How to Convert Your Graphics from Pixels to Imperial Measurements

Revealed: Your Recommended Social Media Image Sizes in Feet and Inches

Besides death and taxes, there is another certainty to the list for anyone with a social media account or three. That social media channels reserve the right to change recommended resolution sizes where they see fit. As devices add more bells and whistles, their power to handle bigger, higher resolution graphics improve. Faster connection speeds also gives us carte blanche to use glossier, sharper images.

Most obviously, we creatives think in pixel sizes: 72 dpi for web images and 300 dpi upwards for print products. In the last week, there could be another weapon at our disposal. A case of going backwards to move forwards.

Inches. Feet and inches. Imperial measurements.

Why, might you ask have imperial measurements entered the equation? Firstly, our new Leader of the House of Commons (and Secretary of State for Leaving the 21st Century) has suggested that his aides should work in feet and inches. This was part of a style guide which had spelling, punctuation, and grammar standards that predated the Peterloo Massacre. Worse, he had no love for the Oxford Comma.

Should the post-Brexit apocalypse and purge on all things metric arise, we at East of the M60 would like you to be ahead of the game. Besides JRM’s style guide, this article is also inspired by Ed Palmer’s look at social media graphics. Also a 1991 Maths lesson when a fellow classmate brought in a book of measurements as old as JRM’s style guide.

If the Member for North East Somerset is reading this, we can do style guides too, you know.

Facebook Dimensions:

Facebook tends to attract older users and comes into its own for promoting small businesses and blogs. For many people, it is the go-to place for sharing baby pictures as well as finding a decorator or a new sofa.

For personal profile images, Facebook recommend a resolution of 170 x 170 pixels. If you have a business or community page, add another ten pixels (180 x 180). On your smartphone, the actual resolution is scaled down to 128 x 128 pixels. If you need a sharper image, go for 720 x 720 pixels.

Since the start of the 2010s, cover photos have been a major thing on The Book of Face. They give you a chance to show off your favourite holiday resort, children, or bus model. The recommended dimensions are 820 x 312 with a safe zone of 640 x 312 (leaving 90px space on the left and right hand sides of the image).

If you use Facebook to promote your business’ activities or show off your baby photos, 1200 x 630 pixels or better is helpful.

As we have mentioned the image dimensions in pixels, here are the all important details in imperial measurements. Each of the measurements cover graphics in 72 dpi and (in brackets) 300 dpi resolutions.

Profile Pictures:

  • Personal Profile: 2.361” x 2.361” (0.569” x 0.569”);
  • Business Page: 2.5” x 2.5” (0.6” x 0.6”);
  • Smartphone: 1.778” x 1.778” (0.427” x 0.427”)
  • Optimum resolution: 10” x 10” (2.4” x 2.4”).

Cover Photos:

  • Recommended: 11.389” x 4.333” (2.733” x 1.040”);
  • Safe Zone: 8.889” x 4.333” – including a gap of 1.25″ left and right of graphic (2.133” x 1.040” – including a gap of 0.3″ left and right of graphic)

Posts and Links:

  • Recommended: 16.667” x 8.750” (4” x 2.130”)

LinkedIn Dimensions:

If you are between jobs or wish to add new contacts, LinkedIn is a powerful social media channel. It is a sanctuary from people mithering you for Candy Crush Saga lives, as employers and employees alike use LinkedIn. The former might LinkedIn for headhunting staff. Employment agencies find this social media channel a useful resource.

In the same way as you would do ahead of a job interview, presentation is everything. A fuzzy fizzog (pixellated rather than hirsute, I must stress) on your LinkedIn profile isn’t going to look too attractive to potential employers and clientele. LinkedIn recommends a profile image of 400 x 400 pixels.

This is true with your personal profile and business page cover photos. LinkedIn recommends 1584 x 396 pixels and 1536 x 768 respectively. For your personal profile, go for something which reflects your positive professional achievements. If you wrote a book, a few copies of that in the cover image wouldn’t be a bad idea. If you like Munro Bagging, a picture of the Cuillin Hills (especially those you have climbed) wouldn’t go amiss.

For your business page, any image that reflects your company’s activities should suffice. Especially when photographed in-house with a decent camera instead of stock imagery.

Like Facebook, you can post things on LinkedIn, though I recommend showing some discretion (potential employers may be perusing your page). The recommended resolution is 1200 x 628 pixels. Just to make things a little bit harder, some proprietary social media posting clients have other standards. 1200 x 1200 pixels is the best resolution on Hootsuite, whereas 1104 x 736 is better on Buffer.

