Last week while attending an edSocialMedia workshop in Waltham, I enjoyed listening to Gene Begin from Babson College talk about some of the cool things they are doing with Facebook.


That said, I was struck most by something I noticed, something Gene never mentioned.  Catching my attention was the shape of Babson’s profile photo.  It wasn’t square, it was rectangular.  I think I knew this was possible, but had never given it any thought.  It hadn’t previously occurred to me just how powerful it was to pick a shape other than the default.  The profile photo is a powerful piece of real estate, I couldn’t help think … it’s no longer hip to be square (Huey Lewis, right?).


After a little further digging it appears this uptick in profile image creativity might have started when French Artist, Alexandre Oudin, used a portrait to fill in his profile image square, that then extended throughout those once ordinary collection of five image boxes directly to its right.  Since Oudin’s Facebook page began to circulate,more artistic designs have been emerging at an impressive rate. Facebook users are dismissing the once square profile picture and are making statements on their pages using new dimensions, photography, animations, typography and even video.   Why shouldn’t schools find ways to do the same?


Familiar images of aerial photographs and school seals aren’t enough.  They all look the same, and I know most can do better!  Be creative and consider other ratios like 9×16 or the composition of the photo.  Come up with your requirements and get your photography classes involved.  It wouldn’t hurt to have 6 or 7 images all in the same dimensions.  Consider the sky at the top or grass at the bottom.  Perhaps knocking your word mark out of these solid colors is the answer.


The bottom line? If you want to stand out, don’t be square.


image credits to Babson College and Jon Yang

Travis Warren

Travis Warren

Founder and President at Whipplehill