There's no end to the ideas that you can incorporate into a Twitter background. Most custom backgrounds take one of four design approaches:
- Tiled pattern -- You can accomplish this by choosing a pattern or design -- there are loads of sources on the Internet -- or by making your own. To set the repeat for your tiled design, check the "tile background" box in upload interface. Tiled patterns are quick to load and have the advantage of being suitable for all monitors. The image can be a texture, a cartoon or a pattern. You might use a photo of stars, grass or flowers. Avoid images that make the tiling obvious, such as those with gradients.
- Background image -- Use a single image for the entire background. But keep in mind that much of it will be obscured by the Twitter content, heading and sidebar. The position of the Twitter content on the image will vary depending on the resolution of the viewer's screen. The upper left section of the image is the part that will be seen by all users.
- Image fading to color -- Here you use a relatively small image that's pinned to the upper left corner. The rest of the background is a color, usually one that matches and blends with the image (if it doesn't match, you will end up with a hard edge instead of a blended look). This makes the background quick to load, and it works even on very large screens.
- Sidebar -- This idea takes one of the three approaches above and adds a sidebar, usually on the left side. The sidebar can contain information or images: a logo, a photo of you or your product, a Web site address, or your e-mail address and phone number. Remember that users can't click on links here; it's just background.
Many users create their background images in Adobe Photoshop, but any image editor will work. Remember to save the image in one of the three file formats that Twitter accepts. Some experts recommend using a PNG format because JPG images lose quality when shrunk, making text difficult to read [source: Mumm]. Twitter allows a maximum image size of 800 KB, but it's a good idea to keep your image to 300 KB or less to allow for faster loading [source: Garhanis].
In the next section, we'll talk more about why you might want to do all this work to make a custom Twitter background.