8 Social Media Design Mistakes You Could be Making

Published by
Anna Wood
9 min read

Social media networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook have become a vital part of every marketer’s toolkit. These platforms are fiercely competitive, as every brand, business, and influencer is trying to get their content liked, loved, and shared.

You may be putting in the time, but despite your best intentions, your posts might not be reaching as many people as they could be. 

It’s not all about quantity, as quality is also important. You could be making common design mistakes without even realizing it!

With a few simple changes to the way you post, you could rejuvenate your feed and create more sharable graphics.

Take a look at the 8 most common design mistakes marketers make on social media, and get tips to fix your content!

1. Your Images are Blurry

If your carefully composed images go blurry as soon as you upload them to your favorite social media platform, you are not alone. While this is a common issue that social media account holders have, it can be avoided.

If your image file is too small and has to stretch, this can result in poor image quality and pixelation. And unfortunately, pixellated images tend to make your brand look unprofessional and are much less likely to be shared.

It is always better to upload a larger, high-resolution image than a small one. This is because shrinking is better than stretching!

You should also pay attention to the orientation, dimensions, and file type. Every social media platform has different image requirements so it is a good idea to do your research first.

And important note: PNG or JPEG file formats are usually preferred over GIFs.

Need help with your image sizes? Check out our Instagram Image Size Guide, Facebook Image Size Guide, and Pinterest Image Size Guide to make sure all your posts are exactly the right size!

2. Your Fonts are Hard to Read

It can be tempting to choose the prettiest font in your collection. But pretty isn’t always the best choice for social media. Your followers are browsing quickly, and they want typography that is clear and easy to read. You have limited time to get your message across, so make it count!

Sans- Serif fonts are a group of modern, simplistic-looking fonts that are ideal for digital screens.

Sans-Serif fonts often work well in bold for headings and can be used on social media posts, banners, logos, and stories. Not sure where to start? Try Arial, Verdana, or Helvetica. 

Tailwind Tip: We are often told that Times New Roman is a safe choice as it comes standard with MS Word. However, it is actually a Serif font and should be used sparingly in digital media.

3. You Are Choosing the Wrong Colors

Color can have an impact on our emotions. This is well-documented in studies about color psychology!

For example, red can be strong and powerful, green can be peaceful, and yellow can be friendly.

The colors you choose in your social media designs should reflect the style of your business. 

While your base colors for your branding should evoke the right feelings, you should also be aware of how they appear on the screen.

For example, a person who owns a coffee shop on a beach might like to use summery colors such as blue and yellow. 

But this could lead to design mistakes. If the yellow is too light, it will be hard to spot on a white background. If the blue is used within the text it could be mistaken for a hyperlink. 

Colors should never be overpowering. If you’re unsure, ask for feedback before posting. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are the colors easy on the eyes?
  • Do the colors work well together?
  • Are the colors consistent with your brand?

Tailwind Tip: Using a colored or black background with white text can cause eye strain. If you still want to use this style, keep your message short.

4. You Are Limiting Your Viewing Options

When posting to social media, you need to know your audience. How are they viewing your content? Your image might look good on a desktop computer but how does it look on a mobile phone?

4.08 billion people access social media on their mobile, so it makes sense to preview your designs on a range of devices. 

Remember, your post might not be a one-size-fits-all that will work on all social media platforms. Your audience may vary and the style of content should be adapted. 

For example, use creative shots on Instagram, choose inspirational photos for Pinterest, focus on your words for Facebook, and be short and sharp for Twitter. You can schedule your content to appear at a time that suits your followers with the Tailwind app.

Tailwind Tip: Adding subtitles to your videos can be worth the effort. You may have followers who are hearing impaired or have their phones on silent. By adding text to your videos you could expand your audience. 

5. You Are Using Stock Photos

Stock photos have their place on the internet. Adding a royalty-free image to a blog post or article is convenient and can complement what you are trying to say.

However, when it comes to social media, authentic, genuine content is the key to success. Your followers want to see the voice behind your brand, and you can do this by taking your own photos

Depending on the size and scale of your business, you may also like to use a professional photographer.

Or, if you’re an influencer or small business, the features found on your smartphone can be enough to get the perfect shot.

This is not to say you can’t ever use stock photos – and stock photo photography has come a long way from the overly posed versions that come to mind – just make sure to include eye-catching images with personality that match your brand!



Tailwind Tip: Not all stock photos are free to use for marketing purposes. You should always check the license before publishing a stock photo on your social media account.

6. You Are Not Customizing Your Designs

Are you showing off your creativity by customizing your digital artwork? If the answer is “no,” we say, “why not?” 

When you sign up forTailwind Create, you don’t have to be an experienced designer to get the look.

Whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, you can personalize your social posts in an instant. Mix up the colors and add your logo. With minimal effort, your posts will look professional and on-brand.

Tailwind Tip: Adding your handle or website to your images can help you get noticed. If your followers choose to reshare your posts, you will get credit as the original creator. 

7. You Are Using Every Inch of Space

Graphic designers understand that less can be more. Negative space is the area that surrounds the objects and text in your images. The background is just as important as your words and imagery!

A common mistake is to fill up the entire graphic with letters and shapes. This can look cluttered and can confuse your followers. Whether it’s a logo, header, or post, try embracing space.

There are brands you may be familiar with that understand the impact a simple background can make. These include FedEx, Google, eBay, and J Crew. Be strategic and try to avoid chaos in your images.

Tailwind Tip: White space can direct the eyes of your audience to important points of your content. Check out our guide to visual hierarchy in graphic design to learn more!



8. You Are Not Using Grids

When we look at writing, we subconsciously expect it to flow in a certain way. Another common social media design mistake is positioning text at random. If you don’t get the spacing and alignment right, it can distract the reader and make your profile page look rushed and messy.

Even if you are intentionally scattering your words to create a unique effect, they still need to be in alignment. When designing your graphics, use the grid function to get your positioning just right. 

Also, be mindful of the hierarchy of your words. The most important part of the message should be the biggest and boldest, and the least important should be the smallest. 

Tailwind Tip: Left and center alignment are preferred by designers. Unless you are printing a newspaper, never use justified text.

Don’t Make These Social Media Mistakes

If you are serious about social media, it’s time to take a look at the way you are designing your content. There are a number of mistakes you could be making but the good news is, they are easy to fix!

We looked at eight different social media design issues, including blurry images, fonts that are hard to read, the wrong colors, limited viewing options, stock photos, generic graphics, not enough negative space, and misaligned text. And, we gave you a few top tips on how to get your designs just right.

When you take your time and plan and customize your graphics to suit your preferred social media platform, the results will be well worth it. Once you find a style and color scheme that suits your brand, stick with it.

Remember, you don’t have to do it alone because Tailwind makes the process simple. With this clever app, you can design branded social media posts (no design experience required), schedule your content, and find relevant hashtags!

Get the support you need to manage and create dazzling posts for your social media accounts with a free trial of Tailwind!

Psst! This Pin was made in seconds with Tailwind Create. Try it for yourself

Anna Wood is an experienced lifestyle blogger and freelance writer. She lives in regional Australia with her hubby, 3 children, and one very fluffy fur baby.

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Anna Wood

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