Are you one of the many small business owners and freelancers that want to promote their products or services on social media, and have no choice but to do everything themselves, including creating the images? This is your lucky day.
The truth is, that first impressions matter, you know this very well. We are visual creatures after all!
So, for those of you who need some extra help with design, I have created this beginners’ checklist that will help you produce visually attractive and balanced images for social media or for your blog, even though you think that you are not talented for design.
1. Are you using good quality images?
This is super important. If you want your potential clients to pay attention to your post, images must be visually attractive.
- Are they too dark or too bright?
- Do they have odd colours? (Predominant blue, red or green hues)
- Is it blurry or it pixelated?
Make sure the answer is no to all of them.
2. Is the text on the image for social media readable?
This doesn’t only refer to the size of the text. You should also take into account how the text will blend with the rest of the elements in the image:
If you put text over a busy background and the letters get lost among the rest of the elements, you can create a plain colour box and put the text over it so it will stand out.
Now, is there enough contrast between the colour of the font and the background? Is it comfortable to the eye? Combinations like blue over red or yellow over orange might not be the best, unless you are a pro and you know what you’re doing.
Are the fonts easy to read? Remember, just because you fell in love with a cute handwritten font doesn’t mean that it’s the most appropriate for long paragraphs.
A rule of thumb is — if you squint while reading, try again.
3. Is the text big enough to be easily read on smartphones?
Most of the time, we design on our laptops, so it’s not easy to figure out how our artworks will look like on mobile devices.
No problem, transfer the image you have created to your phone and see if you can read the text comfortably.
4. Are you respecting the brand guidelines?
If you have a brand or work for one, make sure you respect the guidelines: fonts, colours (exact colours), placements, etc.
Uniformity is key when creating artworks. Use always the same fonts and colour palette.
5. Are all the elements property aligned?
Keep your image in harmony by respecting the vertical and horizontal alignments. It’s like having a nicely arranged dinner table.
6. Does the image for social media have the right size and proportions?
Make sure the image won’t be stretched, squeezed or cropped when you upload it to your blog, social media, newsletter or any other place. It will ruin all your work.
So the best thing is to find out the measurements of your “image space” before starting your work.
7. Did you ask your colleagues or friends for feedback?
When we have been working on an artwork for a long time, it’s very normal to lose perspective.
It’s a good exercise to ask the people around you what they think by asking this question:
“If this image popped up on your Facebook timeline, what impression would it give you? Is it balanced or is there anything a bit off?” Their feedback will be very valuable.
BONUS: Get inspired by other social media images (but don’t be a copycat)
See what your favourite brands do, get inspired by good design and apply it to your work. But don’t be a copycat! It will show, trust me, and it won’t look nice on you.
P.S. There is a lot more to graphic design! Typography and colours are very vast topics, but at least, this quick guide will help you start.
Still, if you feel overwhelmed with all this info and prefer to get some help from a pro so that you don’t waste time designing, get in touch and I will help you create the visual material that will impact your customers.