How to Stand Out with a Brilliant Facebook Cover Photo

Mar 03, 2017

Visit any big brand on Facebook and have a look at their cover photo…

You should notice two things about it: It looks good and it’s brand consistent.

Now, we’ll be honest. Your Facebook cover isn’t the most powerful weapon in your brand armory, but it is important. And it’s not that difficult to get right, if you know what you’re doing.

In this article, we’ll showcase a whole bunch of amazing Facebook covers we found online, to inspire your own, and we’ll pair them with Canva’s best Facebook cover templates, which you can customize and make your own.

Just click on any of the Canva templates and they’ll  open in your account. Personalize the copy, add your brand colors and change the photo and you’ll have the perfect Facebook cover in two or three minutes.

Sound good? Excellent, let’s get cracking!

The Flat Lay

The “flat lay” is like a modern still life. It is a very trendy, top-down photography style popularized by food and fashion bloggers, especially on Instagram. Typically, these photos show food, a workspace, or a collection of beautiful items, usually with some negative space for adding text.

As you might be able to tell from these examples, flat lay Facebook cover photos are popular with lifestyle sites and brands, such as subscription boxes, beauty products, and career blogs. However, this style can easily apply to any number of industries – just gather the right pieces.

A successful flat lay begins with an intentional background and a thoughtfully curated collection of items. You can either style and take your own shot, or find a stock image that fits the bill by searching terms like “flat lay,” “desk,” or the types of items you are looking for in the photo.

Aside from stock photos found in the Canva image library, the fully customizable examples above feature effective font pairings. When adding copy, find a text holder that snuggly fits the available space in your image. For a full tutorial on Canva’s text holders, click here.

You can opt to choose a text holder from Canva’s text menu, or you can create your own font pair with the help of this guide.

Pro tip: Select text colors based on the palette of your image.

The Color Overlay

A few years ago, Apple popularized the flat design trend, which incorporated bright pops of color. Designers took this trend and ran with it, and now where we used to have more subtle, skeuomorphic designs, we now have minimalism and color blocks.

Color overlays pair well with another modern trend, one that combines colorful backdrops with crisp, white text. The end effect is quite modern, as you’ll see in the Facebook cover photo examples below:

These examples range from hip lifestyle brands (generally in brighter colors) to online learning tools (in more muted tones). Often, the color of the overlay is drawn directly from the logo. Sans serif text in white looks stunning over top of these colorful backdrops.

You can create a full color overlay in Canva by:
1. Taking a square shape from the Canva library and placing it over your image.
2. Choose the tint by clicking on the shape and choosing a color from the pop-up menu.
3. If you click on the drop down arrow on the far right side of the same menu, you’ll find the transparency setting for that shape. Click on that and adjust the transparency slider accordingly.
4. Finally, drag the corners of the shape until it fills up the entire surface area of your Facebook cover.

Alternatively, you can use solid colors as your base. If you do this, drop your image over your solid color base and adjust the image’s transparency setting. If you want a full tutorial on Canva’s transparency settings, click here.

Pro tip: You don’t have to limit yourself to a full-color overlay. In some of the customizable examples above, only the text frames are transparent. You can even make text transparent. Learn more about what you can do with the transparency tool in this page.

The Icon Arrangement

Icons have grown in popularity with the rise of Bootstrap-designed websites and the availability of high quality icon fonts, such as Glyphicons, Font Awesome, and Ionicons. These fonts have hundreds and sometimes thousands of icons, ranging from the ones you might predict – an envelope, a camera icon, a CD – to ones you might not have predicted, like a rocket, beer mug, or Erlenmeyer flask.

As fun as icons are on their own, some brands have been using cover images that incorporate lots of them:


This style of Facebook cover seems to be overwhelmingly dominated by tech companies. These examples include two technology/lifestyle blogs, a cloud coding platform, and mega online platforms YouTube and Yelp, whose cover photos are so similar that they are nearly identical.

Conveniently, Canva has an entire category of free icons under the “Elements” menu! There are lineart and filled in icons in a number of styles, which you can pull into your design and make any color you’d like. Then, you can arrange them to fill the entire frame, or situate them around your logo or brand name, like in the example below.

You can edit the templates above by changing the text and moving the icons around to fit.

