Tools and Tips for Graphic Design – To Get Your Blogging Done!

While I will be honest – graphic design is my weak point when blogging and creating content – but it is SO IMPORTANT. That image you put with your text is what people notice first – so learning some quick photo editing tools will go a long way.

Here are some tools that I use and then I’ll talk about the workflow.

##Finding Good Stock Images
Now, you need images!

The best are the ones you take yourself (for the realness and relevancy) but you may not have the time or the ability to take a photo of something you are blogging about.

So here are some photo sources I go to for images: – free – this is what a lot of our blogging team uses for getting images to use on blog posts and other web pages when there is no budget. They are also totally fine with you downloading them and using them on your blog!

DepositPhotos – this one I got some amazing deals for packages on downloads from here. It is a paid service, you can pay per image or monthly or get some package deals. But it is a reliable service and by purchasing the images you have the rights to use them (important!)

##Photo / Image Editing Tools

Canva – basically everyone on the internet talks about them – because it is all web baed and almost completely free (unless you want to buy some special graphics). The other nice part is you can pick templates for certain social media graphics (like Facebook / Youtube thumbnails / Instagram etc) and then change they text and images – super easy and fast.

LiveQuartz Lite – this is a random one I don’t hear people talk about a lot. I did a ton of research a few years ago (as I didn’t want to have to learn and install Photoshop on my tiny little Mac Air) and found this software. Like the name says, it is LITE. I basically import a photo / image – and it does just a few core functions that I really need to get done:

1. Resize the image / crop the image – I can chop easily, and then resize as I see fit. Seems obvious but a lot of other software I was testing made this too difficult.

2. Export in different file formats (mostly jpg and png) – sometimes you need transparent background (png) and this software keeps that format. Others I was trying always forced it to be jpg (not transparent background) and other struggles.

3. Control resolution and file size on export – After I have resized and chopped the image – I can then choose how big I want the file to be – not in width and dimension – but in how many megabytes. A lot of people on my team who don’t know much about internet marketing upload massively big files onto blogs and it makes the pages load so slow. You want to have a good balance of good resolution as well as small file size (for loading on the web browser).

Snag It – I talk about this in the vlog gear page as I also use it for quick video recording screencasts – but this is really what I use a lot of time for the blog here. Just screen capture an image I want – write some big bold text on the image with the SnagIt software, and export. Done. The cool part is the file sizes of the export images are nice and compact so I don’t need to do any more software or changes once I screenshot, add text, and export. Just upload to WordPress media and done.

Those are really all my tools for graphic design!

New tools – Infographics, presentations, and chats!