The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Ad Graphics and Typography

Social media ads are powerful tools for marketing your business. However, to make the most of it, you need to create visuals that are eye-catching and effective. The graphics and typography should grab your audience’s attention and get them to take the desired action. Many marketers and business owners overlook the importance of good design and typography in their social media ads; however, bad graphics and typography can cause people to overlook or disregard your ad altogether. Below, we’ll go over the do’s and don’ts of creating social media ads to stop people from scrolling and help you achieve your business goals.

Graphic Design and Typography Can Make or Break Your Social Media Ads

When it comes to social media ads, the visuals are just as important as the copy. People are very visual creatures and will make split-second decisions about whether or not they’re interested in your ad based on the graphics and typography. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to the details and create eye-catching and effective visuals.

Your social media ad graphics and typography should stop people from scrolling through their feed and get them to take notice of your ad. But, to do this, you need to understand how good and bad graphics can affect your ad’s performance.

Good graphic design can make your ad more visually appealing and help you communicate your message more effectively. When done correctly, it can also help you target a specific audience and increase the chances of them taking the desired action. Some of the benefits of good graphic design in social media ads include:

  • Making your ad more visually appealing
  • Helping you communicate your message more effectively
  • Targeting and engaging a specific audience
  • Increasing the chances of people taking the desired action

Bad graphics and typography, on the other hand, can actually deter people from your ad. Some of the ways bad graphic design can affect your social media ads include:

  • Creating a disconnect between the visuals and the copy
  • Making your ad look unprofessional
  • Causing people to scroll past your ad
  • Turning people off from your brand

Now that we’ve gone over the importance of good graphic design and typography in social media ads, let’s look at some of the do’s and don’ts of creating compelling visuals.

Best Practices For Social Media Ad Graphics and Typography

DO: Use the Power of Colour to Your Advantage

The colours you use in your social media ad graphics can convey emotion, set the mood, and express the tone. They can also help you target a specific audience. For example, if you want to appeal to a younger audience, you might use brighter colours. On the other hand, if you want to come across as more professional or trustworthy, then using muted or darker colours might be the way to go.

That said, of course, the above is just a suggestion, as you can experiment however you want and conduct A/B tests. The important thing is to use colour wisely and make sure it fits with your brand identity. This will help people recognize your ad and make it more memorable. Here’s how we play with colours on our social media posts while remaining consistent with our branding.

lady holding a tablet
mcdonalds ig post

DON’T: Use Too Many Colours

While using colour in your social media ad graphics is important, you don’t want to use too many. This will just end up making your ad look cluttered and chaotic. A good rule of thumb is to stick to two or three colours. You can also use a colour palette to help you choose the perfect colours for your ad. It can be quite helpful if you’re having trouble narrowing down your colour choices.

Another thing to remember is that you shouldn’t just randomly choose colours that you think look good together. Instead, you need to make sure they actually complement each other and work well together so you can achieve a harmonious balance in your ad. Additionally, if you already have specific colours established for your brand, then it’s best to try and incorporate them within your ads so that consumers can quickly identify that it’s your content.

For instance, here is an example of McDonald’s creating an ad that utilizes their colours while cleverly inserting their “M” logo. Overall, an ad that is simple, clean and effective.

DO: Use High-Quality Images

This is one of the most important aspects of creating effective social media ads. Your images should be high quality and relevant to your product or service. In addition, they should be visually representative of your brand or what you offer.

There are a lot of options for making this happen. You can use professional photos, stock photos, or even take some of your own. Whichever you choose, make sure the images are high quality and visually appealing. Websites like Pexels and Unsplash have beautiful, high-resolution photos that you can download for free.

DON’T: Pick Generic or Unnatural-Looking Stock Photos

When it comes to stock photos, it’s important to choose wisely. You want to avoid using generic or unnatural-looking photos as they can make your ad look fake and inauthentic. Instead, try to find photos that have great lighting and composition. If you’re using images featuring people, make sure the poses look natural and realistic.

It’s also a great idea to opt for images that feature people who would most likely resemble your target audience. This way, your ad would be more relatable and trustworthy because it conveys that you took the time to get to know what your audience members might look like.

DO: Use Contrast to Bring Attention to a Product

You want your ad to be eye-catching, so people will stop scrolling and take a look. One way you can achieve this is by using contrasting colours. This creates a visual tension that’s hard to ignore. You can use complementary colours or even experiment with different shades of the same colour.

DON’T: Ignore the Power of Whitespace

Whitespace is often underrated, but it’s actually a very powerful tool. When used correctly, it can make your ad more visually appealing and even help guide the viewer’s eyes. Too much whitespace can make an ad look unfinished or empty. But if you use it judiciously, it can actually make your ad more impactful. Here’s an example of that.

DO: Pay Attention to Font Spacing

Another important aspect of typography is font spacing or kerning. This is the space between each character in a piece of text.

You want to ensure that the spacing is just right, so the text is easy to read. If the spacing is too tight, it can make the text look cluttered and difficult to read. If the spacing is too wide, it can make the text look disconnected and even unfinished. The best way to find the perfect balance is to experiment with different kerning values until you find something that looks just right.

DON’T: Overcrowd the Visual With Graphic Elements

While it’s important to make your ad visually appealing, you don’t want to overcrowd it with too many graphic elements. This will just make it look cluttered and confusing. Stick to the essentials and use negative space to your advantage.

sample whitespace

DO: Create a Visual Hierarchy

Another way to make your social media ad more effective is using typography to create a visual hierarchy. You want to use different fonts and font sizes to make certain elements stand out.

For example, you might want to use a larger font size for your headline and a smaller font size for your body copy. This will help people know what’s most important and help them understand your ad better. You can also experiment with different fonts to add more personality to your ad. Make sure that the fonts you use are legible and easy to read.

DON’T: Use Too Many Fonts

While it’s great to experiment with different fonts, you don’t want to use too many as it will make your ad look chaotic. So stick to two or three fonts at most. You also want to avoid using fonts that are too similar where there’s no definition between words, but also not so many fonts that it looks chaotic.

DO: Use Natural Reading Patterns to Guide Your Design

This concept is usually used for intuitive web interfaces, but it works well for social media visuals too. Essentially, we want to design our ad in a way that guides the viewer’s eyes in a natural reading pattern. In most cases, people would scan an image from left to right and top to bottom. So, you want to ensure that you place graphic and typography elements along these natural flow lines. The most important text should typically be aligned to the left, which is the most common reading pattern. The CTA or branding should ideally be at the bottom right of an image since that’s where readers’ eyes will likely linger.

DON’T: Forget to Adjust the Ad Layout Based on the Platform

Finally, you want to make sure that you’re adjusting your ad layout based on the platform that you’re using. Each social media platform has its own size and shape guidelines, so it’s important to follow these when creating your ad. For example, Facebook ads are typically rectangular, while Instagram ads are square. The text alignment, buttons, and main images you use for one platform will most likely not apply to another. Keep these platform guidelines in mind when you’re designing your ad so that you can create ads that will engage your audience and generate the best possible results for your business.


By following a few tips and tricks for graphic design and typography, you can create effective social media ads that will engage your audience and help you achieve your business goals. With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating successful social media ads.

If you have more questions about social media best practices that can drive business results, you can download our social media marketing e-book for free.