My top 5 tips on designing social media graphics

It’s a fact that posts which are illustrated have a much higher success and click-through rate than those that aren’t. If you want to create smart and legible social media graphics, just follow my 5 easy guidelines.

1) Use good quality, striking pictures

You’ve probably got some great pictures of your own that you can use, but if you haven’t, free or very reasonably priced pictures are easy to find. I show you how in this blogpost. Make them seasonal if you like, people seem to relate to those. The example I’ve chosen is a still-life of onions and garlic – autumn is a time of harvest in the UK, and I for one want to snuggle by the fire and eat hearty casseroles. I also love the autumnal colours and textures in this photo.

2) Put text on an ‘empty’ area

If you put text on a ‘busy’ area, it’s very difficult to read. This image has 2 very obvious spaces where you can add the main message and a subsidiary piece of copy if you need to (shown by the dotted lines). Don’t go too near to the margin.

3) Use a simple typeface

It can be very tempting to use a decorative typeface, there are so many lovely ones around. However, you will get your message across more forcefully if you use a simple typeface, as you can see in my visual. A paragraph of text set in a decorative typeface can be very difficult to read.

4) Choose the right weight

I love very light and stylish typefaces, but they aren’t suitable for everything. You can see that the heavier weight I have used is a lot more punchy, though not as elegant, as the lighter one. You can get away with using a lighter weight of type if your background is a solid colour

5) Don’t be afraid of colour

You don’t always have to use black or white. The main colours in my photo are browns, blues and greens. I’ve chosen hues that match the image, and made them lighter or darker so that they stand out against the background. Don’t use too many colours though – I’ve used 3 here to demonstrate my point, but the subsidiary copy should all be the same colour.

There are no hard and fast rules about creating graphics, but it’s important that your message can be read. Have fun, but always remember my mantra: ’Simplicity is the essence of good design’.

Annette Peppis is an enthusiastic early member of BookMachine. Annette helps publishers attract more readers by creating a professional look that builds their business and reflects their values, and offers smart and stylish solutions. You can read Annette’s blog about about graphic design here.

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