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Fundamental Design Principles for Social Media

Companies are flocking to social media like never before because it allows them to interact and engage directly with their customer base. Social media is a powerful tool that can increase sales and create connection and intimacy between brands and their customers but using social media platforms is not as simple as it may first appear to be.

Many brands don’t maximize the aesthetic potential of these platforms which may be costing them money and customers. There are a few basic tips and techniques to know when your company uses these platforms.

  • Focus on color scheme and contrast
  • Always have your logo present in posts
  • Visual hierarchy is used to guide the eye

Contrast And Color Scheme

The following design principles have been taken from centuries of usage in the arts. Great artists know exactly what the mind and the eyes love to see, whether they’re staring at a painting, watching a movie, or browsing through a social media platform. First is the use of contrast and color scheme. Great images have a high degree of contrast within their color template.

This contrast helps separate design elements and lead the eye to the most important component in your image, whether that’s your logo or another piece of valuable information. You should keep your color scheme simple and based on your brand’s design guidelines. Additionally, a nice, dark font usually works best to catch the users’ eye.

Always Use Your Logo

All of the marketing and engaging you do on social media means nothing if the users don’t remember your brand and associate it with your social media efforts. To make this happen, you should always include your logo within your messages and images on social media platforms.

Your logo is arguably the most powerful tool of association your company has at its disposal, so make sure to include it on every post and image you make when using social media. Users will automatically associate and remember your brand more easily if they see your logo on the posts that they like and share. Your brand’s engagement metrics will improve drastically with this one simple trick.

Keep The Text To A Minimum

Many companies make the mistake of using too much text when they post to social media. Many of these platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, are primarily driven by images and videos. For sites like Twitter and even LinkedIn, a fair amount of text is fine and reasonable to users, but for more visual social media sites you’ll want to keep the text to a minimum.

Instead of writing out your brand’s value proposition or new products and services, make a cool image or video about these things in use. People trust what they see more than what they read and getting your customers to post with your products in use will greatly increase your social credit and gain the trust of other customers more easily. This rule is especially true for Pinterest and Instagram, where users often share and post pictures of branded items.

Be Careful With Typography

Typography is truly an art unto itself. There are hundreds of fonts to choose from and many ways to express different ideas using different fonts. Your company should have branding guides which will most often dictate which fonts you’re using, but in special situations it’s always fun to change up your font type and make the style truly match the message and content.

When you use a unique font, you want it to align with both the images you’ve chosen for your post and the message within that post. The font you use will always reflect the identity and values of your brand, so choose well. Additionally, you can choose entire font families, using different sets of these fonts in different areas of your posts and messages you place on social media.

Pay Attention To Visual Hierarchy

In images, different elements of the frame can be larger or brighter than other elements. This is called “hierarchy” and it’s critically important for guiding the eyes of users. You should always make the most important part of your post the largest or brightest within your post.

This is actually referred to as “the Hitchcock rule” in filmmaking, as Alfred Hitchcock always made the most important prop in his scenes the largest or closest to the camera. Your image hierarchy will depend on your goals and what you’re most trying to emphasize within your images. There’s no right or wrong way to think of hierarchy, as long as what you want to focus on is most prominent in your posts.

Research Your Chosen Platform

There are several different social media platforms and each platform’s users will think and feel in different ways. Before you post to social media, make sure the aesthetic and message of your post aligns with the social media platform you’re posting to.

For example, Facebook is geared toward older individuals who enjoy larger images and font sizes. Instagram, on the other hand, is geared toward younger audiences who love flashy and glamorous images. Knowing your audience for each social media site will help you engage with them, no matter which social media platform you choose to post to.


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