Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Easily Design Your Own Graphics for Your Business

Perhaps you have a website, but you’re just not totally happy with the graphics, or you haven’t any graphics at all. 'How do great looking graphics improve my business?' 'Aren't professional graphics expensive?' 'How do I create graphics myself?' You may be asking yourself any of these questions. Well, let's start with the benefits your business will reap by having a professional-quality graphical identity. When visitors enter your website, before they even start to read the text they will see the graphics and subconsciously make a snap judgement, be it good or bad, on the quality of the product they are being pitched, regardless of its actual quality. This is simply a shame, because so many people have superb products but they are held back by their not-so-superb graphics. I personally have made many internet purchases on the basis of a nice looking site combined with good copy (without a well written sales page, even great graphics will not help you) simply because a great design and welcoming images instills a feeling of trust into its viewers. It's very likely that you have done this as well, even if you didn't know you were making a judgement at the time.

So what do you do about this? Having a professional designer do it for you is a possibility, but the good ones will put craters in your bank account, and you always have to pay for future graphical updates to your site which is a hassle, not only financially, but if you need important changes made immediately there's a good chance it's going to happen on the designer's schedule.

Perhaps you don't think you have the "artist's touch" or the patience to learn a piece of graphics software. But the truth is, you can have no artistic ability at all and still create great looking graphics. All you have to have is the ability to discern between nice looking, and not nice looking. What I mean by this, is that if you can spot a great logo and study why it is a great logo, you can incorporate the positive qualities of it into your own works, just one step at a time. Think you can you do that? I think you can! Let's take a look at actually creating something for ourselves.

If your website has a name, it should be given logo to support it, to create an identity that visitors will remember and ingrain in their minds. And that’s precisely where you should start designing so you can build the rest of your site off its’ theme and concepts.

Creating logos can be a surprisingly simple process, and very often the simpler the logo, the better. This makes it very possible to drop in some text with a proper font and color and leave with something of commercial quality that you didn't even have to draw anything for! Just think of H&R Block. Their logo is a green square and text! I’m not saying you have to go this simple, but you most assuredly have the option.

If you wish to surprise yourself, boot up your graphics application (if you don't have one, try one called Gimp - It's Free, and actually good! and place in some text (the tool labeled 'T') like your site name and perhaps your slogan (if you've got one), but in a smaller font since it is less important than the title. Try to find a font that fits *perfectly* with the theme of your site (since there are so few elements to your logo thus far, make sure that every bit is as good and relevant to your site as it can be) and adjust the color to one that seems to fit your arena. Say if you own a toy store, you’re likely going to want lots of bright colors and a playful, childish font, whereas if you own an insurance company, you’ll want something more like a dark blue or burgundy with a 'strong' font, one that instills strength and dependability onto its viewers. Also try playing with the font width and font spacing (space between letters) to create further visual appeal. Just experiment with everything you see and you'll likely find something you like. Don't be afraid to click buttons, because there's always control-z (undo) if you mess something up. If you become stumped, go surfing the web to see what others are doing right and wrong, so you can use other people’s concepts to form ideas of your own! This way you will always have fresh ideas flowing about that you can pick from whenever you've got designer's block. And if you're not sure of how to do a certain task in your graphics app, simply search for a tutorial on it specifically on google, as there are tons of websites more than willing to help people in a position just like yours! Remember, take everything one step at a time and you'll be creating great graphics faster than you'd have ever thought possible!

I hope you have come away enlightened and with inspiration, now get out there and make some killer graphics!

About the Author

Barrett Phillips is webmaster of and Author of "Simply Design - Aesthetics That Sell".