Okay, so you decided you want to try and take the elements you created in the last post and put them together on your own. Sans-graphic designer. Bold move! If it’s merely an ad, business card, or flyer you’re having a go at, I say go for it. If it’s anything two-sided or multi-paged, you might be in for a frustrating ride. But you never know – you might be a natural, too.
Step 1: Edit your photo
There are numerous ways to edit photos. If you’re knowledgable in Photoshop or some other photo editing program (some free options are listed below), all the better. If you’re not, there are a few things you’re going to need to be able to learn to do. Luckily, they’re pretty easy.
- Crop. Crop the image to the exact size you need.
- Resize. Resize the image in physical size. For example, if you have a 5″ x 7″ photo that needs to be 5″ x 5″, but it’s a smaller area of the image, you’ll need to crop that area to a square and then resize that to your desired size.
- Change resolution. This is getting a little more advanced. As a general rule, if your ad is for print – the higher the resolution, the better. Here are a couple of articles on resolution:
I haven’t checked out many of the online photo-editors, but after a quick search and trial, these seem like they’d do the trick:
Step 2: Add your copy
Remember all that copy we created in the last post? Now it’s time to add it to the piece. If you’re comfortable enough and able to make it work in your photo editor, that will be the simplest way. If however, you need a little more flexibility, you might want to try a vector drawing program. If you have Adobe Illustrator (they do offer a free 30-day trial), Corel Draw, or some other vector based drawing program, use whichever one you feel most comfortable with. There’s definitely a learning curve with these programs, so be patient, utilize online help, and have a clear idea of what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Nothing can stop you! The main things you’ll want to know how to manipulate are:
- Changing colors of shapes and text
- Reordering of your text and shapes so that certain ones lay on top of another one, rather than underneath
As for a recommendation for a free vector based drawing program, here are a few:
- Inkscape. Free, but must be installed on your computer.
- Google’s SVG Edit. Free online editor.
- Aviary’s Raven. Another free online editor. I couldn’t get the text to work, however.
At this point, everything comes down to your eye. Make it look good! Look at other’s work online for inspiration. Remember, if the copy you created and the photo you picked are strong to begin with, you’re piece will come together so much easier. Once you’re finished, if it’s for print, you’ll want to save or export the final document as a PDF. And, save OFTEN! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.
If you happened to create something that you need printed, get in touch with us! We’re CP Graphics in Tucson, Arizona, a full-service commercial printer. We can also help with any problems you might have run into during the design process.