How to Make Your Own Social Media Graphics
I see you out there with all that hard work you’re putting in as a blogger or online business owner. From the social media engagement, the blog post writing, and the whole marketing your tail off thing, you’re probably thinking, “Right, as if there was one more thing I needed to do…” I totally get it.
But hear me out…
We humans are visual creatures. I recently read from a study that we as humans process 90% of information visually which leaves only 10% for everything else (yikes.)
So that means if you’re solely relying on your words to do the talking, it might be beneficial to take the pressure off a lil bit.
Enter: social media graphics.
I’m going to walk you through how to easily create your own social media graphics that help bump up the volume on your visual brand game like crazy.
Whether you’re a tech whiz or not, I’m here to help you think like a designer and harness every bit of that 90% of attention that your visuals could be getting.
First Things First, Pick Your Poison (Aka Design Tool of Choice)
There are many graphic design tools out there, so the best bet is to pick the one that vibes with your style, level of tech mastery, and the one that peaks your interest. (Plus, you can keep tabs on it so you can eventually hand off this task later … uh-huh, might as well start thinking ahead while we’re at it, right?)
Anywho, I’ll give a brief rundown of each tool to help you find your perfect Cinderella glass slipper fit:
This is a free platform that has gained massive amounts of popularity over the years as a free tool for non-designers to produce high-end design work that looks like a designer made it. Canva offers a way to easily create all kinds of graphic designs with just a few clicks, and all of your designs are stored in your account and therefore are accessible from anywhere (even on your phone through the app!)
See? Not so hard. And no design degree required.
The cons: This platform can feel a bit clunky to those who are used to the Photoshop interface. And there’s no “save” button, so it’s just like how Google Drive saves everything automatically. Because of this, I’ve had projects simply stall out and not save before and have had to start over. (*Sad face) Also, the font selection is pretty good, but can still feel somewhat limited. However, you can upload custom fonts in the paid version.
My one true love, Photoshop is the tool I use to create all the graphics for my site. I learned to use the Adobe Suite in college, so it’s no surprise that I’m a little biased toward them. With Photoshop the sky is the limit! The program offers the most versatility to create literally whatever you want.
Photoshop is inexpensive to get started with. You can always start with the Adobe CC Photography plan (which also comes with Lightroom, hello gorgeous photo presets) but if you’d like a few more options, such as if you run a podcast and/or also need video editing software, then the full lineup is by far the best way to go.
The cons: Photoshop has a bit of a learning curve, but if you’re willing to watch a few tutorials and are interested in other Adobe products like InDesign or Illustrator, it’s definitely worth it to learn the tools of the trade because all Adobe interfaces are similar.
Very similar to Canva, Adobe Spark is a graphic creation tool through Adobe. There’s a free version (with limited features), a paid version, or it also comes bundled free with any Creative Cloud plan purchase. Because I have a Creative Cloud plan, I have Adobe Spark included so I’ve been able to test it out. I quickly found that it is a very powerful graphic design tool, and can be used on the go with the app.
Something great about this platform too is that you can input the colors and fonts of your brand and Adobe Spark will automatically populate templates based on your brand look.
The cons: You can currently only input one brand’s settings at a time, so if you manage multiple brands, that can definitely be a poblem. Also, it can be difficult to navigate and I’ve had issues with Spark buffering for long periods of time. Spark’s updates are still new, and because it’s an Adobe product, I expect it to be improved even more in the future.
I use and adore the entire Adobe Creative Cloud plan. Get yours here —>
The next step is to examine your social media outlets that you need graphics for. Where is your audience hanging out? What platforms do you want to focus on? In order to streamline your process, time to create some templates for the sizes needed.
Check out this handy list:
Pinterest: 2:3 ratio, or 980px x1400px
Instagram: 1:1 ratio, or 1200 x 1200
Facebook/Twitter: 3:2 ratio, or 2000px x 1000px
Email banners: 1300px x 360px
Etsy banner: 3360px x 840px
YouTube banner: 2560px x 1440px
Video thumbnails: 16:9 ratio, or 1920px x 1080px
And there you have it! With this, you can create templates on Canva, Photoshop, or Adobe Spark by choosing from the templates provided for the tasks at hand or creating your own custom sized graphics based on any of the sizes above. Keep in mind, some sizes vary, but these are the sizes I recommend.
