Did you know you have less than a second to make an impression online? It all comes down to your graphics. Do they command attention, or fade into the unending Pinterest stream?
It’s easier than you might think to stand out. Get started today with these 7 simple tips to improve your graphics.
As a blogger, it’s easy to think that you have to get everything perfect in order to build an audience for your content.
But perfection isn’t your goal! Action is.
And knowing the actions that will get you the greatest results? That’s what we want to spend our time on.
Most of the time, people will see your graphics before they read any of your content. That’s a lot of pressure. We’re going to focus on a few simple tips to improve your graphics so that we can make the most of that first impression.
We’re talking mainly about blog graphics, or images you create to share your posts on Pinterest and social media. These tips apply to much of the design world, though.
Pick a few of these tips to implement today, and add more as you go. It’s ok to move slowly as you build yourself up into an unstoppable design force. Go you.
7 Simple Tips to Improve Your Graphics
1 – Be clear
More than anything else, the success of your graphics will hinge on this. Take a step back (literally) and look at your graphics.
Can you read that fancy font? You may swoon over the swirly letters, but if it is not EXTREMELY EASY to read, lose it. You might think a simple font is boring, but your potential reader won’t. Pair that simple font with a slightly fancier font for a nice contrast that is still easy to read.
Does your title make a clear promise? Each graphic you design makes a promise about the content it links to. Make your promise clear.
Try this: scroll through Pinterest slowly, without pausing, and see how many pins you can read at a glance.
Be clear, be kind.
2 – Use white space
Do you tend to use up every single inch of your design? Do you think that if you have a lot of space left, your design doesn’t “feel” finished?
Actually, the opposite is true. When you leave extra space in your design (called white space), your design looks clean and polished. The last thing you want is for all the fancy extras you threw in to pull attention away from your title.
Try this: Ease up on the clipart, borders, and effects, and try only minimal extras. Perhaps a line to separate sections of your text, or a simple border.
Let your design breathe!
3 – Be consistent
Did you know that the consistency of your content is more important than the frequency? In other words, it’s better to post once a week every week than to post 3 times in one week, then disappear for a month.
Consistency is important for your graphics, too. Use the same fonts, colors, and general design style, and people will begin to remember you. Pair that with a clear and polished look (like we’ve just talked about), and not only will people remember you, but they’ll begin to see you as an expert.
Try this: Moving forward, use the same overall style for each blog graphic you make. Don’t stress about creating new graphics for each of your old posts, but consider doing it for popular old posts.
Consistency is calming.
4 – Make templates
Ok, so you have a graphic that is clear, uses white space, and has a consistent style. Look at you go!
Let’s get extra use out of that graphic by turning it into a template. Just save it under a new name, change the text, and swap out the background photo (if you used one). Make a few tweaks as needed, and you have a new graphic!
Cut down on your design time and keep your graphics consistent.
Try this: Make a graphic for each image size you need (tall for Pinterest, square for Instagram, horizontal for Facebook, etc.). Use your previous graphics as templates for new posts.
Save time, use templates.
5 – Use overlays to make your text stand out
Using photos in your design is a great idea – you can add a beautiful background in a snap. (Get it? Snap? Like snapping a photo? Never mind.)
But photos can also be distracting. Keep the attention on your title by using an overlay.
An overlay is a semi-transparent shape (usually a colored rectangle) that you place over your photo, and under your text. You can see what the photo is about, but it keeps the main focus on your title. Plus, you can change a photo to match your brand colors by changing the color of the overlay.
Try this: Add a colored overlay between your photo and your text and change the opacity to about 85%, or whatever is needed for your image.
Overlays are cool.
6 – Add your blog name to every pin
Hopefully you already do this, but if not, start today! You want people to see your blog name often – so that eventually, they begin to remember it.
One of the easiest ways to get your name out there is to add your blog name (either a logo or text) to every pin you make. And if you’re using templates (see Tip #4), you add it once and it’s on every graphic after that. Consistency! (Tip #3)
Try this: Add your blog URL (like mycoolblog.com) to the bottom of your pin for each blog post.
Get your name out there!
7 – Keep it simple
You don’t need clipart + 5 fonts + swooshes + overlays + arrows pointing to things + text + drop shadows + borders + 3 photos all in the same design.
You’ll make people dizzy.
Remember the goal of your graphic: you want someone to be interested enough to read your blog post.
A clear graphic with an interesting title accomplishes that. No complicated design effects necessary.
Try this: Follow this tutorial to make your first blog graphic. Publish it with your next blog post. Repeat.
You don’t have to be a design expert to make compelling graphics for your blog. Stick to these simple tips to improve your graphics. Try out a few at a time, and soon you’ll have a whole collection of graphic awesomeness. Watch out, world!
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