Use the Pantone® Colour of the Year 2021

The Pantone® Colour of the Year for 2021 is a combination of two colours: PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating (Yellow). Do you find them “warming and optimistic”? I hope you do – we need all the warmth and optimism we can get in 2021. Consider these colours for your next promotional gift – imagine the tissue box shown in this year’s colours plus your brand. Photo courtesy of Capira. Suggested links to gifts:
#design #brand #promotional goods

Get ready for the Return to Work

If you need Social Distancing signs for your business, retail or warehouse premises, please contact Barry at Adamson Design. Here’s what I can supply:

  • “Keep 2m Apart” Floor Stickers
  • Sneeze Guards
  • Health advice Posters
  • Individual Desk Dividers for Social Distancing in offices
  • Social Distancing signage on posters or roll-up banners to advise your customers.

The Social Distancing signs can be printed with your Branding or they can have a Generic design. Give me a call on 07814 099738 or email me at

Payment in GBP by BACS transfer or Paypal. Delivery within the mainland UK.

Banner and Image Sizes for Social Media, April 2020

I’m hoping you are all safe and well. Looking beyond lockdown, I’m sure many businesses will increase their use of social media as advertising, so here’s a list of the dimensions of Banners and Images for some social media. All files use the RGB colour mode (sRGB preferred by Facebook) and a minimum resolution of 72dpi, send JPEG or PNG files. The image above is one of the post images I’ve designed for Sculptur Hair Design’s advertising on Instagram, using the landscape size.


Profile picture (mugshot) size is 400 x 400 pixels and company logo size is 300 x 300 pixels.

Your personal Background or Cover Image (Banner) size is 1584 x 396 pixels. When creating your banner, avoid anything vital (particularly text) being covered by your circular profile picture at the bottom left – and also when the circle moves to the centre position when viewed on mobile.


Profile picture: Minimum of 110 x 110 pixels.

Images for Posts: Create your artwork for the maximum dimensions, as Instagram often reduces the quality of the image during the posting process. Square Post 1080 x 1080 pixels, but upload using the maximum 2048 x 2048 pixel size. Landscape Post 1080 x 566 pixels, though smaller sizes like 600 x 400 pixels are used. Portrait Post 1080 x 1350 pixels, these will appear onsite as a 600 x 749 pixel image.


FB profile photo (mugshot) appears on your desktop page as a square at 170 x 170 pixels, your upload size should be a square pic at 400 x 400 pixels. The profile pic is often cropped into a circle, so keep your “mug” central and also consider how strong your pic will be when it is shown smaller on smartphones (128 x 128) and tiny (36 x 36) on feature phones.

Cover photo (banner) will appear at 820 x 312 pixels on desktop computer but only 640 wide x 360 on mobile, so make allowance for both sides of your desktop image being cropped, keeping the vital pic and info central. A good artwork size to work to would be 820 x 360 pixels and expect that to be cropped top and bottom on desktop. Minimum size accepted is 400 pixels wide x 150 pixels.

Personal Facebook page only – on this, the circular mugshot overlaps the cover banner, which, like LinkedIn, is at the low left on desktop view and central on mobi view.

Facebook posts – a widescreen post photo is 1920 x 1080 pixels, while a portrait format pic is 1080 x 1920. I suggest you post tall, portrait-format pics as often as possible, which dominate the news feed, leading to greater visibility.

FB Video posts – traditionally 1920 x 1080 pixels widescreen, but use square 1920 x 1920 for more impact; you can even use tall 1080 x 1920 video but it will be cropped top and bottom.

FB Ads – previously limited to only 1200 x 628 px, the new more impactful square ads are 1200 x 1200 pixels. NB Text appearing ON the image should be limited to 20% of the image or may be penalised, this refers to text within the picture, not the accompanying body text.

FB Group image – 1640 x 859 pixels, getting cropped slightly both top and bottom.

FB Event image – 1920 x 1080 pixels, mobile varies slightly.


Profile picture size is 400 x 400 pixels like LinkedIn. Twitter Header picture is 1500 x 500 pixels.

Promotional Goods supplied to HYG

My client Fair Deal ordered promotional goods branded with the logo of their Help Yourself Grow project. The project trains young people with learning difficulties to develop skills in Gardening and Cookery. The promotional goods selected were a tote-bag with green piping and handles, ballpen in matching colours, notebook with silver cover and a lime green trolley-coin keyring. All items were strongly branded with their logo and contact details, as you can see from the close-up photo. In 2019, Fair Deal came back to me for a new supply of branded promotional goods. Please get in touch with me if your social enterprise needs promotional goods or help with branding and advertising for an event.

Poster Design – recent work

Graphic Design for theatre

For my client Alex of Off World Productions, I selected a colourful and dramatic photo as the main element in this A3 Poster for his play on the Edinburgh Fringe, then built the typography around it. To keep the graphic design consistent and to aid recognition, the A5 Flyer and Business Card follow the poster closely for style. Contact me if you’d like a bold Poster for your product or service – or for your comedy show or dramatic production!

