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Design Tips for the Social Media Marketer

4 min read Bufferchat
Nicole Miller
Nicole Miller Director of People @ Buffer
Design Tips for the Social Media Marketer

Integrating your visual strategy and social media strategy is more important than ever for marketers. To give some essential design advice to social media marketers, Dustin W. Stout stopped by #bufferchat.

Check out the full Storify curation of the chat here!

design tips

Why should marketers know basic design principles?

From Dustin:

  • “The same reason they to know basic fashion principles. If you look a mess you’ll be perceived as such.”
  • “People want to share things that make them look good. Why would they share something visually unappealing?”

Other great insights:

  • “Because marketing (unless purely audio) is very much based on visuals. Not just the message but how it’s presented.” @avizuber
  • “It’s just great practice for designers/marketers to understand each other. Improves communication and efficiency.” @abowersock
  • “Because design influence conversion and experience, which marketers need to have for success.” @KevinWaugh
  • “Marketing is all about getting your message seen-The better design, the easier the message will be delivered…and received.” @apartmentalist

What are the most important design rules to follow?

From Dustin:

  • “Balance (symmetry), Framing (consistent whitespace), Contrast (ability to discern between subject/background).”

Other great insights:

  • “Stay within your brand guidelines, be consistent, and have a second set of eyes! Analysis paralysis can set in pretty easily” @marymallard
  • “Know your audience, rule of thirds, color theory, hierarchy in layout, proper typography pairings (!)…just to name a few.” @mandy_stark
  • “Legibility and proper, relevant imagery are two things I think are super important! Oh, and keeping things fun!” @misterfeeney
  • “One of my very first design lessons (in high school newspaper!) “Never have someone looking off page into space.” ” @TheNameIsCasie

From Dustin:

  • “It’s more important than you think. Value people’s work & respect their rights. See
  • “Always err on the side of caution. Ask before using som1’s work if it’s not clearly marked FREE to use.”

Other great insights:

  • “A basic understanding is crucial. Basically, don’t borrow, steal, or use anything unless you’re positive you can.” @EmilyaCarlton
  • “Find an image that’s legal to take or get creative! Make your own image for your brand & work off that w/ your design team.” @outsider_nyc
  • “The whole lot! Know too many that have been burned due to basic errors. Always verge on the side of caution!” @mike_mcgrail

What are your favorite design tools or apps?

From Dustin:

  • “All the best (free) design apps I recommend are here – &
  • “Notable mentions are @canva & @vsco – if I found myself w/o Photoshop, all I would need are those two.”
  • “I should have clarified since I’m a professional designer I use Photoshop and Illustrator all day long.”

Other great tools and apps mentioned:

Where do you go to find stock photos?

From Dustin:

Other great stock photo sites:

More resources:

Who do you follow for design inspiration?

From Dustin:

Other people to follow:


Where can you go for more design tips?

From Dustin:

Other great resources:

Books to check out:

Thank you to everyone who joined in!  Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday on Twitter for the latest chat and advice!   Image sources: IconFinder, Blurgrounds, Death to the Stock Photo

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