Effective Twitter Backgrounds: Examples and Current Practices


Smashing Magazine has been on Twitter for about a year now (@smashingmag1), and it turned out to be a great medium to communicate with our audience, build connections, discuss design-related topics and give away some nice prizes. However, even a year later, we still don’t have a Twitter background page and now is a good time to change that. So because we decided to create our own Twitter page, we wanted to first find out how other designers do it and what tips and techniques they use to create a truly outstanding, beautiful Twitter page.

Your profile page is the only place on Twitter where you get opportunity to showcase your visual brand and possibly communicate additional information that can last longer than a tweet. You can customize your profile page by changing background, text and link colors. It’s as simple as changing the skin, but ability to change background image has allowed designers to create really unique profile pages.

Primary focus of this article is to explore various techniques to create unique, memorable and effective Twitter profile pages. However, before proceeding to the list, it is important to briefly discuss the structure of the Twitter profile page.

Twitter Profile Page

Most important thing to note is that the main content block in the layout of a Twitter profile page has the fixed width of 765 pixels, and it is always centered. This is good, because it makes it possible for you to show your background image using the extra space created on the both sides of the block when displayed at higher resolutions.

1280 Wide Screen Resolution

1024 Wide Screen Resolution

Other things that you should keep in mind:

  • timeline background is always white
  • menu bar background is always white
  • footer bar background is always white
  • logo is always the Twitter logo
  • picture can be changed
  • you can change text color, link color, sidebar background color and sidebar border color
  • you can change background image and background color
  • you can also tile background image
  • the background image start position is always top left corner

Note that if you are only interested in designing a nice profile page, you can easily do that by incorporating a stunning background image and customizing text, link and sidebar colors accordingly. But if your intentions are to be unique, incorporate brand identity and communicate additional information, then you will need to be little bit more creative with your background image.

Tips & Techniques

Following is a list of profile pages, illustrating various tips & techniques that you can incorporate in your own backgrounds. Please note that most of these profile pages incorporate more than one technique, and you should also consider mixing multiple techniques according to your own requirements.

Merge Background With Timeline / Sidebar

This is probably the least used technique among all tips and techniques discussed here. By merging your background graphics with timeline and/or sidebar, you can create a unique layout with a very distinctive look and form.







Mix Tiled Pattern With Other Graphics

Twitter allows you to integrate one background image that can be either tiled or not. But you can create unique look for your profile page by creating a background image that has both.




Reveal More With Your Pictures

Your profile picture (it can be an avatar, logo or photo) is your main identity on Twitter; it will be displayed next to every tweet that you send out to your followers. For instance, you can use a background image that is somehow related to your profile picture and thus convey more information about yourself or your brand. In other words, you can use this classic approach of creating design around your logo or brand identity to communicate information in a more effective way.







Reveal More With The Page Peel Effect

If you have an established visual identity, you can use page peel effect to show users who is actualy behind the Twitter profile. This technique provides you with a freedom to design the rest of the background as you wish, because you may no longer need to worry about integrating brand visuals and its colors.







Add Personalized Sidebar To Your Profile

The following profiles illustrate a specific use of the first technique by adding sidebars to the layout. You can add such panels to effectively highlight additional information that you want to communicate.










Show Yourself

In social media world, you are the brand. With Twitter, being one of the major players in social media, showing yourself on the profile page can be very effective way of strengthening your brand and community around your website.







Use Icons and Logos

Following profiles illustrate simple, yet very effective technique to communicate association with or involvement in certain community, service, skill, etc by showcasing relevant icons or logos.







Add a Header Bar

Adding a header bar could be used for creating unique look for your profile page, but it can also be used to separate Twitter logo and top menu (which contain links to user’s profile) from the rest of your page.







Less is More

Andre Gide once said that “Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better”. Here are few illustrations of how minimalism can be used to its full effect:







Accommodate the 1024px Width

If you care how your profile page will appear on 1024px wide screens, you will need to work near the top and left borders of your background image. Here is an example of how a nice visual design can be used properly for various screen resolutions:




Here is another interesting technique to ensure that your profile page has a very similar look on both 1024 and 1280px wide resolutions:




Use Typography

Use of typography in Twitter backgrounds is not very common; however if used creatively, you can create unique, very effective profile pages to communicate additional information.







