16 Creative Ways to Make Your Facebook Timeline Cover Photo

social media how toAt the 2011 f8 conference, Facebook announced Timeline — a major overhaul of the personal Facebook profiles to which we’ve all grown accustomed.

UPDATE December 15, 2011: Facebook announced that Timeline is now available worldwide. Read how to get started.

When Timeline is rolled out, your personal profile will be organized in reverse chronological order, as a “timeline” of your life, like an online scrapbook. As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says, “Timeline is the story of your life… in a new way to express who you are.”

When Will Timeline Become Available?

At this point, only those who are registered Facebook application developers have the option of converting their personal profiles to the Timeline format. And only they can see the Timelines of others who’ve opted for it.

However, it’s quite easy to become a “developer” for purposes of getting access to Timeline. Read this article on how to quickly become an “app developer” and have the Timeline option for your profile.

The Timeline Cover Photo: A Great Opportunity for Creativity

For those with a creative bent, probably the most exciting change is the Timeline cover photo, an 851px x 315px canvas that you can fill with the image of your choice.

Inserted into the lower left of the Timeline cover is your profile photo. The fun is coming up with interesting and clever ways to have your cover photo and your profile photo interact.

For my cover photo, I simply made my profile photo the last in a chronological array of pictures of me:

tim

Tim Ware from young boy to adult!

Timeline Cover Photo Examples to Kickstart Your Creativity!

Many will use the cover photo to simply put up a beautiful photo or family picture. For example, Mark Zuckerberg just has his dog and his face:

zuck

Zuck's use of the Cover Photo is okay, but...

Not that there’s anything wrong with this, but it’s a missed opportunity to have some creative fun.

For instance, Kelly Cromwell’s fairly straightforward family picture becomes:

cromwell

Here's a great way to get Dad into the family photo!

Creative Approaches to Your Cover Photo

There are several ways to approach the integration of your cover photo and your profile photo to create an effect:

  • Show the user observing the “action” in the cover photo
  • Create a continuation of the cover photo
  • Simply complement the cover photo
  • Extend the theme of the profile photo
  • Provide “meta” commentary for profile and cover photos.

Get Inspired by What Others Have Already Done

The following examples should help spark your imagination and give you some ideas of the possibilities.

E3 — Milan, Italy

A number of creatives at the E3 digital agency in Milan went to work designing artful and clever cover photo concepts.

Gianmarco Carrieri integrates the cover and the photo, hinting at endlessly repeating recursivity!

carrieri

Gianmarco Carrieri cover photo.

Giuseppe Draicchio cleverly and beautifully integrates cover and photo.

draicchio

Giuseppe Draicchio cover photo.

Alfredo Tomaselli positions his photo outside the cover, using his destructive laser glasses to immolate the old personal profile.

tomaselli

Alfredo Tomaselli cover photo.

Fabio Maravilla gets with the recursive barber shop mirror effect.

maravilla

Fabio Maravilla cover photo.

Ivan Marino cleverly removes helmet and head, and makes great use of white space.

marino

Ivan Marino cover photo.

Maurizio Mazzanti turns his cover photo into a movie screen, which he watches.

mazzanti

Maurizio Mazzanti cover photo.

Annalisa Modotto nicely illustrates a progression of thought, with an edible resolution.

modotto

Annalisa Modotto cover photo.

Ekkapong Techawongthaworn’s Experiments

Ekkapong Techawongthaworn, a student in San Francisco, created several great cover photo concepts, which he posted on his Google+ profile:

ekkapong balloons

Creative profile photo integration!

ekkapong rain

Another very creative combo of cover and profile photos.

ekkapong thinkless

Obviously Mr. Techawongthaworn is having great fun coming up with concepts!

Other Cover Photo and Profile Photo Approaches

Below are a few more examples, utilizing various techniques and metaphors to entertain and amaze Facebook friends.

Mohammad L. Azzam creates a clever interaction between the cover and profile photos that resonates with the text content.

azzam

Mohammad L. Azzam cover photo.

Hugh Briss uses his cover photo to both say something about himself and promote his business.

briss

Hugh Briss cover photo.

Jeremy Bronson creates a surreal and humorous integration of cover and profile photos.

bronson

Jeremy Bronson cover photo

I love how Victor Zapanta uses the barber shop mirror effect for some radical recursivity! And check how that distant road continues the effect…

zapanta

Victor Zapanta cover photo.

Some Tips on How to Create Your Cover Photo

First, you can click here to download a Photoshop PSD template I made to help you create your cover photo.

Once you’ve got your cover photo and profile photo, you just need to add them to your Timeline.

How to Add Your Timeline Cover Photo

Just to the left of the vertical Timeline bar, you’ll see:

add a cover

Click "Add a Cover."

Once you’ve selected the image you want for your cover photo, click “Save Changes.”

Remember, the displayed size of your cover photo is 851 x 315 pixels. If you upload an image that’s more than 851px wide, it will be scaled down to a width of 851px.

If your image, or the scaled-down image, exceeds 315px in height, you have the option to horizontally position your image. Superimposed on your image you’ll see “Drag to Reposition Cover.” Just mouse over the image, at which point your cursor becomes a hand icon, and drag the image to where you want it to be, and then click “Save Changes.”

Upload Your Profile Photo

Once you’ve added your cover photo, you can upload your profile photo, which, as mentioned above, is inset on the left side of your cover photo.

The displayed size of your profile photo image is 125 x 125 pixels, but the total space taken up is 135 x 135 pixels due to the 4-pixel white border and 1-pixel dark outline. The minimum width for an uploaded profile photo image is 180 pixels.

image size

Your displayed profile photo is 125px square. The total space, with borders, is 135px square.

Once you’ve uploaded the profile photo you want to use with your cover photo, you can position it vertically (it is automatically scaled down to 125px in width) by mousing over the image and selecting “Edit Thumbnail” from the contextual menu. Then edit the thumbnail in the popup window to get it where you want it.

You can also continue to position the cover photo by mousing over it and selecting “Reposition” from the “Change Cover” contextual menu:

timeline change cover

Click on "Change Cover."

Take Advantage of this Fun Opportunity for Creativity!

It’s time to flex your creative muscles! Have fun expressing who you are in a unique and creative way.

What do you think? And feel free to post URLs to your Timeline in the comments. Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Tim Ware

Tim Ware is the owner of HyperArts, a San Francisco Bay Area Web development company that also specializes in Facebook custom tabs and application development. Other posts by »




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