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Thursday, June 2, 2011

How to Size your Facebook Profile Picture & Thumbnail

If you’ve ever tried to change your Facebook profile picture before, whether for your personal profile or fan page, you know how frustrating it can be. On top of Facebook’s technical glitches, which leave you wonder if you’re permanently stuck with that question mark of doom, the thumbnail never seems to look right.
On your personal profile thumbnail, you’re either a tiny speck in the distance or you’re showing off your left eyebrow. On your fan page, your brand’s logo is cut off. Here are some fan pages that still haven’t gotten it quite right:

Facebook recommends that profile pictures should be 200px wide. They height can vary up to three times the width. However, they don’t make it clear how the thumbnail that Facebook uses is generated from this picture.

You’ll find that Facebook crops images when generating a thumbnail, losing information around the edge. You can edit the thumbnail to drag it to a different part of your picture, but you cannot expand the thumbnail selection. So when you create your profile image that’s 200px wide, allow a 12 pixel border around crucial information such as a brand name or logo to allow for automatic cropping.

Also remember that Facebook thumbnails are always square, regardless of the shape of your profile image. So when designing rectangular profile pictures, make sure to keep your desired thumbnail imagery within a square boundary. Then you can edit the thumbnail selection accordingly

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