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How to create an effective featured image for your project
How to create an effective featured image for your project

Tips and best practices for creating the best featured image for your portfolio projects.

Matt Bailey avatar
Written by Matt Bailey
Updated over a week ago

When viewers browse your profile page or explore the Maven Showcase, featured images are often the first thing that catches their eye.

In this article, we'll share formatting tips and design best practices to help you create the most effective featured images possible.

General guidelines:

  1. Keep it simple: The featured image should be a high-level visual representation of your project. Instead of trying to pack everything into this image or show all of the possible details, try to provide an eye-catching preview of your project that will encourage viewers to dig in.

  2. Use proper formatting: The featured image is automatically cropped to a 16:9 aspect ratio and displayed as a thumbnail on your project pages (although it will render in its full, original aspect ratio when clicked). For the best quality and format, the recommended image size is 1920px by 1080px.

Tips & best practices:

  • For reports or dashboards, use a 16:9 screenshot of the executive summary or overview page

  • For coding exercises or non-visual analyses, use a stock photo or image that captures the general theme (you can include screenshots of your code or data models as additional, supporting images)

  • Focus on aspects of your analysis or visualization that are particularly unique or eye-catching

  • Avoid extra blank space around the edges of your image (try resizing the image to fill a 1920 x 1080px canvas)

  • Avoid featured images containing a lot of text or data points when possible

  • PRO TIP: Use image mock-ups or device screenshots to show how your data visualization would look on screen

  • PRO TIP: If you'd like to show interactivity in your featured image, take a screen recording and format it as a GIF using this converter.

    • For Windows: Click WIN+G to pull up the Xbox controls which allow you to take a screen recording. You can then input this .mp4 file to the GIF converter above to upload into your portfolio project.

    • For MAC: Open Quicktime, and click File > New Screen recording to start recording your screen. You can then input the .mov file to the GIF converter above to upload it into your portfolio project.


Here are a few examples of featured images for reference:

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