11 Tips to Improve Your Social Media Design | MP 93

On this marketing podcast, Samantha Carvalho talks about 11 tips to improve your social media design.

Does your social media design need a boost? How can you use colors and negative space to your advantage? Why should you be mindful of using lines in your designs?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks gives 11 tips to improve your social media design.

Podcast Sponsor: Heard

An image of the Practice of the Practice podcast sponsor, Heard, is captured. Heard offers affordable bookkeeping services, personalized financial reporting, and tax assistance.

As a therapist, you’re probably too preoccupied with your caseload to want to think about bookkeeping or tax filing. Heard can help you out with that. Heard is a bookkeeping and tax platform built specifically for therapists in private practice that helps you track and improve your practice’s financial health. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned clinician or are in the first year of your practice, Heard will help you to identify areas for growth and streamline best financial practices for your business.

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In This Podcast

  • Color
  • Balance
  • Lines
  • Typography
  • Contrast
  • Scale
  • Proximity
  • Hierarchy
  • Repetition
  • Direction
  • Space


Color is one of the most important and complex aspects of any social media design. It helps to set the mood, create an atmosphere, convey emotions, and even evoke strong individual experiences from someone’s past. (Sam Carvalho)

90% of snap judgments about products can be made based on color alone.

Other research has shown that it is more beneficial in marketing to use colors that convey the personality you want to portray, rather than going for emotions that may be associated with different colors.

Use colors in your social media images that guide your audience through a story. Do so by considering which colors help to tell a specific portion of that story. Here, color theory becomes important.

Some common color-to-brain effects:

  • Red = energy and urgency
  • Orange = aggressive
  • Yellow = optimistic and youthful
  • Green = wealth and relaxation
  • Blue = trust and security
  • Pink = romantic and feminine
  • Black = powerful and sleek
  • Purple = soothing and calm


A great way to think of balance is to imagine that each element in your design has a specific “weight” behind it.

There are four different types of balance:

  • Symmetrical: gives the feel of balance and harmony. Great for illustrations, drawings, blog graphics, and photographs
  • Asymmetrical: creates tension through contrast and can be visually interesting when done correctly. It is abstract and there are no perfect mirror images
  • Radial: Picture a spiral staircase
  • Crystallographic: picture a tray of donuts with different toppings

All of these can make for beautiful social media design. If you’re creating an image of your own, to balance the weight in your image, play around with different things such as the size of items, lightness, and darkness of items, warm and cool colors, texture, the number of objects, isolation of objects, and orientation of objects. (Sam Carvalho)


Lines help guide the eye to where you want it to go. Straight lines work to give the image a sense of order and tidiness, while crooked or curved lines give the image a sense of organized tension and movement.

[Paying] close attention to the use of lines throughout your image can help guide your audience along a visual journey, stopping at the most important and intentional elements along the way. (Sam Carvalho)

Pay close attention to where you want to draw your reader’s eye when you add lines. Create a logical path for them to follow until they reach your intended destination.


Readability is the most important aspect to keep in mind when you are selecting fonts to use in your designs.

Graphic designer Paul Rand may have put it best when he said, “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good”. (Sam Carvalho)

Here are some tips for using fonts:

  • Limit your design to a maximum of 3 typefaces
  • Use font sizing that fits well with the medium you are working with
  • Traditionally, serif fonts are best for print and sans-serif for web
  • Kerning is a great technique to use in your titles, which means creating space between the letters in titles or headings


Contrast provides differentiation between elements, making one stand out or “pop” more than the other elements.

Find the balance, because too little contrast can leave your design looking “flat” and too much contrast can make things cluttered and chaotic.

Here are 3 ways to add contrast to an image without under or overdoing it:

  • Add contrast with colors
  • Add contrast with shapes
  • Add contrast with sizes


Scale, by definition, refers to the deliberate sizing of various elements within your design.

“Scaling” helps to bring certain elements into focus and allows your readers to make sense of a concept.


Proximity is important for creating a sense of organization within your design, for example, related elements are best grouped to create a relationship between them.

You can use proximity through:

  • Object placement
  • Visual colors, fonts, and sizes


Hierarchy helps you to get your most important message across first.

[Take] full advantage of the hierarchy design principle [by starting] with an understanding of your goals. Establish the most crucial message as the focal point and then use the other design principles mentioned previously to make it stand out. (Sam Carvalho)


Repetition is an important part of the process because it helps to establish and strengthen different elements. This is also referred to as “consistent branding”.

Three things to always try and be consistent within your designs are:

  • Fonts
  • Colors
  • Logos

Repeat these three elements to give your brand a unique and instantly recognizable look.


It is important to guide your audience along the “path” that you would like them to follow in your image, creating a deliberate “flow”.

Website design research has shown that people read in an “F” pattern, an “E” pattern, and sometimes a “Z” pattern.

So, consider placing important and eye-catching elements on the upper left and left sides of your design.


Do not underestimate the power of simplicity in your design. Space can help bring a certain aesthetic quality to your image while also highlighting the most important elements.

When adding shapes, fonts, or colors to your design, consider what shapes or outlines are forming around them and use these to your advantage.

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Sam Carvalho

A photo of Samantha Carvalho is captured. She is the Chief Marketing Officer and Designer at Practice of the Practice. She is the host of the Marketing A Practice Podcast and helps therapists successfully market and brand their private practices.Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding.

Thanks For Listening!

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