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How To Get Noticed As a Twitter Background Designer

by (@amartindesign)

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Oftentimes I am asked “Why should a person care about having a custom Twitter background?” Or I might hear a statement such as: “I don’t follow people or check Twitter from the web interface, so having a custom background doesn’t matter.” It’s quite possible that you might not check Twitter from the web interface, but there are many people out there that do, and some could be potential followers.

It seems to be pretty common knowledge throughout the Twitterverse that, roughly, the first ten visible tweets on your profile give a first impression about you when someone is considering whether to follow you or not. Therefore, why would you not care enough about your image to have a unique background which says something about your personality or business to add to that first impression?

It has been my firm belief that a Twitter profile is an extension of a personal brand; therefore, it was important to me to design a custom Twitter background for my profile from the beginning.

I am a freelancer. I am one person. My tweets, profile, and background design represent me as a person, not just a designer. My background design represents my passion for my beloved home state of Kentucky, my Appalachian roots, and my heritage as a southern American, as well as my love for design. My Twitter background is also a modified extension of the background seen on my portfolio website, MySpace, and Tumblr pages.

You Don’t Have To Have Thousands of Friends for Self-Promotion

When I came across the Twitter Backgrounds Gallery, I decided to submit my own design and was fortunate enough to be featured in the January 2009 gallery. I was also fortunate enough to get a very large number of votes and ratings for that month, which resulted in my being featured in the January Top 10.

It should be quite obvious (and duly noted) that I am not a famous designer, nor am I a famous social media personality. I don’t have thousands of followers and I haven’t been featured in any design magazines, books, articles, or shows. So with little or no clout, how did I receive so many votes? Networking and self-promotion.

How I Got My Votes

Over the past two years of full-time freelancing, not only have I developed a personal network, I’ve also developed a network on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other forms of social media. These networks have proved to be very supportive of me. They value my design work, but most of all they value me as a person. It also helps that I reciprocate and value the members of my networks, through conversation, honesty, hard work and a general belief in them or their product.

My network, then, encompasses these other networks, which are comprised of friends, colleagues, clients, family members, business owners, designers, professionals and other individuals that share my interests. I also remain in steady contact with great clients, who fortunately view my success as an addition to their success. It is this network that knows what is going on in my life and in my business. It is this network that helped me achieve success in votes for the gallery because they value me, they value what I have to offer in life, and they value my design work.

Even when business is slow I remain in contact with people in my network, and remain personable. This allows me to stay fresh at the top of their minds. I believe that it is a mixture of this self-promotion, as well as variety of votes from various Twitter Backgrounds Gallery fans, that got me featured as a designer on the Top 10. Being featured on Twitter Backgrounds Gallery has allowed me to gain exposure to a certain audience and niche I wouldn’t have otherwise found through cold calls or emails. The exposure has also allowed me to benefit from a few non-Twitter related design inquiries, as well as some background design gigs which will be submitted to the gallery in the near future.

Tips on Designing Your Background or Having One Designed

Most people coming to the site to view the gallery either have a background design of their own, or are looking for a way to acquire a background design. The gallery has a unique niche in the design world, because amateurs and pros can fit in one community without the usual hostility. My advice to those who plan to choose a designer, or design their own background, is to thoroughly think about who you are and what you want to reflect from your Twitter profile. Does your background image remain consistent with the personality and image of the person that is sending the tweets? Remember that your background design should be about you, your likes, your passions, your business, or your personality.

Good design is about ideas and concepts, not just some cool-looking piece of Photoshop or Illustrator art that has no substance. If you’re going to take the time to design a Twitter background, or have one designed, then I encourage you to make sure it meets your expectations and fits your needs.
Finally, after the hard work of designing your own background or waiting for your design, make sure to submit it to the great folks @TwitterBGallery for recognition from, and inspiration for, others.

About the Author

Adam MartinAdam Martin is a freelance graphic designer based out of Lexington, Kentucky and is an active Twitter user. His work ranges from print collateral to web design. He has worked in the automotive, sports, education and business to business industries on local, regional and national accounts.

For more information on custom Twitter background designs or other design inquiries, please contact Adam through email amartindesign [at] gmail [dot] com or follow and tweet with him directly.

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What people are saying:

  1. Diesel Laws
    July 11th, 2009 at 5:09 am

    Great article. I decided to work on my background since reading this. It now reflects the music festival vibe that my t-shirts are based around. Thanks for the information!

