Whilst the logo has changed, the simplicity of Google+ – and how you can best maximise the potential of your images – has not. The very first differential that Google+ sought to make when it launched was the power of its capacity to display visuals. Even to this day, the Silicon Valley company has worked hard at this, with the launch of Collections being a further step into making the platform the sole realm of the image.

In this article – a follow up to the first edition of this series – we’ll be looking at how Google+ displays images, and how best to use the parameters that they have set. Focusing more on the cover photo, we’ll also be discussing setting up visual cues, to maximise the many call to action areas that Google+ offers.

What makes up the Google+ cover photo

The first thing that you need to know is that Google+, unlike Facebook, employs a responsive design. This means that building an image to a specific dimensions may hamper the visual quality of your product. However, this provides us with the upturn to be more flexible in design, and use the full gamut of visual aesthetics to add a vibrant spark to your page. We’re going to start with the dimensions of 920×518.
 
The cover photo works along the principle of the rule of thirds, and will designate roughly 33% of your cover photo to the logo section of the image. From here, it samples the middle of whatever image you make, adds an effect similar to a gaussian blur, and makes that as the basis of what we’ll call from now on the “details section”.

It’s important to note that the details section of the Google+ cover photo is your strongest asset. It displays where people can find you, your opening hours, and displays your brand predominantly. Our job here is to create an image in such a way in which this will be the focal point, without proving to be too distracting.

The shaded area, therefore, is the most important part of our cover photo. It is from here where the majority of our visual cues will be placed. Simple design, rather than photographs, work best in this regard – a clear differential between Facebook. Unlike facebook, however, there are no fixed dimensions or parameters.

How to approach your design

Using our made up company – UCC – we’re going to look at emphasising the logo to make it more predominant, as well as utilising some simple design ethos. Google+, with its ultra-modern interface style, works best when we think along the same lines. Below is an example of what using a sleeker design will look like. Note the vast difference between this, and the other Facebook cover photo that we created.

Using translucent, simple shapes to recreate a 2D skyline, we are keeping the image dynamic in visuals. We have also taken the main focal point of the brand’s design – the U – and centered it in the middle. You may also note that the U symbol is slightly off white. This has been done as to avoid making the details section of your page easier to read. When we upload this to our actual Google+ page, we can see that this U symbol is perfectly centered in this section.

What else can I do to enhance the image?

  • Think about a minimal approach, rather than a complete one. Feel free to use open space, but refrain from making the image cluttered with visuals.
  • Google+, unlike Facebook, presents perfectly matching colours. This will allow you to align your cover photo with your brand’s colour.
  • Google+ allows you to crop your photo, and does so as soon as you upload it. If your image requires the full image size to be used, make sure to do this before proceeding.
  • If your brand mainly revolves around the colour white, consider using other colours in your brand’s design for the Google+ cover photo.
  • Feel free to break your image into thirds. This will not only make designing for the details section easier, but also create a nice little hierarchy of visuals on your page

Similar to Facebook, Google+ will compress any .JPG files that you create, so once again we need to save the file in .PNG. The Google+ interface, however, is much more simple than that of Facebook, so saving and uploading will be much quicker and easier. If you’ve followed the idea of centering the focal point of your brand or similar visuals, your cover photo will have a high quality of retention.

In the third and final edition of our Designing for Social Media series, we’ll be looking broadly at how to use images in your posts, both on Google+ and Facebook. This will give you an idea of how best to use certain photos or visuals, as well as including your branding into the image. Let us know what you think about the article, and if you have any questions, feel free to leave them below, we’ll be more than happy to answer your queries.

Whilst the logo has changed, the simplicity of Google+ - and how you can best maximise the potential of your images - has not. The very first differential that Google+ sought to make when it launched was the power of its capacity to display visuals. Even to this da...

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