What do you think to yourself when you see someone’s Twitter avatar is the default image of an egg?
Chances are, you probably assume they are either inactive, a fake account, or someone not worth following. While almost all businesses understand that the egghead approach isn’t doing them any justice, they often fail to understand that a plain, flat Twitter cover photo can be equally as off-putting to potential followers.
Think about it: Would you rather engage with a company that has a header image featuring a dozen of their happiest employees working together on a cool project, or one that relies on a plain blue rectangle to do the talking?
Despite the prominent placement and size (the Twitter cover photo dimensions are 500 pixels tall by 1500 pixels wide), far too many companies are underutilizing this opportunity to express themselves. We think all they need is a little inspiration.
To give you a better sense of what a Twitter header photo done right looks like, we’ve put together a list of some of the best examples from companies around the world. Check them out.
20 Real Examples of Eye-Catching Twitter Header Photos
Airbnb’s header photo is the perfect marriage of creativity and simplicity. Their logo, constructed entirely from flowers, resembles a welcome wreath that you’d find on the door of a house. This is particularly symbolic, as Airbnb offers a service for people to rent out their homes.
Aside from the logo, we love the inclusion of a hashtag, which invites Twitter users to engage with them by joining the conversation online.
2) Old Spice
Known for their tomfoolery, Old Spice’s Twitter cover photo is a great visualization of their quirky, charismatic approach to marketing. Between helicopters spouting laser beams to flaming lion and bear heads, this header image is both inventive and humorous, traits consistent with their brand.
Target’s creative cover photo is almost so mesmerizing, we didn’t want to look away. Both the red pattern and the red cherry perfectly compliment their signature target logo, making for a visually interesting look and feel. We’re giving Target an A+ for coordination.
I don’t know about you, but we can almost smell the salt and sand in this photo. And considering Canva is an easy-to-use design app, we wouldn’t expect anything less. Aside from the striking image, we also love the small bit of text in the corner, which explains in simple terms what Canva is all about.
The collage SlideShare created for their header photo is an interesting way to show off what people can expect to see on the social presentation platform. While collage formats can sometimes appear cluttered, they managed to arrange this image strategically so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Not to mention, this approach doubles as a way for them to delight their users by highlighting real presentations for the whole Twittersphere to see.
British Airways’ cover photo is perfectly simple. While the high quality image of the plane dominates most of the space, our favorite part is on that lefthand side: the names of their other social media accounts. By including these, they are essentially opening up the door for Twitter users to follow their business on their preferred platform.
7) Taco Bell
Ahh, Taco Bell, the social media darling marketers can’t help but love. They’re rocking almost every social platform imaginable: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Snapchat. And while this Twitter header is fairly simple, we love that they always use a cool, Instagram-esque filter to create a unique, thematic experience across all of their accounts. This is a great trick for anyone looking to enhance their brand consistency.
For those of us who don’t have professional or stock photography at our disposal, here’s a great example to inspire you. Basecamp, a project management software company, doesn’t have a product that’s easy to showcase through photos, either. Instead, they use a collection of icons to portray what the company does. The checkmarks, conversation bubbles, and to-do lists all lead back to a single theme: productivity.
The colorful high-definition image RioTinto uses for their cover photo catches the eye right away. And while the massive machinery is impressive, what we’re most interested in is the inclusion of employees. Aware that people want to do business with other people, it’s great to see RioTinto spotlighting the faces behind their business to provide a personal touch.
If you’re not already familiar with Etsy, it can be best described as a peer-to-peer ecommerce website for handmade and vintage goods. With that said, it’s only right that they’d employ an artsy image to represent their DIY roots. The paintbrushes make for an interesting display of colors while inspiring crafty followers to get creatin’.
Starbucks’ Twitter header photo looks like a high quality version of something you’d pull from a #Starbucks hashtag search on Instagram. For that reason, we’re certain that this is something that will catch the eye of their loyal customers and resonate with them. Whether you take your coffee with cream and sugar or you prefer to drink it black, this image will have any coffee lovers craving an ice-cold caffeine fix.
What’s most interesting about TOMS’ Twitter header photo is that it’s not product-centric. Sure, the people are holding TOMS and sporting the gear, but it’s not the main focus of the photo. Instead, the image reflects the fun, adventurous lifestyle the brand encompasses, making it easy for their followers to relate.
It’s hard not to smile at this whimsical cartoon header from Danone. And with a tagline that reads “alimenta sonrisas,” meaning “feeds smiles,” the image serves as the perfect compliment to their vision. Between the colorful flowers and adorable smiling yogurt containers, there’s a lot to look at without being overly cluttered.
14) Vodafone Group
Your Twitter header photo is a valuable piece of real estate — and it’s a great space for promoting current marketing campaigns. Vodafone cleverly includes a link to their latest campaign in their otherwise simple, high-definition image to draw interest and drive engagement.
It’s important to note that if you are going to overlay an image with text, you’ll need to select an image that has an appropriate amount of negative space. Super busy photos will make the text difficult to read.
15) Caterpillar Inc.
There are two reasons why Caterpillar Inc.’s cover photo is awesome: The negative space, and the bright colors make it pop off the profile. The Caterpillar trucks aren’t the main focus — in fact, most of the header image shows the scenery behind the trucks. The negative space makes the whole profile feel clean and uncluttered. Then, it’s the yellow bar at the bottom that ties it all together: the header image, the profile picture, and the Twitter link color all have the same color scheme.
Talk about elegant simplicity. Rather than highlighting their fancy products, Dior choose to strip their Twitter header photo down to the bare bones. This minimalist approach is clean, clear, and reflective of the timeless class they’re known for. Sometimes less really is more.
LEGO’s toy building bricks are so visual that you’d probably expect them to feature some sort of elaborate castle made entirely out of Legos. Instead, the folks at LEGO went with a vibrant yellow close-up, which makes for a surprising and visually interesting display. Between the clean lines and sharp angles, we love this abstract approach.
On a scale of 1-10, how badly do you want a burger after seeing this Twitter header image? If you say anything less than nine, you’re lying (or you’re a vegetarian). For this reason, GrubHub’s colorful burger pattern is the perfect visual to represent their service. Not only is it indicative of what they offer, but the playfulness of the pattern reflects the lighthearted tone they’re known for.
Netflix’s Twitter header image is a great example of a brand that knows how to capitalize on this prominently placed visual space. Here, they use the space to promote one of their latest shows. And honestly, who doesn’t love a good Netflix recommendation?
20) innocent drinks
We love the clever way innocent drinks incorporates their logo into this high-quality cover photo. Not only is the accompanying text clever, but we commend them for drawing attention to their commitment to charity in particular. Many consumers look for little ways they can help make a difference, so highlighting their donation process could help convert potential customers while helping them to establish a positive reputation.
What other awesome Twitter cover photos have you seen from brands on Twitter? Share your favorites with us in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.