Standing Out on Social Media

socia media

I read a study recently that claimed if a tweet was accompanied by a visual element, it received 70% more reads than one without. As a graphic designer, I agree with this finding, howeve – r, not every visual element is eye-catching. What can you do to stand out on social media? Here are a few tips:

1. Use the psychology of color. Besides grabbing our attention, the color red increases heart rate. Blue, on the other hand, evokes calmness and serenity. Yellow might be cheerful, but it makes babies cry and causes eye strain. The human eye is most sensitive to green, a color that alleviates depression and conjures up images of new growth and wealth.

Here is a great post on color psychology: The Color Blue is Trending – fascinating stuff!

2. Use simple, uncluttered images. Remember, your design is going to look small on the screen, smaller yet on a mobile device. Use easy to read fonts and simple designs with bold color.

3. Vary your images. I’m seeing a ho-hum trend on Twitter – tweeting the same message/graphic over and over. If you follow this trend, you run the risk of becoming white noise and easily overlooked.

4. Use humor. Amusing photos and witty quotes get retweeted the most.

5. Remember, words can be art. Take the aforementioned witty quote – type it up in a unique font add a rich background and voila – an image to be shared.

6. Use the right size. When creating a shared image for Twitter and Facebook, use a 2:1 ratio – 800 wide by 400 tall for example. For Google plus, keep your images 497 pixels wide, and use a perfect square for LinkedIn. A good rule of thumb is to make your graphics larger than you need, they tend to tighten up and look crisper when reduced.

Need a unique graphic but lack the time to make it yourself? Pretty Poison Graphics is here for you. Always!

Monthly special!

Visual content on social media is an important tool you should be taking advantage of. Don’t have the time to create eye-catching graphics for yourself? Hey – let PPG help you out with that!

This month, I’m offering eye catching graphics for:

Twitter (like this one created for F. Leonora Solomon):

basesloadedjuliet

Facebook:

facebooksize

Also: Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more! Tell me what you need, and I’ll make it fit. Email prettypoisongraphics@gmail.com today!

Monthly Specials good until January 31st, 2016

Single graphic $5 (you save $3!)

Five graphics for $15 (you save…a lot!)

I accept payment via PayPal only.

The font, the whole font, and nothing but the font…

fonts

Fonts!

*throws handful of letters into the air*

I love unique fonts. Thanks to some fabulous online sources, I’ve become quite a collector. Here is my newest favorite:

sketchrockwell

I also love this one:

28dayslaterred

Check out the curves on this baby:

angelina

Well-chosen fonts can add a touch of wit, sophistication or just plain fun to your blog or website. The question is, how do you use them? The answer is:

sparingly

Fancy fonts are like condiments, meant to enhance, not over power. Imagine trying to read an entire article in this font:

what

Kind of makes your eyes cross, right? Fonts like Coneria Script (used above) are meant to be used as accents, like a header for example. Check out the difference when we use Coneria Script for the header and Verdana for the body copy:

teacher

Nice! The headline catches the eye, while the easy-to-read body copy keeps the reader, well, reading. Which is what we want. When putting your blog together, choose an easy to read font for your text blocks and a bolder choice for your headers.

howmany

For the main part of your blog/website, three is a good number. For example, on this blog, I use Rokkit Bold (1) and Impact (2) for the logo, and Rokkit Regular (3) for the body copy. This gives continuity of brand and keeps the design flowing through each page. Using too many styles of lettering can be overwhelming and create pages of visual soup that will chase readers away.

If you are creating a self-contained design element, using different fonts from your main blog is perfectly acceptable. For example, notice below I brought in a fourth font (Sketch Rockwell again), but it works because the visuals are contained in a separate graphic.

branding

While my blog colors are strictly black, white, red and gray, adding blue makes the design stand out. Remember, color is your friend, but, like the invisibility cloak, use it well. (“Really, PPG, a Harry Potter reference?” Yes, sometimes you need to pacify your inner nerd.)

Can I let you in on a color secret? White body copy on a black background is hard to read! Take a look at the above graphic again and notice I just broke my own rule. However, I did it with care, by using a font that is large and bold. This works. The following example does not:

saywhat

See what I mean? If your heart is set on black, or if a black background fits your design, try using a larger or bolder font, like this:

better

There, isn’t that better? It was easy to accomplish, all I did was switch to a slightly bolder font and increase the point size from 13 to 18. The copy box did change in size, but only slightly. Love your black background? Keep it, but change your size settings. Your readers will thank you.

Want to add to your own font collection? Here are some great resources for free fonts:

Font Squirrel 

Urban Fonts

The Northern Block

1001 Free Fonts

Have fun exploring the wonderful world of fonts! Do you know a resource for great designs not listed here? Drop me a line in the comments, I have a 2 terabyte hard drive, after all.

 

Your homepage – make it count.

ppg

March 16, 2015

Unless you are a casual blogger, I can’t stress the importance of a well-designed homepage. Here’s why: a visitor to your website should know exactly what your site is all about at first glance. If you are using your blog page as your homepage, what is that visitor seeing first?

Let’s say you are a photographer, but your latest post is a rant about the poor customer service you received when you tried to return your new zoom lens. That blog post is your reader’s first impression of you. While your article might be interesting and/or full of useful information, it doesn’t guarantee that a visitor is going to stick around long enough to look at your spectacular photography portfolio.

Now, imagine that same person is looking for a photographer. They hit your google link and come across a welcome page that grabs their attention and doesn’t let go. A great header that tells the person who you are. A headshot of yourself, even behind from your camera. A brief bio, followed by a short gallery of your absolute best shots. There. That’s a homepage. That’s what will set you apart from the rest of the pack.

Keep it clean and short, but full of information about what you do. Adding touches of your own style and personality make the page even better. Not sure how to set it up? That’s what I’m here for. Hi. I’m Oleander, and I want your blog to get the attention it deserves. Let’s talk.