar you're going to need to create a square document.
In most cases people recommend a document size of about 250 by 250. I generally go a little bit larger than that 300 by 300. Now why do I do that? I do that because now on Twitter you're able to access a larger version of someone's profile photo. So I want this to be just a little bit bigger just to give them a little bit more to look at. So if I'm a brand it'll be a bigger version of my logo. If I'm a single person it'll be a bigger version of, hopefully a head shot or something like that. So we start off with a square image like this. And now you have to abide by the two principles that I go by.
A, if you're a single person, a single entity on Twitter, you want to use a photo of yourself. This conveys you, your personal brand, and it gives people a face to go with the tweets. However, if you're a brand or a company, you want to use your colors and your logo specifically in your Twitter avatar. This creates brand awareness and lets people know that this is a company or corporate entity. So, first things first. I'm going to do my personal Twitter avatar. So I'm just going to take this photo and I'm going to just drop it in to this section.
Now, obviously my eye is not what I'm looking for here. So what I'm going to do is just use Cmd or Ctrl+T inside of Photoshop and then I'm just going to resize it. In whatever application you have, you're just going to resize the Twitter avatar accordingly. And so I'm going to resize it so that I fill the frame. But I don't necessarily want to be too small in the frame. I want to be, just right. Something like that. Now you don't have to be dead center in the frame. If you have a landscape head-shot like I do here you could sort of push yourself over to one side, or the other to kind of create some space.
In there so I might push me a little bit right of center. And then all you're going to do now is you're just going to save this out and my suggestion is if you're saving for color. You might want to use a P and G because the P and G sometimes comes through better in terms of color on the Web. But in this case it's just to black and white so I can just save it as a JPEG. And I'm just going to save it out to my desktop. And I'll just call this twitteravatar and there we go. So that's my personal Twitter avatar. Now let's hide this layer, and let's talk about a corporate avatar. First things first, you want to make sure that the colors that you choose are distinctly yours and convey your brand and your messaging.
Whatever your colors are, in this case, I'm just going to make one up. Let's just select this green color here. I'm going to use whatever the primary color is as my background color. So I'm just going to fill in my background with my primary color, and then what I want is something that really contrasts with that. So in this case I think black would look nice. So I'm just going to grab a custom shape. It doesn't matter what it is. In this case I'm just going to use this little alien head shape that I have here. And I'm going to put it right there. Now when it comes out it's going to be the same color as the background because I didn't switch colors but I can do that very easily like this.
And then what I want to do is make sure it's dead center in the middle so I'm just going to select all and then center them both, just like that. You could also create guides or whatever to make sure that it lines up perfectly but that's pretty much what we're looking for in a Twitter avatar. You don't want to get too crazy. There is now a Twitter cover image that can go behind your avatar. For that thing, do whatever you want. But for this, you want this to be something simple, easily identifiable. That when someone sees it in their timeline, whether it be on the web or in a mobile application, that they instantly recognize who the tweet is coming from.
And that way they can choose whether or not they want to engage with you based on that. So hopefully you'll take these tips and develop your own Twitter avatar. And if you do be sure to tweet at me @justinsealy and let me see exactly what you created.
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