Get Some Facebook Cover Photo Inspiration

Ever since Facebook launched cover photos for profiles and pages in 2011, creative users have been pushing the boundaries of what can be done with the space. But for a field built atop creativity, most orchestra cover photos aren’t terribly creative. That doesn’t mean they aren’t any good; quite the contrary, most use overwhelmingly gorgeous glory shots of the full ensemble or rotate images to feature guest artists etc.

I did a quick tour of Facebook pages from orchestras that have a reputation in the field for turning out a steady stream of creative graphic designs but only turned up one that came across as creative. The LA Phil Facebook cover photo design uses a common, but clever, method of combining the cover and profile pictures to play a visual head game with the page visitor.

LA Phil

For those unaware, the profile and cover photo are mutually exclusive items and the typical formula for most orchestras is to post a glory shot of the full ensemble in the cover photo and either a headshot of the music director or orchestra logo in the profile photo. Getting both to project a single, seamless image isn’t always easy, especially when you consider that whatever used for the profile photo needs to stand on its own since it appears as the default avatar for wall posts etc.

The LA Phil managed to combine both in a way that makes the profile photo act as a cutout for the cover photo by exposing a bit more of the concert hall. It’s very straightforward yet effective.

Granted, my own Facebook cover photos aren’t going to win any awards for creativity but in the process of redesigning Venture’s website, the design team is certainly taking the Facebook cover photo into consideration. To that end, we did some research and uncovered some really striking examples and wanted to share them with everyone.

Who doesn’t like a little mystery?
Using his own Wikipedia page is a super creative idea.
Another excellent example of combining the profile and cover photos to create something the stands on its own and creates more than the sum of its parts.

The Curnow Effect

If you’re just not drawn into the whole profile/timeline combo pic thing, you’ll need to double down on the timeline photo creativity aspect. A great example is the series of cover photos from Jeff Curnow who just happens to also be the Associate Principal Trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He also maintains a somewhat regularly updated What’s Bothering Jeff? feature at Inside The Arts.

I'm fairly certain he would have been holding vodka if Stalin was in the middle.
I’m fairly certain he would have been holding vodka if Stalin was in the middle.

Curnow does an uncanny job at reimagining history, my favorite is the trio of shots with him and Mahler.

Fun fact: Mahler found the bat symbol very comforting.
Fun fact: Mahler found the bat symbol very comforting.
So much creativity; it inspires both creativity and envy.
So much creativity; it’s so good you just have to hate him a little for it.

You Only Need To Look Like a Genius!

If you’re short on time, ideas, etc. but do possess some basic Photoshop skills you can always pay a few bucks and license creativity. In fact, sites like have dozens of ready-made Facebook timeline cover templates for you to use that only cost a few bucks each. Some are clearly better than others but even if you don’t find anything there you like, you’re almost assured to get inspired for an original design.

Ante Up

Since my review of orchestra Facebook cover photos was more of a mad dash than a leisurely stroll, I’m curious to know what was missed. Do you know of any orchestra or other performing arts org cover photos that project a unique, creative image? If so share it via a comment.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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