As a blogger, I am constantly designing headers for my blog posts. But I don’t stop there. I designed the header and sidebar graphics for my site, as well as my “about me” page graphics. I really enjoy how creative I get to be on my blog, it’s like digital scrapbooking! I love creating images so much, that I’ve brought this practice into my normal everyday life.
I’ve begun creating invitations and printables for events I’m planning, and for my own home. I recently helped out my Aunt with a promotional project and Facebook page, providing all of the graphic elements for her. I even pieced together a PowerPoint presentation for her! Who would have thought I would have so much fun doing it too!
I am not by any means creatively inclined, but I do have a few steps to share that anyone can follow. Read on to find out How to be Your Own Graphic Designer, in five easy steps!
Purchase a font– There are a ton of amazing free fonts available, with varying usage rights. In order to set yourself apart from other bloggers who might be using those fonts, consider purchasing your own! When I recently updated my site design for SnapGinger, I decided to purchase a new font for $14 from Creative Market. Now, I try to integrate my font into as many headers ad I can, for one cohesive look. This helps to solidify your blog as a brand. You might not be the only one using this font, but less people will certainly use it if you have to pay!
Design your logos, header and sidebar navigation– Any of these things are possible with the help of PicMonkey. I wax poetic about some of my other top editing apps here, but PicMonkey is my favorite. You can sign up for the Royale membership to get access to fonts and graphics that the free membership does not allow. I use this every day, multiple times a day. PicMonkey allows you to save your images as PNG files, with transparent backgrounds. This means that your logo and sidebar can be added to your site and float seamlessly in place. They won’t stand out with a white background! Figure out which sizes work best for your layout and get creating! Want a fully linked sidebar navigation like you see on SnapGinger? Head to Step 3 for a tutorial!
Link Map with my tips– Link mapping an image is easy and fun! I created my custom sidebar nav, as well as other images, all with a little bit of basic html. You know those cool product collages you see on other blogs? Wouldn’t it be great to create your own, and allow your readers to click right through to the product you’re linking from the image? Follow my steps and become a link mapping pro!
Create graphics for posts– My favorite thing to do is to create a header for each post on SnapGinger. I made a collage (in PicMonkey) of some of my favorite headers, above. I try to use my own images as often as possible, and add text and overlays to them. The key is make sure the text is easy to read, and stands out. If you have a few images that outline steps for a post, or multiple product images, make a collage and include them all. Be sure to leave yourself some room for text and use your own font as often as possible to build your brand.
I also subscribe to Unsplash for high quality images sent right to me weekly. I download and save their images to a “stock” folder, and use them when I don’t have my own image, like for today’s post! Here is a great post featuring some more resources for free images. Canva also has some options for free stock images!
My last technique is to use Google images to my advantage. I change the image usage rights to “labeled for reuse with modification” and save different images and clipart for use in my headers. As long as you are making changes to these images (adding your own text, overlaying on your own images or stock photos, etc.) you are in the clear! I will start with a blank canvas, add in clip art, different images and text and come up with great headers, like the “Top 5 Triologies,” “Fall for Brunch,” and “Pantry Staples” headers you see above!
Update your signature and Social Media profiles– After you’ve become a pro at being your own graphic designer on your blog, there are a few more places to update. Don’t forget to create a new signature for all of your posts, with a transparent background! Some of my earlier signatures looked unprofessional because I was using a white background, and they didn’t integrate into the post!
Using size guides found on Pinterest, I was able to update the headers for all of my social media platforms, in the correct sizes. Making your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest headers and logos one cohesive unit will instantly make your blog look more professional and help to build your brand!