Thursday, April 6th, 2023

How to create social media images with Affinity Publisher

Screenshot of Affinity Publisher showing two, different designs of the same image side-by-side

During the spring I shared a quintet of posts on LinkedIn reflecting on different aspects of business. Each had an image that teased the post's theme based around a common style.

These posts were made for a couple of reasons. On the one hand I wanted to test a style of post to see if it increased engagement (spoiler: yes, but it was marginal). On the other, I tested using Affinity Publisher as a rapid production tool for social media graphics.

The master templates

After deciding on the look and feel of the images, I created a set of nine "master pages" in Affinity Publisher. The masters are designed 

  • to be correctly sized for LinkedIn so the image is not cropped in the feed
  • with two text styles that are clear on a small mobile phone screen
  • using a standard copyright notice, url and QR code

Individual masters then have a unique placement for text and a masked image. I'd already decided on a base style for the images, which I've written about before. These elements have names, an important step when deciding on which master to use.

Creating an image

To create an image, I add a new page in the Affinity Publisher file and assign a master. The text is changed, and image edited and added.

Because I named my elements, experimenting with different designs is simple. I change the assigned master, which updates the design. Elements are correctly placed and masked, and I get an instant view of how this specific image could look.

Screenshot of Affinity Publisher showing two, different designs of the same image side-by-side
Testing an image with two different designs. In this example different styles for the black and white image are tested, with the one on the left selected.

Once I've settled on the design I want to use, I "tweak" it to suit the text and image I'm using.

The images posted to LinkedIn

Benefits of this approach

I've seen three benefits from adopting this approach.

  • images have a consistent look and feel that's far easier to create and maintain than working with individual files in Affinity Designer
  • updating a font or the footer changes all images that use that element, which makes rebranding easier
  • the time taken to create a new image is less than fifteen minutes (including photo editing), making it far easier to add images to a wider range of posts.

Bottom line

Images do have a positive impact on engagement with social media posts. My experiment with using Affinity Publisher has exposed a way to design on-brand images in a few minutes that can accompany posts reacting to events without being lost in a sea of similar memes.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.