An attractive background design can really make your ads and posts pop. This is something a good background design suite can help you with.

The importance of awesome backgrounds on social media posts and ads goes far past just making them look good.

In fact, the design has a huge impact on ROI.

For example, mobile ads account for 77.2% of the total ad spend. That’s a lot of money with non-guaranteed ROI.

The only way to stand out and improve your chances of returns is to leverage design.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a thought: I bet you’ve at least once clicked on a social ad that didn’t have compelling copy, but a great background or overall design.

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…exactly.

In this post, we’ll give you a step-by-step process for creating eye-catching background design, and share some design best practices to adopt for all design pieces.

Let’s get started.

Create Awesome Background Design in 3 Easy Steps

It’s fair to say that not everyone is an expert graphic designer.

It’s possible that you don’t know about gradients, bokeh effects, color palettes, and all that jazz.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself.

Design platforms such as Pixelied are a cost-effective alternative to sites like Canva.

Pixelied takes the guesswork and technical skills out of designing a great-looking background.

To top it off, Pixelied is completely free to use for everyone.

Here’s a full background design walkthrough on the Pixelied design tool.

Step 1: Head Over to Our Free Editor and Select a Template (or Set Custom Dimensions)

The best thing about Pixelied is that you can start using it right away without any restrictions or annoying walls. To get started, simply head over to our free editor.

Pixelied-Editor-Start

Depending on the type of visual asset you have in mind and the social/web platform you’re going to share it on, click on the drop-down menu and click on your choice (by default, the canvas size is set to the ideal dimensions for Facebook posts):

Pixelied-Editor-Template-Selection

Our editor has a massive library of templates for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Twitch, Pinterest, Etsy, Patreon, and much more.

You can search for a specific template by typing the keyword in the search box. We have it all inside Pixelied.

Don’t want to pick a template and have your own custom dimensions?

No problem.

Simply click on the “Resize” button at the top, set your custom dimensions (underneath where it says Or resize to custom dimensions), and click on resize.

Pixelied-Editor-Custom-Resizing

Once you’ve picked a template or set custom dimensions for your background design, it’s time to get creating.

Step 2: Customize the Background Design

If you like a certain template that you feel you can customize to a background, click on it.

pixelied-template-customization

From here, you can choose from a variety of customization options, such as color scheme, opacity, text, and more. Change the template to where you feel it’s ideal for your background idea.

You can also customize your background design by putting in illustrations, icons, images, and text. These options are especially useful if you’re designing something from scratch in custom dimensions.

And in case you didn’t notice, you can also set a custom background color at the top.

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There are several parameters that you can tweak to get the ideal result.

Want to make a grunge poster out of a Shutterstock-like image?

You can do that here.

There’s even an option that lets you Brandify your design.

With this option, you can upload your own fonts and design elements, and implement them on the template you’ve chosen.

The objective here is to make the design match your brand or message, but also keep it catchy enough to appeal to your audience.

Step 3: Download your Background Design

Now that you have your design finalized, you can download it to your system.

Look for the Download option at the top right corner of the customization page.

Pixelied-Editor-Download

You have the option of downloading the file in either .jpg or .png format.

That’s all there is to it!

Now, you can have your background for unlimited usage, wherever you want.

Plus, if you need to further modify the background or create a new one with the same basic design elements, you can do that too.

Top 9 Background Design Best practices

However, with all those design samples at your disposal, it’s easy to get sidetracked and forget the optimal design for a post.

To help you out with that, here are some top tips for creating the perfect background design:

Use Lighter Backgrounds

Lighter background colors don’t divert attention from what’s written.

In fact, pastel or white backgrounds with minimal graphics make the copy more visible.

The Dark-On-Light scheme works really well, especially for ads in which the copy is the more important part.

However, for standard social media posts, you can get super-creative and have a whole mix of colors in the background if you want!

Choose Cleaner Background Images

A clean background keeps the audience’s attention on the copy while still being fresh enough to grab attention in the first place.

For example, a blue background with minimalist background vector images will be easy on the eyes, enough to not overwhelm the message behind the design.

If you’re making a branded background, lower the opacity a bit to have a slightly transparent background.

This increases the artistic appeal of the background and makes it easier to read, even when displayed on a smaller scale.

Source Images from High-Quality Sources

Sites like Shutterstock, Pexels, and iStockPhoto are the best sources for premium stock images.

All of their photos are high-res and available in a variety of formats.

However, if you’re not looking to spend on stock images, Pixabay and Unsplash are good options.

Make sure to never source images just from Google Images, since it’s really difficult to find copyright-free images that way.

Be Careful About Contrast

Whether you’re choosing an abstract background with watercolor themes or a simple geometric graphic design, make sure that the color scheme has enough contrast with the text to help it stand out.

Contrast is important for two main reasons.

Number 1, it makes the foreground elements more visible. Number 2, it creates a more striking image, one that stands out wherever it’s posted.

Always Go High-Res

High-resolution images provide more room for editing later on.

Try to find a high-res photo background that looks good and doesn’t have visible pixels even when blown up.

You can also crop out parts of a high-res image in case it doesn’t go well with the overall design of the web page.

Cropping out parts usually leaves enough resolution for the image to still look sharp.

Use Abstract Templates

Where possible, you want to pick a background with plain vector graphics or undefined images.

Even a halftone image with background textures will do.

Abstract templates are good if you’re not advertising a brand or product via the design.

However, if you are, create a design scheme where every element is in sync with the brand’s colors.

Overlay with Subtle Colors

If you’re doing an overlay on stock photos, try to choose an overlay that contrasts with the text color.

Overlays provide a soft, almost dreamy look to your background.

Bear in mind that if your background is supposed to be bright and energetic, an overlay may not be the best choice.

However, for most scenarios, an overlay adds a splash of color to your background, which is always great.

Select Plain Images

Just like with background templates, try using images that are not too busy or distracting.

Additionally, when possible, stay away from clipart, since it’s a little antiquated at this point and makes your content looks dated.

Again, if your brand is lively and bright, forego this instruction completely and go with your brand design scheme.

However, for most cases, a more low-key image will work best.

Use Popular Fonts

The Gotham font is the most popular among designers for ad banners and social media posts.

Go for that, or other popular fonts like Helvetica Neue LT Std and Myriad Pro.

These fonts are easily recognizable among audiences.

Additionally, they’re the easiest to understand when juxtaposed against more vivid backgrounds.

Other than the above, use design platforms such as Pixelied to create background designs for your posts.

This is because Pixelied has curated a huge variety of images, all created with design best practices in mind.

Plus, they’re primed for the platform you’ll be using them on.

Beats creating templates from scratch, any day!

Wrapping it Up

Creating a visually stunning social media post or ad is easier than ever and background design should be the last thing holding you back, especially with free tools such as Pixelied in the market.

With Pixelied, you don’t need to watch a bunch of Photoshop or Illustrator tutorials either.

Looking to create a crazy-good background design for your next social media post or ads?

Start creating today and notice the difference!