Some people might even be confused as to what I am referring to by LinkedIn background image/photo. If you are one of them, don’t worry you are not the only one.
After reading my two most popular blog articles titled “Tips to ensure personal branding success on LinkedIn in 2021” and “LinkedIn strategies to increase awareness of your personal brand” which are focused on increasing your personal brand awareness on LinkedIn. Most of my subscribers came to me asking about the LinkedIn background image and why I haven’t written anything about this specific section of a LinkedIn profile on my blog.
Some of the questions posed by my readers were.
- How do I upload a background image on LinkedIn?
- What should my LinkedIn banner be?
- What is the best size for a background image?
- Should I hire a graphic designer to design my LinkedIn banner?
When the requests about a blog that shares tips about LinkedIn background image started flooding my inbox, I had no choice but to answer the call – as a song by the O’Jays would say “give the people what they want”.
In this article, I will address each question posed above, make further recommendations and provide tips and tools that I have used in my capacity to design an appealing background image without the need of hiring a graphic designer. To make matters even easy for you, I have recorded a video that will walk you through designing and uploading your background image in less than 5min.
If you like, you can skip straight to the video – but trust me you will gain more understanding and knowledge by quickly reading this blog. And you will be able to share the knowledge with others, after all, Louis L’Amour couldn’t have said it better when he said, “knowledge is like money: to be of value it must circulate, and in circulating it can increase in quantity and, hopefully, in value” and that is the overall reason I keep writing these blog articles and recording my YouTube videos.
I hope that by sharing my knowledge and experience – I help in making the world a better place and that the people who learn from me do the same. As I have learned from others and constantly paying it forward.
Ok, enough with the inspirational stuff. Let’s get to the matter at hand, LinkedIn banners or background images/photos whatever you decide to call them. I am going to start with addressing a question that is very important before we go any further, which addresses the image specifications of the LinkedIn background image.
What is the best size for the background image?
When it comes to specifications, there are mainly three things to take note of – which are the image dimensions, image format, and image file size.
According to LinkedIn, as of 2021 the following are the specifications for both the mobile and desktop background image.
- Image format: JPG, GIF, or PNG file.
- Image file size: Lesser than 8MB.
- Image dimensions: 1584 (w) x 396 (h) pixels (recommended).
Now since you know what the specifications are, I believe you are starting to gain a bit of confidence. But the next big question from my readers was “what should my LinkedIn banner be” merely knowing the specifications doesn’t mean anything unless you have an image in mind you would like to upload. Below I highlight some of the images you can upload besides going with the default LinkedIn header.
What should my LinkedIn banner be?
(a) Default LinkedIn background photo: If you are lazy, you can easily just leave the default LinkedIn background photo. But I assume that you are not lazy since you managed to read halfway through a 1000 words blog about updating your background photo.
But again, I might be wrong, maybe you don’t even know what the default background image looks like or that it’s even possible to change and make it your own. Here is an image of the default one below and yes, you can change it to whatever you want. When crafting a compelling personal brand, the key is to always be your authentic self and your LinkedIn profile should represent that.
(b) Background image of interests, hobbies, and extracurricular activities: If you like hiking, how about a picture of the Drakensberg. If you are a huge sports fan, a gamer, enjoy doing volunteer work, arts & crafts, or traveling – you can choose a picture that expresses your personality because recruiters, potential partners, and other connections will see that the is a human on the other side of the screen.
Below are examples of some of the images that expres people’s interests, and you can get free stock images from sites like Unsplash and Pexels (support me and use some of the images I uploaded on Pexels view my profile here)
Photo credit: Klaxos
Photo credit: Klaxos
(c) Abstract images: If you prefer going the abstract route, the possibilities are really endless. But I would suggest that you go with an image that represents who you are – after all, it will be better than the default LinkedIn image.
Here are examples of a few impressive abstract images I found from Unsplash, when you upload on LinkedIn you can crop them accordingly.
(d) Personalised background images: If you really, really want to stand out and take your personal brand to the next level – then you have to customize your background image according to your personal brand. Having a personalised background image will help promote your personal brand beyond the limits of a typical banner, you can use the banner as an advertising space to promote your offerings.
Here are examples of LinkedIn profiles (including mine, obviously) with personalised background images for inspiration.
Should I hire a graphic designer to design my personalised LinkedIn banner?
Yes and no, if there’s a specific design that you need – one which is in line with your personal brand identity then fo’sho, hire a graphic designer but keep in mind that they don’t come cheap. A boutique design studio that I have worked with by the name of Phasha360 does an excellent job designing such items.
But what if you don’t have the money to hire a designer, well have no worries my friend – I’ve got you covered. After all, that’s what I am doing what I do, to share the pieces of knowledge that I have and hope that you carry it forward.
There is one tool that I have used by the name of Canva, this tool has predefined LinkedIn background images with all the specifications. Furthermore, it will allow you to combine images, add text, and layer on filters on top of that and the best thing is that it can take you literally less than two minutes to have a personalised background image ready.
Trust me, I am not bluffing – if you don’t believe me check my “how to create a personalised LinkedIn background image” tutorial video at the end of this article. For those who are not talented or skilled designers – Canva has you sorted out.
One thing to keep in mind when designing a personalised banner is, how it’s displayed on mobile will be different from desktop. Just be sure that you avoid a situation where important elements that appear well on the desktop are cut out on mobile.
Below are examples of what I am referring to with regards to your background image on mobile and desktop.
As you can see from the images above, the words are clear and visible on the desktop view, however, on mobile view, some of the words are cut out because the banner shrinks on mobile to accommodate the small screen. Then the background image becomes really hard to read.
But if you are happy with your banner on both mobile and desktop and you are ready to upload it onto your profile but don’t know how to go about it – have no worried the section below covers the whole process on both desktop and mobile phone.
How do I upload a background image on LinkedIn?
Once you are happy with your background image, uploading it is similar to uploading a profile picture. The video below will take you through the steps of creating a personalised background image using Canva, saving it on your computer, and uploading it onto your LinkedIn profile in less than 5 minutes.
How to create a personalised LinkedIn background image in less than 5 min