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Creating a Social Media Header with Affinity Designer

Creating a Social Media Header with Affinity Designer main article image
Posted on February 6, 2021 by Tara Garmon

This tutorial is going to teach you how to create a header for any social media platform using Affinity Designer on an iPad. The tutorial could also be used to create other types of graphics such as advertising banners, social media posts, book covers, and more.

Representative for your brand

Having an attractive header will help you gain more followers by grabbing attention, making you look more professional, and helping you form a cohesive brand. Branding is vital for not only attracting new followers, customers, or clients, but also keeping people reminded of you. The ideal branding is immediately recognizable as your company, immediately signals what type of company you are, and is highly memorable. 

If someone lands on your profile first, the header is often the first impression you will give someone on your social media. It needs to be attractive and interesting, but just as importantly, it needs to be on brand.

What do I mean by “on brand”? I mean it needs to represent your brand visually. For example, if you sell lacy vintage dresses, you might want to have soft floral colors and vintage fonts. But if you sold motorcycle parts, pastels and flowy fonts would likely not be appropriate (obviously).

Do research before you create your header

You can get ideas for headers by looking at the headers of some of your closest competitors and make notes on what stands out to you about their headers. What do you like about each one? What do you NOT like? Sometimes identifying what you don’t like is just as important to the creative process as what you do. I’m obviously not telling you to copy your competitors. Just look for elements you think are successful and not so successful, and find out what might set your brand apart while still remaining true to what truly embodies your company.

Once you have an idea of some of the elements you do and do not like, you should think about which colors you would like to include in your header. Remember to keep these oh brand, and try to choose no more than two or three colors to make up the majority of your image. You don’t want to overwhelm anyone’s eyes. Unless your brand is really based around color (such as something related to rainbows), two or three colors is plenty to convey your message without looking garish.

You might even experiment with a couple of different color palettes and make color comps (basically miniature versions of your header with the colors laid out to see how each color scheme looks) to compare and contrast. 

Selecting the right font

Next, you should take a look at fonts. It’s usually not a good idea to use more than two different fonts in a single graphic, as they will start to compete with one another and confuse viewers. One main font, and one accent font, is usually ideal. One should be more interesting and decorative, and the other simpler, but well-matched to compliment the main font. Or you can use very similar fonts, and just use a bold version as the main text, and a slimmer version for accents.

Below is a quick example of two sets of fonts that look nice together, and two that clash:

Making a banner in Affinity Designer

You can see the ones on the left side look more professional and clean, and the ones on the right don’t look good together and don’t look professional. Font choice is incredibly important. And if you have your own logo already, make sure any other text on your header is either in the same font(s) or that the fonts you use look good with your logo fonts.

Start with the designing

Once you’ve chosen colors and fonts, it’s time to start designing. For the purpose of this tutorial, we are going to use purely features within Affinity Designer rather than adding photos or downloaded graphics. 

First, find the dimensions for the social network you want to make a header for. You can find the correct dimensions for most common social networks at Sprout Social.

If you don’t find the social network you need here, you can search Google for “Social Network Name header size” without quotes and you should find what you need.

For this tutorial, I’m going to create a Twitter header, which you can see on Sprout Social is 1500×500 pixels. So you’ll need to press the + button at the top right of the screen, then choose New Document. This will bring up the dialog box that will allow you to input the dimensions for your header.

For the Twitter header, it would look like this:

Edit in Affinity

Be certain that you have selected pixels instead of points (which is default) from the drop-down box on the left, and that you select a transparent background. It is not absolutely necessary to have a transparent background, but I do this in case I need to make part of an image transparent later.

Picking a background color

Next, you need to select a background color. I do this by creating a solid square that fills the entire canvas. Select the shape tool in the menu on the left. Then tap your finger or Apple Pencil at the top left of the canvas, hold it, and drag past the lower right corner to fill the entire canvas with a rectangle shape, as below.

Making a Twitter header in Affinity Designer

Designing in Affinity Designer

While your rectangle is still selected, tap the color circle at the top right of the screen and drag your finger around the color wheel to select a color for the rectangle. You can drag your finger inside the triangle in the middle to change the saturation and brightness as you would like. I have chosen a pale blue background for my design.

Creating a graphic in Affinity Designer

The plain blue background is quite boring, so I’m going to add a striped background. Select the rectangle tool again and drag out a long, slim rectangle, as shown below.

How to edit in Affinity Designer

Then grab the handle at the top of the shape and pull it to the left to rotate the stripe until it is sitting at an angle, as shown below.

Affinity Designer tutorial

Drag this layer to the upper left corner of the canvas, as below. Then select the three dots in the top left menu bar and choose Duplicate. 

Working with layers in Affinity Designer

This will create an exact copy of the original stripe layer. Choose the move tool (the arrow icon at the very top of the left-hand menu). This will let you drag the second stripe into position. Now repeat this until the entire document is filled with stripes at equidistant intervals. Select all the stripe layers by swiping to the right on each one. Once every stripe is selected, click the puzzle shaped icon at the top of the layers panel to group them together, as shown below.

Making a social media header in Affinity

Making your social media header visually interesting

Now I want to to add a bit more visual interest, so I’m going to add a few circles. I want to use a different color that compliments the blue I’ve used, so I’m going to choose a nice pink. Simply tap the shape tool twice to bring up the menu and select the donut-shape. Click and drag a circle and then move it to the top left of the canvas so that only the bottom right area of the donut-shape is visible. Then use the three dots in the top menu and select Duplicate as you did to create the stripes. Then drag the second donut-shape to the bottom right so only the top left of the circle shows. It should look like the image below.

Social media header in Affinity Designer

Adding the text

Now the background is done, so we just need to create a shape to frame our text and add the text. I’ll use an oval for the frame in the same rosy pink color I used for the donut-shapes. Tap the shape tool twice again and select Ellipse. Drag out an oval in the center of the canvas and then use the move tool to center it. 

Select the text tool (the letter A with a square around it near the bottom of the left hand tool menu.) Tap somewhere on the canvas and type your text. Double tap the text to select it. Then you can resize it by dragging the bounding box, and if you drag your finger across the letters themselves, you can select a font by using the font drop down box that appears at the bottom of the page when the text is selected. You can change the color the same way you did the shapes, by tapping the color circle at the top right of the screen and using the color wheel and triangle.

Repeat this to create any secondary text. I used two different fonts for my header. I used a script font for the word “Your” and a simple serif font for the rest of the text. You can also paste your logo directly in if you have something like an SVG file or even a PNG with a transparent background.

Below is the final result of my header. It’s clean, professional, and would represent a cute or feminine business nicely.

Social Media header in Affinity Designer

Replicate the design for all your social media graphics

You can apply these same design principles to create social media graphics of all types by simply creating a canvas at the new size and copying the elements of your original design into it. Just select all the layers you want to move to a new document and tap the three dots at the top. Then select copy. Go into your new document and tap the three dots, then select paste. You will need to drag elements around to adjust them to the new canvas size, but it will save you a lot of work when you create graphics at different sizes for different platforms. This way your brand will be cohesive between all your social media platforms.

As you can see, it’s relatively easy to create simple, attractive headers for your social media profiles using Affinity Designer. Feel free to experiment with different shapes, fonts, colors, and even brushes and other tools to create a look that uniquely represents your brand. Good luck!

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