One of the best ways to increase engagement with your audience is to design amazing images to go with every blog or social media post. Today I’ll share a few tips on how to design amazing images for all those posts.
If you are writing a blog and sharing your blog posts on social media, make sure you’ve included an image on every post.
If you’re just creating standalone social media posts, be sure to use images for every one of those posts.
There may be exceptions, like if you’re just tweeting about the score of the sports game. But including images with every post is a good rule of thumb. You can’t go wrong with this approach.
Images grab your audience’s attention, they help create a consistent brand identity, and they help people to remember your message. In fact, studies have shown that people remember about 10% of what they hear after 72 hours have passed. But if they see an image paired with that same information 72 hours later they still remember 65% of the material.
Images are super important, but they need to look good!
How to Design Amazing Images for Your Posts
Below are a few ideas for creating better images for your posts. One thing to keep in mind – you don’t have to be a graphic designer to create attractive, engaging images. You just need to be able to follow a few guidelines and get familiar with a few tools.
My first tip for how to design amazing images for your posts is to make sure your images are relevant to your message. When choosing an image for a post, ask yourself a few questions:
- Does this image relate to this post? If you see this picture paired with the title of this post, will it make sense right away? If your post is a recipe for vegan ice cream, use a photo of vegan ice cream. If you’re sharing about your experience at a restaurant, use a photo of the restaurant, or even better would be a photo of you sitting at a table in the restaurant. Using a picture that’s relevant to your topic will help create a connection for your audience.
- Does this image help tell the story? Sometimes your image’s relevance isn’t clear right away, and that’s okay. For example, I used a picture of apples for a post about building brand awareness. The connection with the apples doesn’t make sense until you read the post and I share a story about how eating organic produce is better for you. The image helps tell that story.
- Don’t confuse. Whatever you do, try not to confuse your readers. If you’re writing a fashion blog about the new Fall boot styles, use a picture of, wait for it, boots! Don’t use a photo of a tropical beach at sunset. It doesn’t help to make those connections and only confuses your readers.
Another way to make sure your images are more effective and more engaging is to be on-brand. Decide on your brand’s image style and use that same style everywhere.
For example, Jenna Kutcher uses soft images of herself and the people she interviews on her Goaldigger podcast. Every image is a little different, but she’s using the same Instagram filter and the same basic color palette and tone to maintain brand consistency. You could adopt a similar strategy by using the same filter for all of your images.
Another great way to stay on-brand is to add your logo as a watermark on all of your images. When you do this you not only help people make the connection to your message but also to you and your brand.
Adding words on top of your images helps people understand right away what your post is about. You could use your post’s title on your image so they won’t have to click anything or read further to figure out what’s going.
Quotes are a great way to add meaning and interest to your images. In fact, an image with a quote can be an entire post on its own. People love sharing these kinds of images. Just be sure to include your brand’s logo or watermark so they know where the image originated.
I’ve also had success using images with snippets from the actual post as a quote. This helps build both credibility and engagement.
Learn a few design principles
My next tip for how to design amazing images for all of your posts is to learn a few simple design principles. Again, you don’t have to be a seasoned graphic designer to create better-looking images. Just apply a few of these principles to every image you create.
- Space. Don’t cram everything together in your images. Leave some space around elements in your images. For example, keep words away from the edges and maintain equal margins all around. Imagine there’s an invisible box drawn inside your image and keep everything inside that box.
- Alignment. Be sure the various elements in your images line up in rows or columns. You could align your post title and logo either left, right or center. You could also align text elements to elements in the image itself. A good example might be a quote aligned next to a person’s face.
- Proximity. Think about where your different elements are in relation to one another. Try grouping things together in ways that make sense. For example, the title, subtitle, and author of the post could all be grouped together because they are all related elements.
- Contrast. I feel like this one gets missed a lot. Can you read the words on top of your image? If not you’ll need to adjust the contrast between your photo and your text. Be sure to use light-colored text on a dark background, and vice-versa. You can’t clearly read words over patterns or textures, so place your text somewhere on your image that’s not too busy.
- Rule of thirds. This is a composition technique which divides your image into thirds creating more pleasing positions for the primary elements of your design. You’ve probably seen this on the camera app on your phone. You’ll see two vertical and two horizontal lines dividing your image up and down into thirds. Place important parts of your image where these lines intersect rather than always in the middle. This makes for a more interesting and more appealing image.
- Balance. Take a look at your image and decide if it looks like everything is balanced. Make sure large objects are placed opposite one another. If the focal point of your image is far right, place your text far left. Balance can be subtle, sometimes you just know it when you see it.
Perhaps my most important tip for how to design amazing images for your posts is to be consistent. Consistency helps create your identity and it builds brand awareness. People are more likely to engage with something that feels familiar to them.
Use the same or similar images across all your social platforms. Some platforms require different image sizes so be sure to create multiple sizes where needed.
Create an image style guide so you can maintain the same look, feel, tone, and color scheme of all your images. Your image style guide can include:
- Subject. Choose the subject you’re using in your images. It could be photos of you, your products, your shop, mountains, beaches, your recipes, etc.
- Tone. This is the “feel” of your photos. Do you prefer bold and bright, washed out, or vintage-looking? Using a filter can help you maintain a consistent tone.
- Fonts. Decide which fonts you want to use and stay consistent across all of your images. Don’t get carried away here, stick with one or two fonts at most.
- Logo. Be sure to include which variation of your logo will you use (stacked, horizontal, square) in your image style guide, and if it will be used as a watermark or not.
- Watermark. You may use something other than your logo as a watermark. It could be an icon or your name.
- Color scheme. You could choose images that have a consistent color palette. For example, your recipe photos might all be on a white-washed farm table with a green plant in the background. Colors would also apply to your logo, watermark, and fonts.
There are some pretty awesome tools out there these days to help you design amazing images for your posts. You don’t have to spend a ton of money
- Adobe Spark Post. Free to use, easy to learn, and tons of great design templates to choose from. One thing I love about Spark Post is that can save your designs as templates to over and over. This is super helpful in maintaining consistency.
- Typorama. I’ve been using Typorama for a while now and I still love it. It’s super simple and you can create great-looking images very quickly. One downside is that there are only so many choices so you tend to see a lot of people using the same styles of fonts and layouts.
- Word Swag. I haven’t used Word Swag very much but I know a lot of people love it. It’s similar to Typorama and may be a good app to use in conjunction to give you a few more design options.
- Canva. Canva was one of the first easy-to-use graphic design apps. It’s fairly easy to get started and has a ton of free options.
- Photoshop or Illustrator. These are the industry’s standard professional graphic design software. The downside is they are expensive and difficult to learn.
- Be relevant by using images that relate to the message being shared. This helps build connections for your audience.
- Stay on-brand by using the same tone, style, filter, and watermark on all of your images.
- Using words on your images helps create engagement and sharability. Use your post title, a quote, or a snippet.
- Apply a few design principles. Space, alignment, proximity, contrast, the rule of thirds, and balance.
- Maintain consistency by creating an image style guide.
- Grab a few design tools to make your life easier and you’ll be creating beautiful images in no time.
What kinds of images are you using for your posts? What design tools have you used that you love? Share a comment here or in our Facebook group.