Put Information In a Memorable Way

Composition is the plan, placement or arrangement of the elements. You can arrange elements on your background in a unique and memorable, showcasing information that is important to you and your readers. This techniques allows you to create an environment, show your personality and provide additional information.







Do Whatever You Want To Do

The more original, creative and distinctive your background image is, the more likely it is to be memorable and strengthen your online presence. Experiment with beautiful, personalized illustrations, background images and typography. Make sure that your background image has a personal voice, doesn’t look generic and has an unusual twist. Your first time visitors will appreciate it.






Now that we discussed a couple of techniques for the design of Twitter backgrounds, here is a collection of some well-designed profile pages to tame your appetite for Twitter profile page inspiration.














































































































  • Twitter Background Template186: Free Twitter Background template in PSD format from “Fuel Your Creativity”, includes guides that match up with different resolutions from 800×600 to 1900×1200.
  • Peekr187: A bookmarklet that you can drag to your browser’s toolbar and click on to see a twitter user’s entire background graphic and then click again to get things back to normal.
  • Twitter Background Checker188: Lets you check how your Twitter profile looks in smaller or higher resolutions.
  • ClickableNow189: Add Clickable Links to your Twitter background image.

Additional Resources

Related posts


  1. 1 http://www.twitter.com/smashingmag
  2. 2 http://twitter.com/adamplitt
  3. 3 http://twitter.com/adamplitt
  4. 4 http://twitter.com/adamplitt
  5. 5 http://twitter.com/gaksdesigns
  6. 6 http://twitter.com/gaksdesigns
  7. 7 http://twitter.com/gaksdesigns
  8. 8 http://twitter.com/spurrachel
  9. 9 http://twitter.com/spurrachel
  10. 10 http://twitter.com/spurrachel
  11. 11 http://twitter.com/Doubleolee
  12. 12 http://twitter.com/Doubleolee
  13. 13 http://twitter.com/Doubleolee
  14. 14 http://twitter.com/mailchimp
  15. 15 http://twitter.com/mailchimp
  16. 16 http://twitter.com/mailchimp
  17. 17 http://twitter.com/sitepointdotcom
  18. 18 http://twitter.com/sitepointdotcom
  19. 19 http://twitter.com/sitepointdotcom
  20. 20 http://twitter.com/benek
  21. 21 http://twitter.com/benek
  22. 22 http://twitter.com/benek
  23. 23 http://twitter.com/aaronmillerillz
  24. 24 http://twitter.com/aaronmillerillz
  25. 25 http://twitter.com/aaronmillerillz
  26. 26 http://twitter.com/robingood
  27. 27 http://twitter.com/robingood
  28. 28 http://twitter.com/robingood
  29. 29 http://twitter.com/sickbrain
  30. 30 http://twitter.com/sickbrain
  31. 31 http://twitter.com/sickbrain
  32. 32 http://twitter.com/problogger
  33. 33 http://twitter.com/problogger
  34. 34 http://twitter.com/problogger
  35. 35 http://twitter.com/unmarketing
  36. 36 http://twitter.com/unmarketing
  37. 37 http://twitter.com/unmarketing
  38. 38 http://twitter.com/lanesa
  39. 39 http://twitter.com/lanesa
  40. 40 http://twitter.com/lanesa
  41. 41 http://twitter.com/rjacquez
  42. 42 http://twitter.com/rjacquez
  43. 43 http://twitter.com/rjacquez
  44. 44 http://twitter.com/thegraphicmac
