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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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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 Link

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.













































































































Tools Link

  • Twitter Background Template183: 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.
  • Peekr184: 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 Checker185: Lets you check how your Twitter profile looks in smaller or higher resolutions.
  • ClickableNow186: Add Clickable Links to your Twitter background image.

Additional Resources Link

Footnotes Link

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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.

  1. 1

    Great article. I have to create mine soon. :)

  2. 2

    I think you the twitter background should match the product / service / person it is trying to depict. Sitepoint was great! . Check our classifieds revolution at
    Localads Twitter

  3. 3

    Thanks For all the tools, guides, and Inspiration! Maybe my background can make the next list @madesigns

  4. 4

    Designers should also remember that many people use screen resolutions with a height greater than the 900 or so that is standard on a 19″ widescreen. Many use 1024 height (for example, 1280 x 1024) or taller. @adamplitt’s background looks cool but on a 1024-tall window it is cut off at the bottom. The best thing to do is make your background image fade into your background color.

  5. 5

    I think this eclectic background is cool.

  6. 6

    I still fail to find Twitter fun or usefull or whatever… :/

  7. 7

    helpful. thank you. not many people actually view twitter from the homepage now do they? well its a lot less before.

  8. 8

    Thanks for the mention. @webb_art

  9. 9

    Thanks for the tips. I need to revisit my messy background.

  10. 10

    People need to remember to create their twitter backgrounds for various screen resolutions. Lots of these backgrounds look great in the screenshots, but they look awful on my monitor (1900×1280).

  11. 11

    Great Article, it’d be great to make the round two of this list.


  12. 12

    Great works =]

  13. 13

    Cool post, I like to think mine is also pretty good and at the level of being exposed, check it here:

  14. 14

    Some nice examples – The first one’s a good idea but it resizes pretty poorly. Us mac kinds don’t normally conform to standard screen sizes.

  15. 15

    Hey hey … thx for the mention! :)

  16. 16

    They should support more background options (CSS)
    Centered positioning of the background would be nice to have?!

  17. 17

    Cool. I just keep my as simple as possible @IvanBernat

  18. 18

    Great stuff. While I find Twitter too narcissistic to justify a personal page, our news station has one, and we incorporate ti into the show as a way for viewers to interact with stories. The anchors can read responses right from the laptops on their desks.

  19. 19

    Unfortunately all this works with a certain screen resolution.

  20. 20

    Thanks for the mention! I have to agree with an earlier comment though, I hardly ever use my actual Twitter homepage to update, although I still enjoy looking at other peoples’ backgrounds and content through the Twitter site.


  21. 21

    I agree with a lot of the commenters here that you need to take screen resolution as a main factor. while @adamplitts looks good, it only looks good when your screen is at the exact res that it was built for. It would make it a lot better to do one like that if twitter were to give us the option of making our background image centered along with the rest of the site.

    While backgrounds won’t necessarily look the same from a netbook to a 24 inch screen with a 1920×1200 screen size, I think it is important that we take them all into consideration when making the designs for this. I am not saying I am perfect at this, but it is all something we need to consider…


  22. 22

    This was an excellent roundup. Thanks for including our site @wpbeginner

    You did miss out a few other great backgrounds like @bkmacdaddy or my personal one @syedbalkhi , and @realmtnboy

    All to all an excellent roundup :)

  23. 23

    I like my twitter layout. It’s the jizz. @omgitslittlet

  24. 24

    Todd (@CantonDog)

    September 18, 2009 7:43 am

    Great list. I’ve always thought my background was good (@CantonDog), but now I’m thinking I should be a bit more creative. This is good inspiration. Thanks.

  25. 25

    Great list!
    I also run a site with a gallery of Twitter backgrounds if others are looking for inspiration.

  26. 26

    @Aaron Besson
    Both nice designs but same issues with screen size, they don’t reach the bottom of the screen.

  27. 27

    Excellent. Really useful information all in the one place. Just what I need. thanks

  28. 28

    They may not have the most followers but they sure have the most effective marketing or branding I can see. Mine is simple but I love the comfortable and cozy feeling I get when I see it @jonharules

  29. 29
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    Helga Grotewold

    September 18, 2009 8:06 am

    @helgita89 :)

  31. 31

    Wow!!!..What an inspiring post!!…Thanks!

  32. 32

    What about @sciencebase His is pretty neat, narrow sidebar, nothing hidden behind the main screens etc…

  33. 33

    Great article and some wonderfull designs. At Douro Azul, a Portuguese cruising company, we did the study you show at the beginning of the article to creat our twitter profile background. There’s a lot of trial and error untill you get the perfect balance. Also, when you represent a brand you have to guarantee that your twitter profile page is alligned with your overall corporate image. I think our design team did ok. You should check it at

    Btw, @adamplitt has, imho, the best and more creative background.

  34. 34

    Thank you for the mention @gaksdesigns
    Much appreciated!

  35. 35

    great collection! those are some amazing backgrounds. I think i need an update… @printedproof

  36. 36

    Great article. Cool to see how limitations and constraints can help creativity really take off. (Oftentimes much easier to get some initial boundaries than hearing from a client “Just do whatever you want”). I really like the fuller, more complicated designs on here, but went with clean and simple for mine – @aptdesign

  37. 37

    I thought it was a confusing article. I expected a list of best practices, and then was given a list of a bunch of things to add….followed by “less is more”….followed by “do whatever you want to do”.

    Design is about communication. And when ‘best practices’ cause communication to be lost on potential clients and customers, I think there’s a disconnect from best practice. I’ve been struggling with the best way to do this, myself, was excited about seeing this article.

    Was a great showcase of art. Could revisit the best practices idea again in the future.

  38. 38

    nice and informative post…

  39. 39

    Thank you for not including a whole ton of social media douchebag backgrounds. I cannot stand the people who put way, way, way too much contact info and “fake” (non-clickable) janky non-links in their background graphics.

  40. 40

    I always wondered when SmashingMagazine would give into the Twitter background crap…


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