As part of my new “Let’s Blog” series, I have gotten a few emails about blog graphics.  In a world with Pinterest, we all know the importance of creating killer blog graphics.  And, I am here to tell you that you don’t need to Photoshop!

I love using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for my graphics – but have found that our friend Picmonkey provides awesome tools for an easy blog graphic.  I am not going to go over the basics of using Picmonkey – I am assuming you know the basics.  Instead, I want to share my favorite tips for over-the-top killer blog graphics.

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1.  Use a PINNABLE size:  400×800 or 735×1102

I confess I haven’t always used this size – and have fallen in the trap of creating square graphics.  But let’s face it, we all pin the big pretty pictures.  Both 400×800 and 735×1102 show up nice and large in Pinterest.  I am starting to switch over all my posts to 400×800.  Yeah, quite the long-term project :).

pinnable size

 

2.  Use a transparent background

That’s right – you can import a transparent background for your blog graphic!  This means you can use shape overlays – and your background won’t show through.  Here is a transparent.png file.  Just save this on to your desktop and use over and over again in Picmonkey!

Right click below in the center and click “save as” for the 100×100 transparent.png file:

Transparent

transparent background in picmonkey

3.  Use your own fonts

That’s right – gone are the days of only having 2 Picmonkey fonts to choose from.  (I kid, there were close to 10.)  Today, you can choose from ANY fonts you have downloaded on your computer.  Just click fonts and then “Yours”:

your own fonts picmonkey

 

4.  Change the color of .png images

As opposed to .jpg images, .png images are lossless, and can carry a transparent background or be edited without losing quality.  This means, if you import a .png image as an overlay in Picmonkey, you will most likely be able to change it’s color.  The color match won’t be exact – but it varies your options!  See my example below:

change .png color picmonkey

 

5.  Use the rectangle overlay for everything:

Of all the things on Picmonkey, the rectangle overlay is the feature I use the most.  I use it as 1) a color background for text 2) a sheer white background for text 3) a text banner 4) a way to cover up mistakes 5) a color background stretched over the whole area 6) a building block for creating my own geometric shapes 7) color-blocking 8) a background border for behind photos 9) layered to create a colorful border affect or 10) a white border line between two other colored rectangles for a beveled border look .  Use it, people.

rectangle shape picmonkey

 

6.  Straighten your overlays:

If you rotate an overlay, chances are it might be crooked.  Picmonkey has a clever “straighten” tool if you right-click on the item:

straighten in picmonkey

 

7.  Make awesome chalkboard graphics

I LOVE the chalkboard features in Picmonkey.  To make the chalkboard, go to Themes >> School U >> Boards.  To make the font, use their Eraser Dust font.

chalkboard graphics

 

8.  Use the Spotlight Tool

Under Themes >> Celebrate >> Spotlight, there is an awesome spotlight tool.  It’s super gorgeous.

spotlight tool

 

9.  Fade a photo out into white

This is a pretty advanced technique, that I love using in Photoshop.  To do this, open up a photo in picmonkey.  Add a white rectangle overlay where you want the faded side to be.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 10.04.55 AM

 

Switch the overlay to the Eraser tab and make the eraser size the largest it can – and the eraser hardness the smallest it can. “Erase” along the length of the overlay.  When it’s done, you can adjust that overlay more and drag it around.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 10.05.21 AM

 

fade photo to white picmonkey

 

10.  Change the background canvas color

To simply change the entire color of the graphic, go to Basic Edits >> Canvas Color.  Ta da!

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 10.13.00 AM

 

Sorry this post was GRAPHIC-HEAVY!  Hopefully you will find some awesome new ways to use Picmonkey!  Leave comments with your favorite tips – please share!