From there, use those size templates going forward as your starting point for those graphics. These sizings are “set it and forget it” type things, so you can set the sizes once, and then keep on duplicating or copying from your previous graphics to create new ones.
With Canva and Adobe Spark, those duplications take place inside the programs. With Photoshop, keep a file on your computer or cloud service with templates that you can keep creating new files from.
Create Additional Variations, But Stay Consistent
Experiment with different looks and styles, but ultimately settle on one “master design,” that you keep going back to. Always keep an anchor, something that stays the same, such as colors or fonts. This allows your brand to have a recognizable look.
You may opt to change up a few things here and there for some alternate designs, and that’s great! Play around with different designs and see what does best on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, you may be surprised at what you find!
Also, you can use these alternative graphics as a means to repurpose content from the past. Make that old blog post shiny new again by giving it a new graphic. There’s no need for amazing content to get lost in the shuffle.
If you’re feeling bogged down by content creation, it could be that creating new graphics for content that you already have is just the right medicine.
K.I.S.S… Keep It Simple, Silly!
If you think of the term “graphic design,” it can seem daunting, tough, or laborious. But just like an architect (I know, I know, that doesn’t seem any better) there are essential, simple rules to everything. Like clean lines, creating the structure for the weight bearing beams, etc (we’ve all seen Fixer Upper, right?)
But beyond that, my take on graphic design is along the same lines, it’s about keeping it simple, and making way for the essential elements, which is mainly just the text or the messaging. Sometimes the essential messaging is the photo as well, such as if you have photos of food or recipes to share, in which case you’re going to want to make sure the photo shines.
But a few (very simple) design rules are:
Make it eye-catching! Use your brand’s look and feel.
Make sure the text is easily readable.
Use your logo or website name at the bottom, because remember, these graphics will be shared!
To showcase this, I’ve created three design examples below to showcase simple, do-able, clean layouts when it comes to text-central social media graphics. These are 2:3 vertical blog designs, but they can easily be converted into any size or ratio you want.
I call these three designs the overlay, the photo, and the solid. Check these three out in action below!
Craft Each Design From the Same Template
All three of these designs are made from one template with the same text, but the colors and backgrounds shift just slightly. Each of these can be created from just one Photoshop or Canva file, or duplicated from the same Adobe Spark file.
Photoshop: Simply create your different versions by creating and also hiding (by clicking the eyeball icon) different layers to save alternative variations within one Photoshop file. One Photoshop file = three JPGs for your lovely, awesome website. Less clutter on your desktop. (Which is so nice, right?!)
Canva: Create your master social media graphic file, then from there hit the “duplicate” icon on the right to create a copy of the exact same file down below. You can make your changes in text color, background color, overlays, etc to that duplicated file. And now you have alternates! Then you can download the entire collection in one go by hitting “Download” at the top and selecting the entire range of files.
Adobe Spark: Spark is a little different in that you can’t create duplicates in the same project file, but you can still duplicate from files that you’ve created in the past and make copies of them to change the text and background photo, etc.
Both Canva and Adobe Spark come with a built-in library of free-for-commercial-use images that you can pluck for your graphic design needs. (Whew, talk about simple!) Now if you’re using Photoshop, I recommend Unsplash for free high-quality images. However, if you want to elevate your game with more exclusive imagery that others may not have, go for HauteStock, AdobeStock, or Creative Market for some crazy good imagery.
Let Your Brand Pack a Visual Punch
When it comes to finding your favorite graphic design style, give yourself time to experiment and also take note of what you like. What kinds of pins do you pin on Pinterest? What makes you stop scrolling and take notice on Instagram? What are your favorite things to see on Facebook?
Use your own experiences and interests to forge your unique brand identity. And to recap, here’s all you need to do to get started in creating your own graphics:
Pick your design tool of choice
Create templates to work from
Keep your designs simple by highlighting essential elements & keeping brand consistency
Use each template to create additional variations of your graphics
And there you have it! While I know this is easier said (or read) than done, getting into a rhythm of creating social media graphics can be easy as pie, and the payoff of having an easily recognizable brand is totally worth it.
I’d love to hear from you!
Do you have any questions on how to create your own graphics? What design tools do you love to use? Have you learned anything new about your design style since you started?