I am so thrilled to have this guest post on the blog today. Clearly, blogging and great design are two things that I’m incredibly passionate about. Nothing makes me more upset than to visit a blog with amazing content, and low-quality graphics and design. Let’s face it –most bloggers and blog readers are visual people. We’re drawn to aesthetic first, and the actual information second.
Today, my blog and real life friend (not to mention amazing blogger) Jordan will be sharing about how to create eye catching blog graphics, without using Photoshop or other expensive/complicated design software. Enjoy!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your blog.
Hey there! My name is Jordan (it’s probably come up a few times here) and my blog is called Best, Jordan. Initially a play on words, Best, Jordan is literally a letter to all of my readers. In that letter I like to share my thoughts on beauty and fashion with a few life updates sprinkled in the mix.
What programs do you use to create your post graphics?
Because I don’t always have access to Photoshop, I’ve become accustomed to using Canva and Picmonkey. They are free, online resources to both edit existing images as well as create ones from scratch. Both are extremely user-friendly but if you prefer a little more guidance starting out, Canva includes several design templates and features such as guided margins to ensure all of your graphic elements are lined up just right.
Where do you find inspiration for graphics?
I literally only follow blogs, Pinterest boards, Instagram accounts, etc. whose graphic design aesthetic I really love and can pull inspiration from. I’ve gotten to a point where my “design eye” is a little more tailored which makes it easier to design quickly. However, when do hit a road block, I have my go-to mental list of blogs and boards to check out to give me a fresh perspective. For me, designing is much like writing in that way. I pull from what I know and when I run out of that, I go learn some more.
What advice do you have other other bloggers who aren’t designers, but want to create quality graphics for their sites?
Breathe. At first, it can seem intimidating creating original images in a sea of amazing content. Just remember, that blogger whose images you envy so much started off with a blank page just like you. You control what fills it. Second piece of advice: learn your aesthetic. What do you find visually pleasing? Copy similar styles until you develop one of your own; fake it til you make it! I’m still growing everyday. I look at my own posts from just a week ago and think, “Why on Earth did I do that?!” But, cherish those times when you look back at an old post and think, “Wow…that looks really great.” We can often be our own worst critic, so try and make a conscious decision to encourage yourself and your work rather than put it down.
Take us through the process…
The image I’ve included is a fairly recent graphic that I’m proud of. It’s simple compared to other graphics I’ve created, but I think that’s why I like it so much. I also think it’s pretty easy to replicate if you’re looking for a jumping off point – so let’s jump right in!
1. Find a good image that you like and make sure it’s large. You can always make a large image fit a smaller frame, but stretching out a small image to fit a big frame makes the image pixelated, fuzzy, and generally unappealing. The best background images to work with are patterns but feel free to play around with images of objects as well (bloggers love coffee mugs and light bulbs for some reason; I’m guilty myself).
2. For this image, I used Picmonkey which is very user-friendly. Under this application I made the mint and black frame by adding two rectangles (one on top of the other). I knew that I wanted the frame to be in a bright accent color to contrast against all of the neutrals. I simply tinkered with the built-in color adjuster until I settled on a color that I thought suited the image.
3. Typography is a huge element that many people ignore. For consistency, I tend to stick to one serif and one sans-serif font that I use for all of my graphics. I chose to use a serif font for this design. You can make it more visually interesting by playing with making the text bold, all caps, italicized, etc. As long as it’s in the same font family, it will still look uniform. This image is actually done with the same font throughout.
4. Now the random lines, that’s a personal touch I’ve developed. It’s not much, but I like the way it looks and I use it in a lot of my blog graphics. I rarely play with its thickness (they’re all very thin), but I like to play with color. Since I wanted the mint frame to be the color focus, I kept the lines simple and white.
Then I’m done! Not every graphic I make is the same so some take more time and effort than others. Just take your time and be patient with yourself. I rarely say practice makes perfect, but practice definitely makes better. Keep improving upon yourself and in a year (or even less) you’ll be surprised at how far your graphics have come!
About the Author
Hey, I’m Jordan and I actually do like long walks on the beach. I’m a full time college student and beauty blogger. My blog, Best, Jordan, serves as that reaffirming voice that says, “You are gorgeous and this is how to bring it out.”