Canva has plenty of icons you can use to create your own take on this Facebook cover. If you want to build one up from scratch, follow these steps:
1. After selecting a Facebook cover design type from Canva’s template menu, go to the Background menu and set it to the color of your choice.
2. Click the Text menu and add your text, or upload your logo with a transparent background, and place it where you would like. (Remember, your page title and buttons will cover the bottom of the image.)
3. Then, go into the Elements menu and open up the free icons. Scroll until you find a set of icons you like and click them to add them to your cover photo.
4. Set their color and size them down as needed.

Pro tip: When arranging them, it is easiest to start in one spot beside the text and add icons adjacently from there. Otherwise, you might end up with a weird space you can’t easily fill. Also remember that you can select any icon you have already placed and click copy to duplicate it. Learn more about what you can do with Canva’s icons in this page.

The Collage

Why just choose one image for your Facebook cover photo when you could instead choose a whole lot of them? Collages are very popular for Facebook cover images and have been for a very long time. Even better is that they are super easy to put together!

I found that image collages were quite popular for retail and entertainment, which makes sense for companies that have a vast catalog of marketing and product imagery at their disposal already. More surprising was finance, but I found similar examples to the Chase collage on both TurboTax and Intuit’s Facebook pages.

Canva makes it extremely easy to put together a collage like the examples above because of all the layouts that are available. Just click the Layouts menu and scroll past the sample templates to the blank collage options.

Canva makes it extremely easy to put together a collage. Aside from the customizable examples above, you will find plenty of collage designs in the Canva template library.

You can also create your own collage template from scratch:
1. Tap on the elements tab on your side-panel menu and click the grids icon.
2. Choose your preferred grid layout from the selection.
3. Try the search bar for images or upload your own.
4. Drag your images into the grid and adjust the photo accordingly.

For a full tutorial on adding photos into grids, click here. You can also learn more about how you can use grids for your designs on this page.

Pro tip: For harmony, select images that either have similar colors or a consistent theme (like National Geographic’s cover image featured above).

The Striking Photograph

For tons of brands, all that is needed is a single striking photograph. It may be an original photograph or a stock image, but either way, it imparts the core message they are trying to send out, whether that message is one of awe, appreciation, or desire.

This type of Facebook cover image is pretty universal, spanning fashion, travel, home goods and more.

Doing this on your Facebook page could be as simple as uploading any old image and using Facebook’s editor tool to crop it, but it can be hard to determine ahead of time how an image will look cropped to the very wide ratio of a cover photo. For that reason, I prefer to use Canva’s template to crop my image, even if I don’t change it in any other way. Often, though, I will still make some tweaks, like in the example below.

You can combine this Facebook cover type with any of the design ideas mentioned earlier in this example. Add a color overlay, icons, or combine a collection of stunning images into a collage — the possibilities are endless!

Or you can always just use your image by itself. Here’s how to enhance an image using the Canva editor:
1. Upload your image and drag it onto your Facebook cover design.
2. Tap on the image and from the pop-up menu, select Filter.
3. Browse Canva’s selection of filter presets or adjust the formatting sliders according to what enhancement your image needs. For example, if it’s dull and washed out, increase the saturation; if it’s dark and murky, adjust the brightness and contrast settings.

For a full article on Canva’s filters and how you can use them, check out this article.

Wrapping Up

The cover photo is one of the first things we take in about a company’s Facebook page. It really is the voice of your brand on Facebook, so it is worth the time and effort to create something beautiful.

Fortunately, Canva has all the tools you need to create a compelling Facebook cover image for free, or for just a few dollars if you opt to use the stock photography. Crop your photos, filter them, overlay text, shapes, or icons – all in just a few clicks.

So now I’m turning the spotlight to you. What cover photo trends are you seeing in your industry? I challenge you to create a beautiful Facebook cover image in Canva and share your template in the comments section below. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Adrienne Branson is a freelance writer and design enthusiast in her 20s. She grew up enthralled by the internet and social media. She loves a well-organized Pinterest board, walking her dogs, and following the music scene in her city.


Canva is one of Boxless Media’s favorite graphic editing and design programs. We highly recommend visiting their website for more information here. We love free tools. Canva is one of them. But we loved it so much we pay for it. Check it out, we promise you’ll love it!

1 Comment. Leave new

Jason Baumann
March 4, 2017 4:25 am

Thanks for contributing to the Boxless blog. This is something new and exciting and we are excited that you and the team at Canva are our first? Great article.


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