  45. 45 http://twitter.com/thegraphicmac
  46. 46 http://twitter.com/thegraphicmac
  47. 47 http://twitter.com/elitistsnob
  48. 48 http://twitter.com/elitistsnob
  49. 49 http://twitter.com/elitistsnob
  50. 50 http://twitter.com/line25blog
  51. 51 http://twitter.com/line25blog
  52. 52 http://twitter.com/line25blog
  53. 53 http://twitter.com/idesignstudios
  54. 54 http://twitter.com/idesignstudios
  55. 55 http://twitter.com/idesignstudios
  56. 56 http://twitter.com/SohTanaka
  57. 57 http://twitter.com/SohTanaka
  58. 58 http://twitter.com/SohTanaka
  59. 59 http://twitter.com/adamplitt
  60. 60 http://twitter.com/adamplitt
  61. 61 http://twitter.com/adamplitt
  62. 62 http://twitter.com/dickieadams
  63. 63 http://twitter.com/dickieadams
  64. 64 http://twitter.com/dickieadams
  65. 65 http://twitter.com/iamFinch
  66. 66 http://twitter.com/iamFinch
  67. 67 http://twitter.com/iamFinch
  68. 68 http://twitter.com/sharebrain
  69. 69 http://twitter.com/sharebrain
  70. 70 http://twitter.com/sharebrain
  71. 71 http://twitter.com/iamkhayyam
  72. 72 http://twitter.com/iamkhayyam
  73. 73 http://twitter.com/iamkhayyam
  74. 74 http://twitter.com/ramesstudios
  75. 75 http://twitter.com/ramesstudios
  76. 76 http://twitter.com/NIK0_BELLIC
  77. 77 http://twitter.com/NIK0_BELLIC
  78. 78 http://twitter.com/MdFilmFestival
  79. 79 http://twitter.com/MdFilmFestival
  80. 80 http://twitter.com/fragments77
  81. 81 http://twitter.com/fragments77
  82. 82 http://twitter.com/happytreefriend
  83. 83 http://twitter.com/happytreefriend
  84. 84 http://twitter.com/LoungeKat
  85. 85 http://twitter.com/LoungeKat
  86. 86 http://twitter.com/ellingson
  87. 87 http://twitter.com/ellingson
  88. 88 http://twitter.com/hootsuite
  89. 89 http://twitter.com/hootsuite
  90. 90 http://twitter.com/G_Obieta
  91. 91 http://twitter.com/G_Obieta
  92. 92 http://twitter.com/willbryantplz
  93. 93 http://twitter.com/willbryantplz
  94. 94 http://twitter.com/grant_clark
  95. 95 http://twitter.com/grant_clark
  96. 96 http://twitter.com/hugeinc
  97. 97 http://twitter.com/hugeinc
  98. 98 http://twitter.com/JJunkins
  99. 99 http://twitter.com/JJunkins
  100. 100 http://twitter.com/Baldy67
  101. 101 http://twitter.com/Baldy67
  102. 102 http://twitter.com/thelaughbutton
  103. 103 http://twitter.com/thelaughbutton
  104. 104 http://twitter.com/bickov
  105. 105 http://twitter.com/bickov
  106. 106 http://twitter.com/jayjdk
  107. 107 http://twitter.com/jayjdk
  108. 108 http://twitter.com/nathanhoad
  109. 109 http://twitter.com/nathanhoad
  110. 110 http://twitter.com/robertomas
  111. 111 http://twitter.com/robertomas
  112. 112 http://twitter.com/mayhemstudios
  113. 113 http://twitter.com/mayhemstudios
  114. 114 http://twitter.com/ThirstEase
  115. 115 http://twitter.com/ThirstEase
  116. 116 http://twitter.com/cameronolivier
  117. 117 http://twitter.com/cameronolivier
  118. 118 http://twitter.com/studio3k
  119. 119 http://twitter.com/studio3k
  120. 120 http://twitter.com/sixreffie
  121. 121 http://twitter.com/sixreffie
  122. 122 http://twitter.com/TheTwiddict
  123. 123 http://twitter.com/TheTwiddict
  124. 124 http://twitter.com/mountainash
  125. 125 http://twitter.com/mountainash
  126. 126 http://twitter.com/Hallisar
  127. 127 http://twitter.com/Hallisar
  128. 128 http://twitter.com/mywayhome
  129. 129 http://twitter.com/mywayhome
  130. 130 http://twitter.com/TheArtificer
