Integrating your visual strategy and social media strategy is more important than ever for marketers. To give some essential design advice to social media marketers, Dustin W. Stout stopped by #bufferchat.

Check out the full Storify curation of the chat here!

design tips

Why should marketers know basic design principles?

From Dustin:

  • “The same reason they to know basic fashion principles. If you look a mess you’ll be perceived as such.”
  • “People want to share things that make them look good. Why would they share something visually unappealing?”

Other great insights:

  • “Because marketing (unless purely audio) is very much based on visuals. Not just the message but how it’s presented.” @avizuber
  • “It’s just great practice for designers/marketers to understand each other. Improves communication and efficiency.” @abowersock
  • “Because design influence conversion and experience, which marketers need to have for success.” @KevinWaugh
  • “Marketing is all about getting your message seen-The better design, the easier the message will be delivered…and received.” @apartmentalist


What are the most important design rules to follow?

From Dustin:

    • “Balance (symmetry), Framing (consistent whitespace), Contrast (ability to discern between subject/background).”


    Other great insights:

    • “Stay within your brand guidelines, be consistent, and have a second set of eyes! Analysis paralysis can set in pretty easily” @marymallard


    • “Know your audience, rule of thirds, color theory, hierarchy in layout, proper typography pairings (!)…just to name a few.” @mandy_stark


  • “Legibility and proper, relevant imagery are two things I think are super important! Oh, and keeping things fun!” @misterfeeney



    • “One of my very first design lessons (in high school newspaper!) “Never have someone looking off page into space.” ” @TheNameIsCasie




What should marketers know about copyright?

From Dustin:

    • “It’s more important than you think. Value people’s work & respect their rights. See


  • “Always err on the side of caution. Ask before using som1’s work if it’s not clearly marked FREE to use.”



Other great insights:

    • “A basic understanding is crucial. Basically, don’t borrow, steal, or use anything unless you’re positive you can.” @EmilyaCarlton


  • “Find an image that’s legal to take or get creative! Make your own image for your brand & work off that w/ your design team.” @outsider_nyc



  • “The whole lot! Know too many that have been burned due to basic errors. Always verge on the side of caution!” @mike_mcgrail




 What are your favorite design tools or apps?

From Dustin:


  • “Notable mentions are @canva & @vsco – if I found myself w/o Photoshop, all I would need are those two.”



  • “I should have clarified since I’m a professional designer I use Photoshop and Illustrator all day long.”



Other great tools and apps mentioned:





















































Where do you go to find stock photos?

From Dustin:


Other great stock photo sites:




































More resources:









Who do you follow for design inspiration?

From Dustin:




Other people to follow:














  • ” for design inspiration, I follow @terrylwhite @paultrani @Robdobi @Carrot @buffer and I’m on @Behance” @The_ChrisBryant









  • “All these guys in this list! 🙂 …” @vvbellur



  • “Huge fan of @Pinterest and @thefwa for design inspiration. @dribbble can be good too.” @JoshStAubin





  • “I like @Visually too; great company with lots of amazing and inspiring content too” @HireQ_inc



  • “I love everything that @TheKatieAHall does. that girl knows design. Shes an awesome friend too. You should all follow her.” @domgarrett




Where can you go for more design tips?

From Dustin:


Other great resources:






















Books to check out:






Thank you to everyone who joined in!  Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday on Twitter for the latest chat and advice!   Image sources: IconFinder, Blurgrounds, Death to the Stock Photo

Looking for a better way to share on social media?

Schedule, publish & analyze your posts across the top social networks, all in one place.

Start a 14-Day Free Trial
Written by Nicole Miller

Community Champion at Buffer 🙂 When I’m not connecting with amazing community members, you can find me writing, reading or blogging about my urban homesteading adventures with 15 chickens, four ducks, two dogs and a horse.

  • I never envy you having to compile these recaps from the massive number and incredible quality of tweets, Nicole! You did a great job with this one.

    • Yea, boggles my mind as well Christin! lol Way to go Nicole!

      • Oh thank you guys so much! 🙂 I learn so much from all of you every week and am so grateful for you!! 🙂

        • rachel672

          . true that
          `s remark
          is good,
          on thursday I got
          a great new
          Jaguar XJ
          after I been earnin
          this-last/5 weeks
          . this is certainly
          the easiest-work
          Ive ever done
          . I actually started
          9-months ago
          and practically straight away
          started bringing in
          more than
          . visit GO HERE NOW TO KNOW IN DETAIL

  • Great post! I think the first link in the stock photos section (Upslash) should be Unsplash instead (

  • What a great recap @NicoleMillerbooks:disqus thanks! 🙂 Definitely saving this one in my favorites to refer to again and again! Thanks @DustinWStout:disqus for the great advice!

  • Excellent resources! Great blog. Thanks.

  • Cheryl

    Hate to be a jerk… given that there’s a sh*t ton of great info in this article… typo on “Aviary”.

    • Whoops, thanks so much for letting us know! Should be all fixed up now!

  • Ben Searle

    A very useful Blog, always worth having some useful design tools. I Like to use Canva for most of the stuff I do.

  • diamond

    If you are searching for opportunity to invest please follow the link down below.

  • diamond

    If you are looking for opportunity to invest please follow the link down below.

  • Great post! The one tip I would love to add is, “Know when you need the assistance of a professional”,

  • Molly Fallone

    Thanks, Nicole! Saving this as a go to. I manage my company’s social media and blog, I call myself a digital marketer – but I’ve been learning it’s important to not only publish original (text) content, but also visuals. At Apple Box Studios (my company), our Art Director is too busy with bigger projects for me to pester him about making me custom visuals for my content, so I’m always on the hunt for easy tools to make quality visuals. Canva is normally my savior when it comes to this. However, I’ve learned you need to make sure all of your visuals go with your brand. I run by my Art Director, for example, on the fonts, colors, patterns, sizes in the designs he pushes out for our brand and make sure my visuals have main aspects that resemble his. I’ve also noticed success with producing (smaller-scale) video content as well. We offer video/post-production services, but I think anyone marketing anything should look into video content. I use apps right on my phone like Videoshop & Fontspiration. Anyway, thanks for the helpful tips! I’ll be sure to share.

  • Ron Starc

    My Screen Recorder is a better screen recording software. It records your screen and audio from the speakers or your voice from the microphone – or both simultaneously. The recordings are clear and look great when played back on your PC or uploaded to YouTube. It will record directly to standard compressed format that works with any video editor or any tool, no conversion required.