Let’s Get Visual
Episode #3 of the course How to create a profitable blog by Jessica Festa
Branding is an important topic, so on Day 3, we’re expanding on yesterday to create your blog’s visuals in eight simple steps.
Step 1: Create a Mood Board on Pinterest
Pinterest is a social network where users curate and share visually appealing ideas and insights.
This will help you get inspiration for:
• Font pairings
• Color schemes
• Photos (filters, lighting)
• Images/graphics that evoke a feeling or mood
Remember though, it’s about getting inspired, not copying.
Step 2: Choose Your Tone
Will you be playful? Serious? Snarky? Sweet? Funny?
Are there words or phrases you can use consistently that fit with this tone and reinforce your brand?
For example, Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society does an amazing job of keeping a stylish, sweet, and sophisticated tone throughout her blog, consistently using phrases like “gem,” “darling,” “dapper,” and “betty.”
Step 3: Choose Your Colors
Consider again the tone you’re going for on your blog. It’s worth reading up on color theory to ensure you’re giving off the right message. For instance, if you’re writing about meditation, using blue would invoke feelings of peace and wisdom. It’s recommended to choose two main colors and one to three accent colors.
Step 4: Choose Your Fonts
Canva, an authority on graphic design, wrote an amazing guide to font pairing that I highly recommend you read. The guide even talks about what niches different font pairings work well for. Canva is free to use, so you can go in and play around with the fonts too.
It’s recommended to have two to three fonts:
• 1 for headings
• 1 for subheadings
• 1 for text
Some of these can overlap too. For example, you might use the same font for headings and subheadings, or you might italicize a font to change it up.
Step 5: Consider Image Styles
Think about what mood or emotion you’re trying to evoke in your readers. Take a look at the following blogs and note how their images all have the same aesthetic:
• Pastels & Passports. A lifestyle blog focused on finding beautiful details in San Francisco and beyond, with bright and uplifting pastels.
• Expert Vagabond. An adventure travel blog with rugged, almost HDR-quality photos.
• The Culture-Ist. A socially conscious living blog with lots of chic whitespace and a soft, editorial feel.
A few tools that can be helpful:
• Canva: Better yet, create a filter in Canva (for free) and apply it to all your photos. Here’s how to create your own Canva filter.
• Lightroom ($9.99 per month). You can create or buy a pre-set to use on all your photos. There are also tons of free presets you can find online to use in Lightroom.
Step 6: Choose Repeating Visual Cues
Graphics, icons, and shapes can be used to reinforce your brand. Just look at Alex in Wanderland’s homepage. Note the repetition of the flag-shaped icon in headings, yellow lines, the speckled zig-zags separating blog posts, and the use of small icons to make categories clearer.
Step 7: Consider Social Media Graphics
Keeping your image styles and repeating visual cues in mind, you can create a template for social media graphics. Again, Canva is an amazing tool for this. In fact, they feature pre-populated templates where you can swap in your own images, fonts, and colors but keep their designs.
Step 8: Create a Logo
You can hire someone or make a logo yourself very easily in Canva. Make sure your logo incorporates your colors, fonts, blog name, and tagline and that when you look at the final product, you’re left with the desired impression you’re setting out to invoke.
Your Turn: Go through these steps yourself. Once the visuals are live on your blog, survey some friends to see what words they’d associate with your blog and what mood it evokes in them. Are their answers in line with what you’re going for?
Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley
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