  131. 131 http://twitter.com/TheArtificer
  132. 132 http://twitter.com/webdude75
  133. 133 http://twitter.com/webdude75
  134. 134 http://twitter.com/colourofair
  135. 135 http://twitter.com/colourofair
  136. 136 http://twitter.com/jodyphillips
  137. 137 http://twitter.com/jodyphillips
  138. 138 http://twitter.com/emilychang
  139. 139 http://twitter.com/emilychang
  140. 140 http://twitter.com/ijustine
  141. 141 http://twitter.com/ijustine
  142. 142 http://twitter.com/boagworld
  143. 143 http://twitter.com/boagworld
  144. 144 http://twitter.com/collis
  145. 145 http://twitter.com/collis
  146. 146 http://twitter.com/chrisspooner
  147. 147 http://twitter.com/chrisspooner
  148. 148 http://twitter.com/webb_art
  149. 149 http://twitter.com/webb_art
  150. 150 http://twitter.com/Hicksdesign
  151. 151 http://twitter.com/Hicksdesign
  152. 152 http://twitter.com/rww
  153. 153 http://twitter.com/rww
  154. 154 http://twitter.com/ThemeForest
  155. 155 http://twitter.com/ThemeForest
  156. 156 http://twitter.com/technikwuerze
  157. 157 http://twitter.com/technikwuerze
  158. 158 http://twitter.com/Designfeedr
  159. 159 http://twitter.com/Designfeedr
  160. 160 http://twitter.com/Malarkey
  161. 161 http://twitter.com/Malarkey
  162. 162 http://twitter.com/Trenti
  163. 163 http://twitter.com/Trenti
  164. 164 http://twitter.com/zomigi
  165. 165 http://twitter.com/zomigi
  166. 166 http://twitter.com/carsonified
  167. 167 http://twitter.com/carsonified
  168. 168 http://twitter.com/WiliamAu
  169. 169 http://twitter.com/WiliamAu
  170. 170 http://twitter.com/wpbeginner
  171. 171 http://twitter.com/wpbeginner
  172. 172 http://twitter.com/brandonacox
  173. 173 http://twitter.com/brandonacox
  174. 174 http://twitter.com/inspiredmag
  175. 175 http://twitter.com/inspiredmag
  176. 176 http://twitter.com/guardiantech
  177. 177 http://twitter.com/guardiantech
  178. 178 http://twitter.com/DesignerDepot
  179. 179 http://twitter.com/DesignerDepot
  180. 180 http://twitter.com/carywood
  181. 181 http://twitter.com/carywood
  182. 182 http://twitter.com/Designia
  183. 183 http://twitter.com/Designia
  184. 184 http://twitter.com/_finderskeepers
  185. 185 http://twitter.com/_finderskeepers
  186. 186 http://www.fuelyourcreativity.com/free-psd-twitter-background-template/
  187. 187 http://peekr.net/
  188. 188 http://twtbg.me/
  189. 189 http://www.clickablenow.com/
  190. 190 http://www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/twitter-background-design-how-to-and-best-practices
  191. 191 http://www.creativepro.com/article/design-unique-twitter-background
  192. 192 http://www.10e20.com/blog/2009/08/18/4-ways-to-optimize-your-twitter-background/
  193. 193 http://www.w3avenue.com/2009/08/28/resource-kit-to-create-customize-find-twitter-backgrounds/
  194. 194 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/01/07/textures-in-modern-web-design/
  195. 195 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/04/15-useful-twitter-plugins-and-hacks-for-wordpress/
  196. 196 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/02/03/8-useful-tips-to-become-successul-with-twitter/
  197. 197 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/17/99-essential-twitter-tools-and-applications/
  198. 198 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/24/birdies-cute-free-twitter-icons-for-your-blog/

