How to produce consistent, quality social media images in half the time

how-to-produce-quality-images-for-social-media-in-half-the-time.png

Do you want to produce consistent, quality social media images in half the time? Here's how to do it. 

Create some guidelines

You’ll never manage to produce consistent, quality images for social media if you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re aiming for. So make yourself some guidelines. Create a visual reference of what you want your images to look like.

Already have brand guidelines?

It might be that you already have some brand guidelines. If so, that’s the perfect place to start. If they already give you clear direction on how you’d create images for social media for your brand, then you can probably stop reading this now and jump to the next section.

Don’t have brand guidelines?

If you’re a solopreneur and haven’t developed visual guidelines for your brand, now is the perfect time to start. Take the time to look at your own website, at your competitors, look at their social media feeds and generally on Pinterest, Twitter. Try to get a sense of how you want your social media images to look. Then start writing some rules to try and follow. It might be “always use font x in colour y” or “always use colour x on top of a photo”. This is easier to do if you’ve already got brand guidelines because you’ll know what fonts and colours to use. If not, make those decisions now.

Create an image library

With those decisions made, now go and find some images that you can work with. If you work for an organisation that’s got an existing image library, that’s the perfect place to start. If you’re working on your own, starting from scratch, then start looking online for suitable images to use. A great resource is Unsplash.com, where you have access to thousands upon thousands of great looking images that you can use for free. If you have the talent to take your own photos to use or the budget to have some taken for you, so much the better. When choosing photos, remember that what you choose will somehow convey the essence of your brand, so choose with care.

Create a text grab file

Are there frequent straplines or slogans that you use time and time again? Put them in a single text file that you can easily find.

Get everything organised

Now you have your brand guidelines, your images and text all ready to use, do yourself a favour and put them all in a folder so you can easily get what you need when you need it.

Create templates to work from

Now’s the time to bring everything you’ve decided together into a template. Create a template that’s the perfect size for whatever platform(s) you’ll use, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or something else. You can find an up to date guide to the sizes you need here.

Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop (as well as other programs) could all be used to create your template – use whichever program you’re most comfortable in. I’d recommend Adobe Illustrator as the perfect tool for creative entrepreneurs, as you can create so many of the things you need (logos, icons, adverts, infographics, lead magnets…) all in one place. You can read more about Illustrator here and try our Illustrator for Creative Entrepreneurs course here. There’s also a downloadable, editable social media sized template in Illustrator format here.

Batch your work

Once you’ve got your template set up, get thinking about the posts you’re going to create. When you’ve got a list, you can create them all at once using your template. That’s the benefit of having worked through all of the steps of this guide. With the extra time you’ve saved, put your feet up and have a cup of tea.

6 reasons why every Creative Entrepreneur should use Illustrator

6-reasons-why-every-creative-entrepreneur-should-use-Illustrator.png

If you’re a creative entrepreneur who wants to dramatically improve your online presence, you should be using Adobe Illustrator. Here’s why.

1. Illustrator is the tool of choice for professionals

The logo of every big name brand you can think of was created in Illustrator. The packaging of most things you’ve ever bought was created in Illustrator. So without me saying any more, you know that it’s the tool of choice to create things that get noticed, and sell. 

2. You’re competing with other professionally designed brands. 

It’s hard to make your brand or product stand out online. So use the best tool you can to help make yours stand out. If you notice that other brands in your niche have better graphics or social media images, it might be because they are using better tools. So even things up by using Illustrator.

3. Vector graphics will make your website stand out

Illustrator creates vector graphics. Unlike photos, these can communicate a brand, a product, or a concept really quickly and directly. 

4. Vector graphics will make your social media posts stand out

Vector graphics work especially well on small screens, so they are perfect for getting your social media posts noticed.

5. You can create stunning lead magnets in Illustrator

You can create beautiful pdf cheat sheets or mini guides for download directly in Illustrator. As it’s the same tool you’ll have used to create your branding, you can keep everything consistent. 

6. In Illustrator you are free to create without limits

In Illustrator you can create your own logo, pattern, Illustration. You can use any font, define any colour. You can incorporate stunning gradients, blends. You can take inspiration from the best designers as you create your own creations. 

…and 3 reasons why maybe you shouldn’t use it

1. You can do everything you need with free software

2. You haven’t got the budget for paid software

3. You don’t want to take the time to learn a new skill

 

Sum up. 

Illustrator isn’t free, but if you want to take your online presence to the next level, it’s a tool you should seriously consider using. You’ll have access to the tool used by professionals to create all the famous logos you know and most of the packaging you see on the products you buy. It’s equally perfect for creating graphics for social media posts, icons for your website and lead magnets. And of course if you have the skill you can create your own branding. If you want to try it out, get a 7 day fully working version here, and check out the first dozen videos of our Illustrator for Creative Entrepreneurs course. 

 

Which design program should I use?

If you've got to create something and you're thinking "which design program should I use?" then consult our infographic. It'll quickly guide you to either InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop, which are the programs most often used by professional designers. It's not 100% foolproof but should guide you in the right direction!

If you'd like a free pdf of this infographic please click here.

 

which design program should I use?

Illustrator-editable Social Media size guide

If you want to quickly make an image for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest, our social media size guide will get you started.

Even better, our social media size guide can be edited with Adobe Illustrator. If you download the pdf version of the size guide, open it with Adobe Illustrator and you'll find it has artboards already set up for every size you might want. This handy resource will save you lots of time and frustration. Download it here, and please share it!

The sizes are correct as of May 2017. They came courtesy of Sprout Social.

Illustrator Editable Social Media size guide 2017