    Diesel Laws on Twitter

  2. B.SkiLLs
    September 13th, 2009 at 9:40 am

    So are you telling me or applying that it is that hard to make twitter background or have the TwitterBGallery post and use them and/or give you the recognition from the design ??

    I am also a freelance so called designer. Plus have a side business in it as it started as a hobby but.. I know my work is awesome but.. Most i have ever seen and not knocking your work but has been nothing but shit and easy designs for the most part i have seen on twitter. A lot of cheap looking BG’s. Kinda like the everyday yukky myspace layouts and layout sites that have the same old crap with easy profile generated like designs.

    If you would like to comment back please feel free to comment me back here and on my twitter page so i can be sure to see it as i am interested in this and this post, plus the feedback i may get on what i just posted. Thxs. Plus i would love to see some of your work.

  3. Adam Martin
    October 5th, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    B.SkiLLz: Just for the record, I am not saying that it is hard to make a twitter background. Anyone with Photoshop can do it just like anyone with Photoshop can make a drop shadow and call themselves a designer. And I’d agree with you that most Twitter backgrounds are terrible. Especially ones from free background generators. The typography is bad, etc.; many are definitely beginning to look like cheesy, unreadable myspace backgrounds.

    What I am “applying” (I think you mean implying) is that in my opinion, a twitter background is an extension of your personal brand. If you have a website, it should reflect your site (maybe your site’s background or color scheme) or your personality or whatever personal traits you are wanting to make known, be it professional or personal. But one must remember that good design does not always mean making something look cool with tons of layers, etc. I believe it needs to serve a purpose. It can also be functional if it is simple. In saying that, I’m long overdue on a site redesign and twitter background design.

    Also, I do not know how @TwitterBGallery picks their backgrounds for their showcase so I can’t speak for them.

    Diesel Laws: Thanks for the comment.

    Thanks to both of you for the feedback. To see some of my latest design work while I’m rebuilding my site, check out my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/martindesignstudio


  4. B.SkiLLs
    October 10th, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    @ Adam..

    Yes that is what i meant to type..lol. Musta been to early.lol. but yes i agree with you on that 120%. I thought though that @TwitterBGallery was you as well. Sorry i must of misunderstood something. I was just meaning that a lot of these little whatever type BG sites mainly make the lamest BGs ever. To many people use those instead of good ones as there are not to many people or actually designers that make BG sites. Most of them seem to be just a person with a site and that accepts BGs from its visitors or members which half of them are not designers nor good really (which i do not hold that against them..that’s how you learn and practice but) just the fact that to many of them and people use the crappy looking backgrounds instead of a good place or site where true designers would make custom ones for them for cheap or a good price depending on what.

    I guess what i was trying to say at that time was mainly just asking or how i took some of what you said that if @TwitterBGallery was hard to have your designs posted on there site and/or get the recognition from them on your deigns. Like they were the only ones taking credit for them and not the designer.

  5. Adam Martin
    October 12th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    @XtremeStylez I understand your concern. There are a lot of bad backgrounds out there as well as bad, free background design generators. I don’t believe that to be twitter background specific though. There is definitely bad design everywhere. We just need to work to educate clients and do our best to educate the public on good design and it’s purpose.

    Also, Twitter Backgrounds Gallery does not take credit for any of the designs on here. It is mainly just a showcase. If you have something you’d like to submit, go for it. I’d imagine it may take longer nowadays though to be featured as I’m sure they get hundreds of requests a day. I was lucky to be a loyal follower of @TwitterBGallery in their first few months of starting.

  6. siteadmin
    October 12th, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    @amartindesign Thanks for the words of support and explanation to @XtremeStylez. We value your participation in the site tremendously!

    @XtremeStylez As Adam said, we do not take any credit for the twitter backgrounds we feature. The TBG site is a GALLERY of backgrounds submitted and recommended by the twitter crowd. Every day we go through the last 24+ hours of submissions and select a few most interesting ones. This is why some daily sets and some backgrounds are significantly stronger than others. Our ultimate goal in setting up this site was to show a RANGE of creative approaches, a variety of visions and techniques, a place where others could come and get inspired. Not steal or even legally download something that’s already been done and available, but actually get INSPIRED to create their own.

    Also, who could give a better advice on how to put all pieces together than a real designer? Hence, the Pro Tips blog was born.

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