Recent work – Promotional Goods

Some of my recent work has involved design and print of Promotional Goods branded with my clients’ details. Have a think if colourful pens, notepads, badges or trolley-coin keyrings branded with your logo would attract customers to your product or services. The Office Furniture Centre selected quality 5-metre tape measures which were ideal gifts for potential customers measuring up for new or used furniture. There are a wide range of gifts available and I always fill the print area to give a strong branding and message.

Tips on Exhibition Stands (2)

Here’s some further points re Exhibition Stands – these are more general advice and less about design.

Getting your exhibition stand – with your exhibition stand, order the type of wheeled transit case that has a wraparound graphic and a wooden counter-top (shown in the stand at left), they give you more options for your display. On top of the transit case, a laptop running a video or powerpoint will help to draw delegates to your stand.

Curved wall exhibition stands are generally about 2.2 metres high, so if your staff aren’t all six-footers, it’s a bit of a stretch to reach those top connectors. Instead, take the kitchen steps with you for the build-up, this’ll result in fewer crumpled panels.

New option:
Consider purchasing one of the new Fabric Stands which have full-colour print both sides around a tubular aluminium frame. The frame pieces have numbers on them to simplify assembly. You may need two people to drag the fabric onto the frame without the possibility of dirtying it on the floor of the exhibition hall.

The big piece of great advice:
About 4 weeks before you exhibit, take the old stand out of the cupboard and put it up in your boardroom to check that it is 1) all there, 2) not damaged. If it isn’t usable, you have 4 weeks to repair it or order a new stand. Remember, most stands are damaged when they’re dismantled in a hurry at the end of an exhibition.

Best of luck with your next exhibition, by all means call me for advice.

Tips on exhibition stand design (1)

Take a 3-by-3 “curved wall” exhibition stand – from a design point-of-view, don’t look at it as a huge canvas to be covered with lots of images and offers. It will be more powerful with a single message, for example, a single colour or a great photo over the whole wall, with a bold headline, some bulletpoints and your contact info along the top or near the foot. Cluttering it with secondary sales images and offers will only detract from its visual effect – and the offers will go out-of-date quickly, rendering it obsolete. Only add secondary images and text if they are vital to your main message.

Remember that your sales team will be standing in front of it, so not all pictures and text will always be visible.

The rounded end caps are a good place to list your services, prospects will see them as they approach your stand from the side, as shown at the extreme left of this picture.

The exhibition designer’s rule is “no small text below the knee, no-one’s going to read it there”. Only contact information should appear below knee-height, often accompanied by your logo.

The photo shows me during a pre-delivery check on the Russell & Russell 4-by-3 stand. You’ll see the contact information appearing “below the knee” is in a very large font size – you have to “Think Big” when designing exhibition stands.

What is brand identity and what is logo design?

In my opinion, it’s easy to picture Brand Identity as the big brother of Logo Design. Even better, imagine Brand Identity as the big family supporting Logo Design – while he’s the dashing go-ahead youngster that gets the family noticed!

Logo Design

Logo Design is the eye-catching image, icon or symbol that your business is recognised by. It’s the NUMBER ONE recognition factor for your business. And it’s the KEY to increasing mental recall of your business (that’s recall in the brain’s memory, not a Schwarznegger action movie).

Brand Identity

This is the bigger picture supporting and enlarging on your Logo Design. A brand identity manual used to be seen as the way to tie together your brand and how to apply it properly in full-colour, how it should appear on stationery, brochures, banners, building signage, even on the company Gulfstream jet. This is because it was, and still is, vital that you control the use of your logo – so top-class artwork must be available or your logo will inevitably become ‘watered-down’ by inaccurate and unauthorised redraws.

But Brand Identity/Branding has become an ever bigger picture than those brand identity manuals foresaw: nowadays, Brand Identity includes your video ident before TV shows, your radio tagline and the actor who voices it, and your advertising character (think Meerkats). Also the ‘tone of voice’ used in your company email and blogs, and the power-suits worn by your top executives – everything that speaks of your company can be seen as part of your Brand Identity.

(NB: I wrote this before Arnold Schwarznegger ever appeared in the TV ads with the Meerkats – so either I’m telepathic or it’s just a lucky coincidence!)

The core of graphic design

Hi, I’m Barry Adamson, owner/designer of Adamson Design. I have been a full-time graphic designer ever since I left Edinburgh College of Art in the 1970s and went straight into book-publishing.

In the first half of my career I, like all the other designers at that time, used traditional artists materials to create our visuals and artwork – that means we drew things by hand on drawing-boards as there were no computers, no internet, no e-mail and no Photoshop – it was very creative and great fun working in a big studio.

During the second half on my career, I have used Apple computers and Adobe programs to create graphic design. Computers have brought great advantages, particularly regarding typesetting, artwork storage and file transfer. But they don’t come up with ideas for brand identity or ad campaigns – I do that, using the same sort of creative thinking that I used when my main equipment was a pencil. The core of graphic design is not drawing ability but thinking up a fresh idea that presents my client’s product/service in a favourable and eye-catching way. And that’s still what I love doing.