I’ve been blogging on this site nearly two years now and over that time it has been a steep learning curve; my initial posts were a bit all over the place, mostly without pictures or graphics, definitely no definitive brand, my posts weren’t at all professional looking. It’s taken a lot of time, pinterest-hours and learning as I went, but now I’m quite proud of my little corner of the internet. One of the things which I’ve begun to do in recent months to make my posts look more cohesive, to put my brand onto them, as it were, is to ensure I include Blog Title Graphics in each post. I find that not only does it make the post instantly more shareable, it also makes the presentation nicer.
In this post, I’m going to go through the Blog Title Graphic creation process, so that if you’re looking to change up your blog and do the same, hopefully you can gain some pointers. I’m not a professional by any stretch of the imagination, I have no graphic design qualifications or training, I’m just a girl learning as she goes along and hopefully improving day by day.
I use Canva to do the vast majority of my image work for the blog. I find it easy to use, with plenty of features and elements which can make a simple picture turn into a cute graphic, infographic or collage. In recent months, I’ve decided to stick with using their premium service, Canva for Work, as the extra elements really do make it a million times easier to make each graphic I make have my particular stamp on it. It costs less than 13 euro a month, and saves me so much time in making the graphics for my blog as I can save templates and work from a colour scheme that is pre-set the way I like it each time. However, for just starting out, the free version is great, just requires a bit more patience and memory of how exactly you like things!
For my Blog Title Graphics, there are a few elements which come into play.
First, the sizing.This is one of the first things which had me drawn to Canva from the start it takes all the guess work out of optimising your graphics for particular social media formats out by having templates ready to go. While a lot of bloggers use a Pinterest optimised image (735—1102 pixels) as this makes for efficient use of graphics ensuring that each piece is optimised to be pinned, I prefer the look of their template Blog Title (560Ã—315 pixels), often adding a Pinterest optimised image later in the post. I find the Blog Title size works well for sharing on Facebook and Twitter as well (though with Canva for Work’s Magic Resizer this isn’t an issue).
Once the size is picked, then it’s taking a look at the main elements of the image: background, text, additional images.
Most of my images are a combination of stock photos or photos which I have taken myself, and blocks of colour/transparent shapes to highlight text on top. I find the inbuilt Stock Photo search engine in Canva great as a starting point; it provides a lot of options both free and paid (any paid elements are a dollar each). As my blog is currently more of a hobby than a business, I prefer to keep costs down as much as I can, so free stock photos or images which I’ve taken myself for this purpose make up the backgrounds of my pictures. If I’ve nothing appropriate, or can’t find the ideal image in Canva’s bank of free images, I have a few stock photo sites which I find great for finding background images.
I’m a big fan of Pixabay and StockSnap for finding great pics to add into my posts. The pictures I use are released under creative commons public domain, which means that no attribution is needed.
After finding a background image, I pick a layout, and replace the background in it to the picture I’ve chosen.
I find that doing edits to the image itself can change up the look completely and breathe a whole new life into a stock image you may have previously used. Check out the filters available, or if you’re feeling a bit more advanced, click on Advanced Options and have a play with the settings in there. Try a couple of things out to see what works best with the colours you’ve decided on for text.
You may wish to add to the background image with different decorative elements, lines, shapes, drawings etc to put your own stamp on it. This can be particularly handy (in my experience) for adding social media icons to an image (you can find them in the Icons section in red) or, like in this graphic, a transparent box over which I can put text to make it stand out that bit more.
The layout templates come with built in fonts. If you like the look of them, you can leave them in that format or change it to whatever you choose. There are a wide variety of fonts (and if you’ve got Canva for Work you can also upload your own fonts if you wish). It’s a good idea to use more than one, preferably three different fonts within your graphics as to have maximum effect. For my graphics, I like using Sweet Pea or Amatic Small Caps, paired with Satisfy (or in this case, to contrast Sweet Pea, Alegraya Small Caps in bold), always using Shadows Into Light for my blogname which features in every blog title I make as a sort of watermark.
Once you’ve decided on a font, you can further personalise it by changing the colour, the transparency, the text and line spacing. Again, even small effect changes can make a huge difference in how the end product looks.
Those are the main steps covered : background image, other elements, filters, text. Of course there are a million and one other things which you can add, or take away. Hopefully this will serve to you as a guide to creating blog graphics in Canva, and improve the look of your blog. Let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear what tools you use, and what you consider the most important aspect of images in blogs.
If you liked this post and found it useful, you may also like this one on my Essential Blogging Tools, and this one on my Essential iOS Apps for blogging. Give them a look, hopefully they will add to your knowledge repertoire. I know for me this blogging malarkey is a constant learning experience. I learn best from other bloggers so hopefully this will be handy for some of you!