How to create a Snapchat filter for your event

Jan 24th, 2019

I’m about as basic as possible when it comes design work – I use a free tool to create below par imagery – but even I (with sufficient time and no blog deadline) could have created a passable Snapchat filter

I have fingers more useful for a past job wielding a spade or shovel than for manipulation of a touch screen, so the following is applicable to the desktop version of the creation rather than the phone based one. However, I did have a quick look and it seems to be the same for the most part.

To create a filter, you’ll need to have access to a design tool of some kind – for those of you who, like me, do not have design skills that would warrant the investment

From the desktop home of Snapchat, the first step is to select ‘Create’ from the top menu.

snap chat desktop menu

From there you will have three options – only two of which will be discussed, as while I have a basic (very basic) grasp of design, I have no idea how to approach the AR option (Lenses). These options are:

snapchat creative tools menu

  • Community Filters – if your event is not business related (ie a community, school or local government project), you can use Community Filters to create a location specific filter free of charge (subject to approval and adherence to Snap’s T&Cs). The creation process is the same for both community and standard filters, but will not allow logos, slogans or any other branded content.
  • Filters – standard filter creation follows the process below, allowing you to create celebratory personal or business filters for important life and corporate moments. These are charged based on the geographic area your filter will be available to.
  • Some tips for creation

    • Any imported graphics must be 100% original
    • There can be no logos or trademarks in community filters
    • Hashtags can only be used in personalised/business filters
    • Filters should (unlike mine) be creative and compelling
    • Filters shouldn’t cover too much of the screen
    • Filters should begin 210 pixels from the top and end 210 pixels from the bottom
    • Files for upload should be PNG and no larger than 300KB


    While you can leap in to creating your own custom filters from scratch, there are customisable templates available in the create space on the platform. While, obviously, the number of possible templates is limited, there are a number of themes useful for community events ranging from seasonal to celebratory. These are further customisable with the option to change the colour palette and add text boxes.

    template themes

    If, however, you want something more tailored to your individual event, community or business, you can look to upload your own – something slightly less plain than the one below I threw together in a few minutes (most of which were spent Googling images of the logos with transparent backgrounds). There are filter guidelines available to download for Photoshop (the PSD is compatible with GIMP for anyone using the free software).

    benchmark filter basic

    Once you’ve designed your filter, you can select the date range for it to run during, whether the event is a one off occurrence or a repeating one (in the case of geo-specific but not time specific options, this isn’t an option), and the time from and to. Unfortunately, you can only book the filter six months in advance, so I selected an arbitrary date range.

    time picker snapchat create

    The next step is to map out the area the filter will be available – this, along with the timeframe – are responsible for calculating the eventual cost of the filter. As the Benchmark Search Conference takes place at the Deansgate Hilton Hotel, I set the gate to the grounds of the hotel.

    snapchat filter area select

    As you can see – for the furthest in the future I can book it, for the Hilton Hotel, the total cost is just shy of a fiver – good value even if you add in a prize for a randomly selected share of the image on Twitter or something similar. While most people won’t look to snap their friends a picture of a corporate event, the save function allows you to encourage wider sharing of the image elsewhere and, hopefully, more exposure of your event.

    Overall, while it will take design abilities beyond my own (not overly tough) to produce something worthy, the filters could represent a good, low investment promotional tool for most branded events and, as it’s free, is definitely worth thinking about for community events.

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