As for the all important details in imperial measurements…

Profile Pictures:

  • Recommended Image Size: 5.556” x 5.556” (1.333” x 1.333”).

Cover Photos:

  • Personal Profile: 22” x 5.5” (5.280” x 1.320”);
  • Business Page: 21.333” x 10.667” (5.120” x 2.560”).

Posts and Links:

  • LinkedIn posts on Hootsuite: 16.667” x 16.667” (4” x 4”);
  • LinkedIn posts on Buffer: 15.333” x 10.222” (3.680” x 2.453”);
  • Recommended size on LinkedIn: 16.667” x 8.722” (4” x 2.093”).

Twitter Dimensions:

For people aged 13 to 130 and across various walks of life and businesses, Twitter is the one social media channel that has true mass appeal. We use Twitter to see if our trains are running, catch up on celebrity gossip, or gain awareness of our favourite brands. It is a great source for advertising your business’ activities, as well as telling your dedicated band of followers that you’ve ordered a pizza at 3am.

Like LinkedIn, Twitter recommends an image size of 400 x 400 pixels for your profile picture. For your header image, 1500 x 500 pixel is recommended.

Owing to Twitter’s popularity as a visual social media channel (as well as one for 280 character tweets), I would refrain from skimping on the resolution sizes. For a standard Twitter post, 1200 x 675 pixels is the recommended amount. Don’t forget to apply the same attention to detail with your link preview images either: 800 x 418 pixels is the recommended resolution.

Once again, those all important details in imperial measurements…

Profile Pictures:

  • Recommended: 5.556” x 5.556” (1.333” x 1.333”).

Header Images:

  • Recommended: 20.833” x 6.944“ (5” x 1.667”).

Posts and Links:

  • Twitter Post: 16.667” x 9.375” (4” x 2.250”);
  • Link Preview: 11.111” x 5.806” (2.667” x 1.393”).

Instagram Dimensions:

Popular with young people, Instagram combines retro style chic with digital sensitivities. When I bought my first Android phone in 2012, I must admit that Instagram was a bit of a deal breaker. If your business specialises in baking or handicrafts, Instagram is a boon for getting your wares out to a wider audience. If you fancy putting your baby brother on aged photos without firing up Photoshop, similarly good.

For profile pictures, an easy to remember 320 x 320 pixels is the optimum image size. For post images – its most famous feature and raison d’etre – a width of 1080 pixels whether square, portrait or landscape. Hence for square images, 1080 x 1080 pixels; 1080 x 566 pixels for landscape images; and 1080 x 1350 pixels for portraits. At least for Instagram stories, just the one size to deal with: 1080 x 1920 pixels – the same resolution as a HD 1080i picture.

If you thought that Instagram wasn’t retro enough for you, here are the all important details in imperial measurements…

Profile Pictures:

  • Recommended: 4.444” x 4.444” (1.067” x 1.067”).

Post Images:

  • Square: 15” x 15” (3.6” x 3.6”);
  • Landscape: 15” x 7.861” (3.6” x 1.9“);
  • Portrait: 15” x 18.750” (3.6” x 4.5“).

Instagram Stories:

  • Recommended: 15” x 26.667” (3.6” x 6.4“).

One more thing…

How do I create new images in inches rather than pixels?

Go to your favourite photo editing program. The Adobe Creative Suite programs has options to change your measurements from pixels to inches. You can do the same with The GIMP.

Why are dimensions greater for 72 dpi images than those for 300 dpi images?

As there are more dots per inch in a 300 dpi image than a 72 dpi image, the detail is greater in the former. 72 dpi images are good for monitors but make for a fuzzy image on print products.

Can I go even more old school than creating a digital image in inches?

Yes, by loading a camera with film, getting your film developed and printed, then scan your negatives or photos onto a suitable scanner. When scanning, please note that film resolution has a substantially higher resolution than 72 dpi and 300 dpi (Ken Rockwell’s article is a good reference guide).

If you choose to have a CD with your photos, just import them into your favourite image processing program and convert the thing to inches. As for your choice of camera, go for one that takes 35mm or 120 film. Our Secretary of State for Leaving the 21st Century may recommend the Kodak Box Brownie 2A which takes 120 film.

Before I go…

Feel free to comment on this tutorial. If you have any more Luddite style image processing tips, feel free to suggest a few more.

Please note that the background image used to illustrate this post has a width of 22.3″ and a height of 14.9″ in 72 dpi resolution. In other words, 1’10” x 1’3″.

S.V., 31 July 2019.

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