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Saud Khan is a software/web developer and consultant with over 12 years of professional experience. He is also founder of W3Avenue, an online publication providing advice & resources for rapid web development. You can also follow him on Twitter. http://twitter.com/w3avenue

  1. 1

    Man, if I see wood and a coffee cup in a background graphic, i’m going to barf. It’s lame and over.

  2. 52

    “HUGE” went really lame and obvious with this background. I would expect more from a large agency like that. The rest are all drivel and totally not original.

  3. 103

    Thanks for mentioning me in the list, and for all the other great backgrounds. Some really talented people out there!

  4. 154

    you are so missing mine, Toronto from the top

  5. 205

    nice one! gonna design for my twitter too :)

  6. 256

    Thanks for all the attention…. positive and negative. I wanted to make my idea work on all resolutions but it is simply impossible. Therefore, I chose to maximize the number of viewers with screen resolutions that would correctly display my background. The majority of twitters (and surfers in general) utilize the most common screen resolution, which is 1024 and 1280 in width. I know that there will still be loads of visitors who won’t see it correctly, but the idea, imho, was just too cool to pass.

    Change your resolution to 1024 x 768 and you will be viewing the web like the majority of other users… otherwise, you might just miss out on something pretty dedgum awesome. I know, I know… this resolution isn’t visually the best, but it is the most common. I use two monitors and extend my desktop for a more efficient working/relaxing environment. This way I can set each monitor to display different resolutions.

    Thanks again…

    be unique. be yourself. be a be a.

  7. 307

    Thanks alot of adding mine with the rest! Great collections!

  8. 358

    Great post! Just inspired me to redesign my Twitter background.

    This is what I did with mine –

  9. 409

    Great post! Just inspired me to redesign my Twitter background.

    This is what I did with mine –

  10. 460

    Thanks~ it’s really inspiring post~

  11. 511

    Good info. Yall check out my custom page. @Frank_Whyte

  12. 562

    Love it! Might have to use some of these techniques! Cheers and thanks for a great read.


  13. 613

    I probably should read through the comments above to see if others are talking about this… but… HOLY CRAP!!! So many of those twitter pages look terrible if your browser isn’t set to maximum width!

    Twitter doesn’t center page backgrounds even though content on the page is centered. Here’s a perfect example of bad design:

    On my screen, I see THREE sets of fingers. One on the left and two on the right. Talk about not paying attention to details.

  14. 664

    Hi ! Really inspiring and actual info for background-designers.
    How about 1280+ resolution like 1600×1200, 1920×200 and may be even 2560×1600 ?
    p.s. Just finished working on @zoknowsgaming background – is it deserve to be in your list ?

  15. 715

    awesome examples, thanks for including mine!

  16. 766

    Mithun P Sreedharan

    September 19, 2009 1:35 am

    I think you people missed my page ;-) http://twitter.com/mithunp

  17. 817

    wow, i love this post :P
    thanks for your great collections :)

  18. 868

    these design teqnics should / could also be applied to youtube. Im going to do so in a new project.

  19. 919

    Good article and a great collection of screenshots.

    I did my twitter background a while ago, any feedback?

  20. 970

    Wow, lots of shameless plugs and spam in the comments ( tubebutler, really?)

    Either way, until Twitter supports CSS, centering is next to impossible to do, there will always be a black band around the background. Some of these look good, others look like utter shite on 1920×1200.

  21. 1021

    Thanks for the mention and including me with some of best awesome designs :)

  22. 1072

    Awesome! Now I don’t have to spend any time being creative!

  23. 1123

    Great and inspirational post. I will remake my twitter page someday, right now it looks kinda simple, but still nice. Go check it out http://twitter.com/gatisstrods

  24. 1174

    what I still it amazing the amount narcissism that is out there, and how Twitter just fuels so many! Why would I want to follow the every “important thought” you have? Why do you feel the need to tell everyone your every thought… and why do I have to look at your ugly mugs now too! How many of these self-involved idiots out there thought “ooh I gotta setup up a portrait session with someone so I can have some fresh pics for my twitter background”… They say in fashion, each decade comes around again… I’d say the 70’s “Me Decade” is coming back… and in greater numbers!

