written by
Bret Carmichael

How to make the perfect Facebook cover

Brand 5 min read
Facebook on a mobile phone next to a laptop

For many businesses, Facebook is the primary tool through which they connect to their customers. For some, it's the only tool. So, it should come as no surprise that, the appearance of your business's Facebook page can have a huge impact on how seriously people take your business. A little up-front effort and care can mean a lot of money down the road. In this article, we'll share some of the tricks we use to create the perfect Facebook cover image every time.

First, when creating a Facebook cover image for a business page, you may want to include a logo, graphic, or words to communicate a message. While you can create a cover image using Facebook's iOS or Android app, you'll have an easier time using your desktop computer or laptop.

Some background

Plates is a fictional restaurant. Like every local business, they have a Facebook page. And, like every business with a Facebook page, customers visit their page using desktops, laptops, and mobile phones.

This is Plates' Facebook cover image. It's broken. Later, you'll see how.

A broken Facebook cover image

Facebook cover photo guidelines

Facebook provides guidelines to users who want to add cover images to their pages. The guidelines are the same for business and personal pages.

Your Page's cover photo:
Displays at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on your Page on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones.
Must be at least 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall.
Loads fastest as an sRGB JPG file that's 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes.

The guidelines can be confusing. There are some things you need to know, before you start work creating your Facebook cover photo or graphic. Here, the same guidelines are shown a bit differently:

  • 851px width x 315px height: recommended size for desktop
  • 820px width x 312px height: display on desktop
  • 640px width x 360px height: display on smartphones
  • 400px width x 150px height: minimum cover image size

Refining Facebook's guidelines

You only need two of Facebook's four recommendations. In meeting the two, you actually meet all four conditions as a byproduct of your work. These are the two you're keeping:

  • 851px width x 315px height: recommended size for desktop
  • 640px width x 360px height: display on smartphones

When looking at the cover dimensions you're keeping, you'll notice a desktop height of 315px and a mobile height of 360px. The same Facebook cover has to be used for desktop and mobile, which means your absolute minimum height must be 360px. For this reason, the Facebook cover size you need is now the following:

  • 851px width x 360px height: minimum display size for desktop and mobile

Now, you have a Facebook cover size that's too tall for desktop and too wide for mobile. It shouldn't be what you want, but it's exactly what you want. A little later, why that's true will be made clear.

You should make one more size change to your Facebook cover size. High resolution desktop and laptop screens are becoming increasingly popular. Facebook's image size recommendations already accommodate high resolution mobile displays. However, the same isn't true for desktop and laptop displays. If you want your Facebook cover image to look sharp on large displays, you need to double your image size:

  • 1,702px width x 720px height: perfect display size for desktop and mobile

Above, you have your final canvas dimensions. Your Facebook cover image will conform to those dimensions.

Avoiding some common pitfalls

Now that you know your Facebook cover dimensions, you can start designing your coverage image. A visitor to your page will see some or all of your cover image, depending on whether they're visiting from a large screen (desktop of laptop) or a mobile device.

Facebook cover viewable area on desktop and mobile

Large screen visitors will see the entire cover image. Mobile visitors will only see the light blue area. Facebook will chop-off the sides.

Revisiting Plates' broken Facebook cover image

Earlier, you saw Plates broken Facebook cover image. It looks fine on laptops and desktops.

A broken Facebook cover image

Plates' Facebook page looks much different on mobile. Below is what customers see on their mobile phones. A big chunk of the logo is missing, and the text is unreadable.

Cropped information missing from Facebook page

When you place Plates' Facebook cover image on top of the dimensions identified earlier, it's easy to see what happened. Facebook displays only the center of the image as the cover on mobile. The rest is cropped from view and is lost information.

Overlay showing how Facebook cover is broken

Creating your Facebook cover template

To design your Facebook cover image, you'll use the dimensions we provided earlier.

  1. Draw a box that's 1,702 pixels wide and 720 pixels tall
  2. Using a different color, draw another box that's 1,280 pixels wide and 720 pixels tall
  3. Center the smaller box on top of the larger one

You should have something that looks like the below template. We've added some horizontal and vertical lines as composition helpers to show the Rule of Thirds. The vertical lines aren't exactly positioned, because Facebook's large and small screen images have different proportions. They're close though, and the sides of the bolded plus symbols show the difference between the two. Organize your content around the plus symbols, and you should end up with something that's pleasing to most eyes.

Templare for designing Facebook cover

Designing your Facebook cover image

Now, select an image you like, and place it on top of the two boxes you created. Make the image mostly transparent, so you can see the boxes underneath it. You'll fix that later. You should see something like this:

Facebook cover template on top of cover image

The light blue area will show on desktop and mobile. The dark blue area will only be visible on desktops and laptops. Once your image is placed the way you want it, add any text or graphics.

Facebook cover template on top of cover image and graphic

Remove the transparency from the image. At this point, you shouldn't see the background boxes you made at all. In fact, you should see your Facebook cover image exactly as your page visitors will see it when visiting from a desktop or laptop.

Corrected Facebook cover image as viewed on desktop

You've done all the hard work. Upload your completed image to Facebook, and set it as your cover image. Then, visit your Facebook page from a mobile device. It should look like this:

Corrected Facebook cover image as viewed on mobile

You did it!

We hope this guide was helpful. If it was, let us know. We've made our Facebook cover image template free for download in a couple formats.