Happy Monday, Girl Boss!
Last week I published my best-kept blogging secrets, where I briefly touched on the importance of branding your blog images. Since I received so many comments and questions about how I create mine, I thought today we could dive a little deeper into the vast ocean of branding.
Today I’m going to share why branding your blog images matters, what I use to make mine, and how you can create your own branded images.
WHY BRANDING MATTERS:
As a blogger, your brand identity is how you’re perceived by others. Perceptions are molded from everything and include your writing style, colors, fonts, and the images you use.
Blog images are a huge part of establishing your brand, as they’re often one of the first impressions people get about you, whether that’s when they scroll past your pin on Pinterest or when they visit your blog.
Having blog images that are captivating and cohesive will allow your followers and your desired audience to start recognizing what is yours. Which is SO valuable, because that means more traffic to your blog.
PLUS, once you’ve already nailed down your signature blog image, you can create them super fast.
A branded blog is a professional blog, and not only will this attract new followers and more traffic, but sponsorship opportunities and brand deals as well. (Bloggers have bills to pay too, ya’ll.)
I’m a WordPress user, so for the sake of this post, I’m going to be calling my photos “featured images” although I know they’re called different things on other platforms.
Your images should look cohesive and unified, like they’re all a part of the same family.
Here are some examples of my branded images:
HOW TO BRAND YOUR IMAGES:
Before you start, think about your style. When I started blogging last January, my featured images were all over the place. I wasn’t ever really happy with how they looked but I didn’t know how to make them all cohesive.
But when I re-branded, I created a “style guide” which laid out what fonts, colors, and styles I would be using in the new design and brand. Having a style guide and following the next seven tips has helped my blog images stay unified.
1. Keep it simple.
I’m an advertising and PR major, and this is one of the concepts that we keep coming back to when it comes to design. As Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”
Whether you’re working on branding your logo or images, simplicity will keep the focus on what you want to showcase-which is your amazing content, right?
2. Use reoccurring fonts.
I would recommend no more than two to keep it simple. But if you’re feeling super fancy you can kick it up to three. 😉
3. Add something that is undeniably “YOU.”
There’s a lot of competition out there. Add something that makes it your own. My unique sign is the pink KB I place in the lower right hand corner of all my featured images. Yours could be a watermark, how you edit your photo, or the way you place your logo on the image, etc. The possibilities are endless.
4. Make your images Pinable!
This is also something I didn’t take advantage of when I started my blog. We all know that Pinterest is HUGE for traffic, and beautiful blog images are going to be re-pined and visited the most.
Did you guys know that long horizontal images are pinned more than anything else?
Your image should be at least 600 px wide, and can be as long as you desire. But in order to have everything show up on your screen at one time, Pinterest recommends a 2:3 ratio.
This means blog images should be about twice as long as they are wide. Take into account what size image your blog will display.
Mine aren’t quite at those ratios, at 735×1200 px, but it’s close enough and what works best for display on my blog.
5. Quality images are everything.
If you don’t have a high-resolution picture, stock photos are always a good option. This is especially important for your cover or featured images, because that’s what people are going to see before deciding if they want to click on the link to visit your blog. You can read about my favorite place to get free, beautiful stock photos under #3 here.
If you’re using Photoshop, the resolution should ideally be 72 pixels per inch. Basically, the higher the resolution, the clearer the image.
6. Include your URL.
Include this everywhere! You want people to know what blog they’re visiting if they’re not familiar with you. And if they’re just scrolling by on Pinterest or Twitter, it never hurts to have your name out there.
7. Create a template to save you time and sanity.
Save your blogging image somewhere on your computer so you can come back to it for new posts. Now that I have a template, when I need to create a new featured image, all I have to do is change the image and the text. It takes less than five minutes but looks like I spent way more time on it!
HOW I CREATE MY BRANDED IMAGES:
I use Photoshop for everything. Although I would LOVE to own the entire Adobe Suite, I can’t afford that on a college budget. So I buy the Photography Package, which includes Photoshop and LightRoom, and it’s only $10 a month!
I realize that Photoshop can sometimes be too overwhelming or too expensive for beginners, so you can do the same thing in Canva or PicMonkey. You won’t be able to customize as much, but you can still create stunning blog images.
To start, I paste my image onto the shape I just created. (735×1200 px)
For my image, I decided to add a rectangle around the perimeter which brings in the eye to the text but still allows the image to be seen.
Then I filled that in with another rectangle, but changed the opacity to 70% so you can see the image underneath but clearly read the text.
I chose to stick to two fonts in my blog images. I used Frank Ruhl Libre Medium and Bonjour as the accent text. I think having the pop of the pretty Bonjour font shows a bit of personality and helps break up the plain text above and below it.
After adding a line inbetween as extra decoration, I included my URL at the bottom and of course finished the image off with my initials in the lower right hand corner.
Also, lock guides are your best friend! As you can see, I go a bit crazy with them. I’m super picky about everything being centered; blame it on my Type A personality. 😉
Now that you have a branded image, remember that consistency is key. Building a successful brand takes a lot of time and effort, but that’s ultimately how you’re going to see the most results.
Special thanks to Rachelle and Beth for requesting this post! I had a ton of fun writing it and hope you found it helpful!
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What do you use to create your blog images?