Streaming 101: Live Streaming Graphics
Live Streaming Graphic Designs:
The graphic designs for streaming that you choose should be dependent on the following three factors:
1. Which game you’re playing
If you’re playing World of Warcraft for example, you probably only want to cover your chat box, but you could also choose to use a more elaborate streaming overlay that creates areas for your streaming alerts, such as when you have new subscribers or donations. Note: you won’t see the graphics in-game of course, but they will be seen by someone watching your stream.
2. How much of your user interface you wish to show/hide:
Some people prefer to hide their user action bar, but this is usually down to personal preference. Again, determining how much of your UI you wish to show or hide, will determine how much of it you want to cover up with graphics etc. Some folks can be a little sensitive about *giving away* all their weak auras etc
3. Sponsor requirements
Top streamers who are sponsored and have agreements in place with sponsors, will usually feature some kind of rotating banner, displaying their affiliation to the sponsor. It’s important that this doesn’t detract from the gaming action however, or it will affect the viewers enjoyment of the stream. This graphic should just be a visual queue for the viewer, and usually a top streamer will give more detail about the sponsor in their bio information area.
Offline Graphic Designs you need for Streaming:
If you’re streaming via Twitch.tv, you will also need:
1. A Twitch Profile Picture
This is viewable both on and offline and should be an easily recognisable icon, logo or photograph that your viewers will see in their list of ‘followed’ channels.
Recommended size for Twitch is: Square, and less than 3mb
2. A Twitch Profile Banner
The twitch profile banner is more exciting than the profile picture, in that it gives you a bit more space to be creative and show your potential viewers more about what your stream is about. A creative streamer may wish to showcase their work, a professional gamer will showcase their brand, along with sponsor details, and a casual streamer will probably feature some images from their favourite games, or if they’re smart about branding themselves from the start, a well designed logo.
Recomended size for Twitch is: 1865 x 480px
3. A Twitch Offline Image
The Twitch Offline Image is what viewers will see when your stream is offline, it should be an attractive image, that encourages your followers to return when your stream goes live.
You may choose to show your regular schedule here, or showcase alternative methods of keeping in touch with your stream by showcasing your social media links, along with some awesome images from the games that you play.
Recommended size for Twitch is: 1920 x 1080px
Professional Graphics for Streaming:
When you have garnered a significant number of followers, it’s a good idea to really give your channel a professional edge, by adding the following graphic designs to your channel:
1. A Twitch Intro Video and Overlay (Starting Soon)
An intro video will show your viewers (as they gather), who you are, what your channel is about, and the fact that you will be starting soon. This could range from being a simple abstract video loop, with a transparent .png overlay with your social channels displayed, with the words ‘Stream Starting Soon’ – to a more professionally edited highlights reel video that you play for 5-10 minutes before you begin your livestream. This is a good place to feature any obvious sponsor details.
2. A Twitch Intermission Video/Overlay (Be Right Back)
This could again range from simple, attractive graphic, which indicates to your viewers that although you are currently not at your desk (loo break, food break, phone call etc), you will be back soon. It’s very helpful for foll0wers who only tune in half way through a stream, to know that you will be back soon.
3. A Twitch Outro Video/Overlay (Thanks for Watching, See you Soon)
A great way to end your stream, is by summarising your best donations, and biggest subs of the night, and then instead of an awkward ‘OK BYE’ type ending, you roll your credits video, which again, can feature some highlights of your gaming career, any sponsor mentions, and generally direct people to follow your twitch channel, subscribe to your YouTube Channel, follow you on Twitter etc.
4. Twitch Bio Banners
Most successful streamers have a variety of headings illustrated by banners (or buttons) that show their social media info, donation information, subscriber info etc. It’s a good idea to get a professional looking set of these as well.
So where might you find someone with the design skill to make such things?
Any graphic designer with experience of designing for digital media should be able to help you out.
It just so happens that Graphic Design is my ‘day-job’ and if you’re in the market for designs for streaming, please contact me either here, or take a look at my portfolio over at my designy site Artenesse.com
There are many graphic designers out there, each with a unique style and skill set, and you should look for one whose work resonates with you when you are in the market for graphics.
Please do NOT expect, or even ask them to work for free, or worse, that old nugget ‘exposure‘. They can’t pay their bills with ‘exposure’ and you’re being a butthead.
Always ask what their rates are, explain what you need and then ask for a quotation. If the quote doesn’t meet with your expectation, be polite and ask for options (fewer items needed etc), or ask if you can start with something small, and purchase different pieces over time.
An artist or designer that is being paid to use their skill set to create something for you, will result in the end product being professional and you won’t feel the need to update your branding every few months.
Good luck with your streaming, and please get in touch if you are in the market for some design work.