How to Create Pinterest-Worthy Promo Images

Creating Pinterest-worthy promo images for your blog posts or business is one of those creative tasks that can sound daunting, but once you have the right resources in hand becomes a cinch -- and so worth the work.

Step One: Invest in Adobe Creative Cloud

I know the recurring cost can be daunting, but having Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator available for your blog graphics is so important. While Canva and other tools can get you basic graphics, the Adobe toolset is going to give you more flexibility. What’s more, Photoshop and Illustrator are both must-haves for the next step.

Step Two: Buy Pre-made Social Templates

Don't recreate the wheel! There are so many fantastic pre-made social templates available out there at very affordable prices. Not only will you score Pinterest templates, but most will come with options for Instagram, Facebook and more! Some of my favorite templates include the following (click on an image to be redirected to each resources).

Step Three: Customize to Your Brand

Before you get worried about your promo images looking the same as everyone else, know that these templates are just starting points. Ideally, you’ll customize these files into a brand-specific set of templates specifically for you. Change out the fonts, color and background images to get a look that is specific to your products and sites.

Lastly, be flexible and experiment. Keep track of which images/pins are sending you traffic and getting frequently repinned and don't hesitate to use those promo templates more often!

Three Simple Ways to Refresh Your Brand

It happens to every blogger and business owner -- you wake up one day and you just don’t love your brand anymore. When you’ve spent a lot of money and/or time working on it, the thought of rebranding can be a bit of a mental mountain to climb. Before you jump down the rabbit hole of rebranding, ask yourself is refreshing your brand instead is an option.

What is a brand refresh?

By my definition, refreshing your brand means updating a few key pieces instead of undertaking a major brand overhaul. Most of the time, a brand refresh means not altering your logo and instead focusing on the supporting elements of your brand. Supporting elements can include your color palette, primary and secondary fonts, submark, patterns, textures, and photo/art direction style.

In my mind, the biggest bang for your buck comes with focusing on the most visually impactful elements: colors, fonts and pattern. In the sections below I provide guidance for this, but remember: your entire brand package needs to work together, so it’s important to rework your brand board to make sure your new elements gel together.

Refreshing fonts and colors

When it comes to your online brand, making changes to fonts and colors is one of the fastest ways to refresh your brand. Why? It’s typically a matter of simply updating your CSS or SquareSpace styles to make it happen. The hard part of course is making the actual selections. Ask yourself if your fonts still speak to your brand. Perhaps your site feels too traditional -- you may want to change out those serif fonts for more modern sans serif look. In my experience, if you have a primary and secondary font, it’s best to change them both out for a totally fresh look. 

It’s no surprise that color changes can make a big impact, too. Subtle color tweaks may go unnoticed, but a color overhaul can total revitalize a brand that was a feeling stale.

Refresh patterns

While most brand boards include patterns, not all do. So, you can think about adding pattern if you don’t already have them. A fantastic place to look for patterns is Creative Market. There is a seemingly endless selection of patterns available that will give your brand a custom and unique look without the price tag.

My before and after brand boards are a perfect example of how important pattern changes can be. My patterns before were subtle and refined. Now, they are bold and creative. It has completely changed the initial impact that my brand makes on a visitor.

Summary

Creatives and bloggers can often feel the need to go back to the drawing board and start fresh with a new brand, when in reality simply refreshing your brand can extend the life of a really strong and established brand. Explore your options and enjoy the process!

How I refreshed my brand

For the past few months I’ve been tinkering with my brand -- even going as far as to mock up a few new logos. I’m re-launching this here blog and wanted a fresh look to go with it. About a week ago, however, it dawned on me that I like my logo and some of the basics of my brand. What I didn’t love was the “quiet” feel it had. I needed something bolder with a real pop to it. This realization allowed me to set about refreshing my brand instead of overhauling it...saving me lots of time and effort.

Here is my “before” brand:

 

And here’s my brand now: 

Brand2017.jpg

Lots of searching on Creative Market led me to Lera Efremova’s gorgeous shop. I found a package of patterns that I adore and it was game on from there. I used the selected pattern as the basis for my color palette and then selected fonts I thought would balance well with this bold new brand. The last step was to reverse out my logo (which used to be black) so that it would present better on the new bold colors.

Consider refreshing your brand instead of totally rebranding. My tips are here!

Personal Brand: Branding the New Site

This site was long overdue for a rebranding. Navigating the transition from self-employment to office work meant that I got rid of our old business site (RIP Hash Consulting) and had to quickly throw up a personal brand site.

These days, I think everyone should have a personal brand site. It's great to have a web address to put on resumes, calling cards, LinkedIn, etc. You never know when you'll meet someone at a conference or networking event and want to give them more information about you and your work. Also, because so many of us have passion projects, too, it's a great way to showcase your well-rounded interests.


Personal brand site design process

Designing for yourself is always interesting. I try to treat myself like I would any other branding client and step one is always a Pinterest inspiration board. In the era before to Pinterest (the Dark Ages), I used to have clients take photos of mood boards for me. Thank goodness we live in a more advanced time ;-)

It's amazing how quickly a color and design story emerges on a Pinterest board. When you pin photos of all sorts -- interiors, homes, branding, etc. -- you really get a sense of direction on design. Immediately, I noticed:

  • Light blue, gold and texture.
  • Modern, simple aesthetic. 
  • Classic, smooth script font.

Once I had the inspiration, I was ready to start working. The color palette was directly sampled from some of my inspiration photos/pins. The textures I searched for and found on Creative Market, my go-to for these sorts of elements. I know some designers like to start with the logo, but for me, the colors, textures and baseline fonts get my creative juices flowing.

I sketched out (yes, with a pencil and paper) a few ideas and ended up with a circle, script-influenced logo that looks very close to my initial brainstorms. I wanted a logo that was simple, yet fluid, and I think I got it.

If you're interested in a personal brand site, contact me for details