Social media is a way of life for a lot of people. For creatives, it’s a great way to get your work out there and potentially gain a following.

There was a time (before the internets), when artists showed their work in these big, black folders/books called an artist’s portfolio. It was one of the very few ways an artist was able to show off their work to clients or employers. Today, artists still show off their portfolios. However, there are now literally hundreds of new ways to show off your work online. Some of the most accessible is through social media where fans and supporters can not only show their appreciation but also easily spread the word about you and your work. Depending on what kind of work you do and how well people respond to it, social media can be a very effective self-marketing tool for many creatives.

Therefore, it’s important that your work looks the best that it can look online.

Since social media platforms over the last decade have been continually evolving and optimizing, it has not always been clear how best to display your work on these platforms. Often your work was either scaled up or down to size if you didn’t know what dimensions a certain social media platform was using to display your work. Luckily, we’ve managed to do a bit of research on how different social media platforms display images so that others can see your work in the best possible way.

As these platforms continue to evolve, we will also update this post to reflect any changes including any information we find about how images are displayed on mobile devices and apps.

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Facebook

Of course Facebook started out as a sort of “friend catalog” very similar to very popular services such as Friendster and Myspace from the late 90′s and early 2000′s. Today, however, Facebook is so much more than just a glorified address book. It has become a platform for sharing what you do and what you like on and offline. Having a Facebook Page for your work is not only a good idea, it can also be very effective in getting your work out there and engaging with your followers. Despite the fact that it is probably the most mainstream social network (given that even your 80 year-old grandparents are probably on it), Facebook is still a great place to display and engage with fans and supporters of your work.

Cover photo

  • 851 x 315 pixels
  • Image loads fastest if it is less than 100 kilobytes.
  • sRGB colorspace

Profile Photo

  • Must be at least 180 x 180 pixels. It displays on your page at 160 x 160 pixels

Shared Photo Displayed in Photo Viewer

  • Displayed at 960 x 720 pixels in photo viewer.
  • Photos uploaded in an album with “High Quality” option checked is displayed in photo viewer at up to 2,048 pixels wide.
  • Image uploads of 2048 x 2048 pixels.

Shared Image displayed on Timeline

  • Longest edge is scaled to display 504 pixels.

Twitter

In its early days, Twitter was a service in which you posted 140-character status updates. Over time, Twitter has evolved to be one of the best media and information sharing platforms with over 270 million active users posting links to stuff they like and having conversations with each other around all that media.

Header Photo

  • Recommended size for header is 1500 x 500 pixels.

Profile Photo

  • Displayed on your page at 200 x 200 pixels.
  • Recommended profile photo size is 400 x 400 pixels.

In-Stream Images

  • Photos in-stream are usually displayed in a collapsed mode until the user clicks on a photo to view it expanded.
  • The maximum dimensions to be displayed when an image is expanded is 1,024 x 512 pixels.
  • Photos you attach to tweets are displayed in-stream at 506 x 253 pixels collapsed.
  • Maximum file size of photos is 5 MB. 3 MB for animated GIFs.

Instagram

Perhaps for creatives (photographers, especially), Instagram is one of the simplest and most attractive platforms to display your work. It is primarily a photo sharing platform but many designers and illustrators use it to show off their work as well. Since it is primarily used and viewed on mobile devices, you are able to share your work from anywhere and your followers can easily see you work in their feed also.

Profile Picture

  • 110 x 110 pixels.

Images

  • Photos taken with the Instagram camera have a resolution of 2,048 x 2,048 pixels.
  • Images that are imported into the Instagram app have a maximum resolution of 612 x 612 pixels.
  • Images viewed on desktop in the photo viewer are displayed at 612 x 612 pixels.
  • Images viewed in the Instagram feed are 512 x 512 pixels.
  • All images displayed on Instagram have a 1:1 aspect ratio (square).

Tumblr

Tumblr, in recent years, has become a very attractive platform for creatives and artists to show off their work. It features a very intuitive publishing interface where you can also easily customize how your followers experience your work. There are also thousands of free and premium themes available for you to install on your Tumblr page.

Profile Picture

  • 128 x 128 pixels in dash.

Image Posts

  • Displayed at 500 x 750 pixels in feeds.
  • Maximum image resolution is 1,280 x 1,920 pixels in dash.

Google+

Google+ is only a few years old but with the ubiquity of GMail and Youtube users, the “social layer” of Google has a lot of users with the potential to share and disseminate your work. While it’s not exactly an artist’s paradise at the moment, Google+ is here to stay and could be a great way to connect with people.

Profile Picture

  • Displayed in a circle with a diameter of 125 pixels.
  • Google recommends uploading a 250 x 250 pixel photo for your profile photo.

Cover Photo

  • Maximum size is 2,120 x 1192 pixels
  • Minimum size is 480 x 270 pixels
  • Google recommends uploading an image that is 1,080 x 608 pixels for the cover photo.

Images

  • Images shared on your page are displayed at 427 pixels wide with the height scaled to fit.
  • Maximum upload is 2,048 x 2,048 pixels.

Behance

The most obvious (and perhaps the most effective) place to display your creative work is to have a Behance Portfolio. While not a “social media” platform in the traditional sense, it can be seen as a social media platform for creatives. Studios, agencies, other creatives keep a close eye on the projects and portfolios showcased on Behance and thus the odds of connecting and collaborating with people in the same field are largely in your favor.

Project Images

  • Maximum upload of 32 million pixels. 32 megapixel images are allowed.
  • 12 megapixel images are allowed for works in progress.
  • All images larger than 600 pixels wide get resized and displayed at 600 pixels wide.

Dribbble

Dribbble is an interesting media platform for creatives. Anyone can sign up to follow, find, and hire people on Dribbble but you have to be invited to post your work by an existing member before you are able to show off your own skills. This makes Dribbble a unique platform filled with very talented people who are, effectively, vetted by their peers. If you’re lucky (or impressive) enough to be worthy of an invite, then you should know how to make your work look the best that it can.

Image sizes

  • Images are displayed at 400 x 300 pixels.
  • You can upload 800 x 600 pixel images for use in high resolution displays (i.e. Retina, 4K displays).

At the moment, these are the social media platforms we believe designers and creatives can benefit from the most. They’re all free to join and offer a wealth of opportunities to help you get your work seen and followed by the most people.

Tell us about your experiences in sharing your work on these social media platforms in the comments section below!

Author:

Isaac is the Co-Founder and Chief Editor of Design Instruct. He has experience in various design and art related fields including design, illustration, and photography. He's in charge of making sure that Design Instruct publishes high quality content that professional designers and digital artists demand and expect. Get in touch via email and on Twitter as @designinstruct or @IAMTHEGUBE.