  25. 1225


    AMEN to that.

  26. 1276

    Stop wasting your time tweeting when the end of the world is at hand! Join the fight at !

  27. 1327

    thanks for including me in such a great list of background designs, I’m honored!

  28. 1378

    Floris Fiedeldij Dop

    September 20, 2009 2:44 am


  29. 1429

    Another great article! Love you guys!!

  30. 1480

    and by thanks, I mean, this thingummy here :

  31. 1531

    I love it! Updated my twitter today!

  32. 1582

    this is amazing! i edited my bg before so it’s aligned axactly in my twitter feed wallbut it doesn’t show the same way in our widescreen pc. so how do i get to have my bg exact;y the way i want it to appear? i don’t know the right measurements.

    i had an idea before like the one with the hand gripping the page (but not that one) and i don’t know if i’m wasting my time making it look properly on my laptop when it doesn’t look properly in a desktop pc. help me!

  33. 1633

    It’s fairly simple to configure your background to work with most screen resolutions.

    Mine is set up, so you can read all the details I want the visitor to see on good ‘ol 1024×768, 1280×1024 and higher.

    The trick is in the placement of your important information and graphics.

    You need to place your website URLs or whatever important details you want more than once, in different postitions, so that the relevant one will show up on the corresponding screen resolution.

    Some of those backgrounds by the way are really boring. Did they make the list more because they’ve got loads of followers?

  34. 1684

    Too many of those are too busy and they only look good on a few or, worse…only one resolution.

  35. 1735
  36. 1786

    I created a pattern, if you want to take a look :) http://twitter.com/jeremylv

  37. 1837

    Thanks! Check out the BG I made, maybe you’ll include mine next time: @acm55

  38. 1888

    These are all great! I wish I had seen this before I redid my background. I’m quite pleased with mine though. It could have been a contender for this post. Maybe. I dont know, what do you think?


  39. 1939

    Nice collection ; )

    Ok, so my twitter – http://www.twitter.com/brainwarestudio


  40. 1990

    made this background some moths ago in an affect of stylism with all my designism i could raise with playism!

  41. 2041

    Cool article :)

  42. 2092

    I think mine is good too :) check it out

  43. 2143

    Check our out, @morganwebdesign ! what do you think?

  44. 2194

    The belief that one should design a page for maximized wide screen users is a bit, how do I say, exclusive? Absurd? Try looking at these pages in 1024×768 sometime. They look absurd.

  45. 2245

    Some pretty neat designs!

  46. 2296

    Regarding http://twitter.com/elitistsnob ‘s background : What tool would you use to create that “border” between two parts of the image ?

  47. 2347

    Very cool backgrounds!

  48. 2398

    Awesome selection!!
    I wont be original but I’ll showcase some too :P

  49. 2449

    Am I the only person in existence who refuses to let their browser take up their whole screen? I always have other things going on and like to keep it relatively unobtrusive – about 1k pixels wide – even though I have a widescreen monitor.

    That’s the thing that bugs me about left-sidebar Twitter backgrounds. The words/images always get cut off to the point that the background ends up looking unprofessional.

    And your average client/casual user isn’t going to know that you had no control over that. They’re going to think that you didn’t know what you were doing. Hell, that’s what I think every time I open a Twitter page to see a witty sidebar all cut off and looking stupid.

    I personally see no point in creating elaborate left sidebars. In my opinion, current best practice for Twitter backgrounds would be:

    – no text
    – abstract imagery preferred
    – imagery that makes sense whether you see 10 pixels of it or the beautiful 200 pixel creation of your dreams (the one you imagine your viewers are seeing)

  50. 2500

    Thanks so much for the mention! (On Twitter, I’m @carywood.) I must tell you, though, that my background was actually designed by @natalie who sells very reasonably priced backgrounds at http://twitterpatterns.com. The one I use isn’t there; I purchased it ages ago.

    One I love that I don’t see here is Grace Smith’s. @gracesmith. Love the chalkboard, the info, what you see if you expand your browser width, etc. Great combination of form and function, in my opinion.


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