When you go around setting up your social media profiles, participating in forums, and similar social activities, one thing you’ll discover is that you need a good little square picture.
For example, when you set up your business’s Facebook page, you’ll be asked for a picture. Once you upload it, you have the option of editing the thumbnail (the little square version of the picture). If you don’t take that option, Facebook will crop it for you, often leaving you with a strange bit of your logo or perhaps a close up of your nose.
The best plan is to begin with a square image for your social media use.
There are several ways to get a square picture. Here you can see the easiest way, and the best way if you’re dealing with a logo or something of that kind. We had graphic artist Jay Jaro take the logo he made for FreshPlans (see below) and create a square version for us.
Rosamond thought of doing this when we had the Haden Interactive logo done (we actually use the square version most of the time), and it’s a great plan for the age of social media.
This isn’t something I’d attempt to do myself, but if you have the skills, you could give it a try with your graphic program. I’ve done it before for clients with low standards by putting the logo on top of a solid color square. Note that I don’t recommend this or choose to do this for my own pages, but it is an easy option if you don’t need an artistic effect.
If you use Photoshop, you can make your picture into a square even if it isn’t really square. To do this, use the Image>Image Size tool (choose the Image menu on the toolbar and choose “Image size” from the dropdown menu).
Crop your picture to an approximate square to include the part you want to use. Then use the Image size tool to make sure that it really is square by putting the same number of pixels into both the height and width boxes.
For this to work, you need to deselect “constrain proportions.” You’ll find that in the dialogue box at the bottom left. When you click that off, you’ll be allowed to make your image into a perfect square.
While you’re in the Image size tool, you should go ahead and make your picture small enough for all social media purposes. Choose something between 125 and 250 pixels square and you should be fine for gravatars, profile pictures, and Moo cards for that matter.
If you don’t have the software, try an online tool like the Create Avatar tool at Shrinkpictures.com. Whether you go with the top of the line (hire an artist), the medium level (use Photoshop), or the quick and dirty, the one you come up with will nearly always look better than the one the social media sites create for you automatically.
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