Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Create a Blog Title Picture

The question I get asked consistently is how do I make my graphics, personally and professionally. Now I am NOT a graphic designer, I just LOVE to do it and by default became the graphics person for my last 2 jobs.  I'm sure there are far more sophisticated programs and faster/better ways to do this, but I've been in a teaching/learning mode lately and so I figured I'd share the little bit I  do know!
First of all, I use Microsoft Publisher.  Most people cringe when they see I use Publisher (the same way I cringe when I find out I have to work in Access, ughhh, I hate it, why anyone would use that instead of Excel is beyond me..I digress).  If you have the Microsoft office suite, you should have Publisher. Anyways, Publisher intimidates people for some reason, but it's actually REALLY user friendly once you start using it!
Ok, wanna make some awesome -ORIGINAL blog title headers? Let's go!
Find yourself a cool picture online (make sure it's not copyrighted of course) and snatch it....(you obviously can use your own pictures) for this title pic I'll use one image I got online and 2 of my personal photos.

This is the photo I found, you copy that purty picture and paste it onto a blank Publisher page.

I  LOVE a blank digital canvas! This is my favorite thing to do, I could play all day!
Next you'll want to insert your other pictures (if there are other pictures). You do this by copy & paste, or use the insert function at the top tool bar.  If you only want one picture, bear in mind your blog title picture needs to be rectangular "landscaped" shaped or it'll look weird, so the picture image above wouldn't be optimal (by itself).
I add my other pictures and crop and size them down to be about the same size as the first picture I chose. Now if you're new to Publisher, you'll see when you click on your image you resize it by clicking on one of the little white dots that come around the image and if you drag the corners it keeps the proper proportions of the photo rather making it super tall or wide (see the red arrow, it's normally white, but for this tutorial I made it red).
You may  have to crop your pictures too, find your handy little floating picture tool bar (see above, it's floating above & to the right of the images, below I've blown it up so you can see it better) and the crop button is circled, the intersecting corners. It's super easy.
Once you're happy with your images, I like to clean them up and make sure all of the edges match, the sizing is right, etc, I like to put a border around the whole thing, just to make it look really sharp. Do you see the rectangle drawing tool all the way on the left hand tool bar? You click on that and you can draw a border all the way around your picture.  Right now it's a black skinny border.
Once it's there, double click on the box (border) and you can change the color and make it thicker.
This seems like an worthless exercize, but learn from my mistakes and know these are the little things that make your images much better!
Ok, so I want to write on my picture, which in Publisher you can do very easily with a text box, but I want really COOL fonts.... and I don't want to take the time to download fonts (although this is very easy & fast), it's just that I want lots of font options and I've found a great font generator that'll do it for me easy, free, fast. 
Type whatever you want in the box and you can chose the font name and color and size until you find something you love, this is SO AWESOME. I love fonts. I'm a nerd.
See the "Summer 2013"- that's the font/color/text that I've chosen. Now I don't "download" this, downloading crap from the internet scares me so I just do a print screen, in fact my FAVORITE computer action is print screen. I use it for so many things. It's like taking a picture of your computer screen and you can paste it wherever you want, in an email, in publisher, etc.

 In case you didn't know where this amazing feature is on your keyboard, here it is. All you have to do is press this button while you're looking at the font screen, and right click on your blank screen in publisher, hit "paste" and you'll see the internet screen you were just staring at! Now of course you don't want your whole "print screen", just the words- Summer 2013, so just crop that screen down until all you have is your writing:
Now, this actually has a white background, so you'll want to make that transparent. It's as easy as clicking on the "summer 2013" to make sure you're working with that image and go over to your picture tool bar (see below), hit the transparent button (the wand with the corner), go back up and click the wand on the white background of the writing and now you have just the text with a transparent background!
 Pretty right?
Ok, to save this sucker & make it our new blog title pic!
If you were to press "save as" it'd be a publisher file, so I'll show you the (longer, but easier to explain) way to save this as a picture file.
Go to Edit, and select all. This will snag each component of this picture you've created.
Once that's done you want to group the different components- see the two boxes here, press that. It groups everything together (to act as one big image rather than the 3 pictures, text picture, border).
Now right click on your image and "save as picture" (if you haven't grouped the components at this point, it'll just save the portion you've clicked on as the image, not everything). Once it's saved you can put it on your blog.  If you've never posted your own original blog title pic, here's how you do it.
Click on Design on your blog, then get to the Layout. In your title hit the "edit" button and it will open this box. Browse for your image and make sure "instead of title and description" are clicked. Depending on how big you've made your picture you may want to click the shrink image as well.
And Voila! New blog title pic! I hope you have as much fun playing as I do! I am more than happy to help anyone who reads my blog with their own blog title picture, just get in contact with me!

1 comment:

Julie said...

Good tutorial! I'm sure it will help lots of photo-challenged people out there. And I hope you use the cute beach inspired header that you created!

But, I have to say... I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your latest blog header! It's so perfect, with the vintage camera! I want to steal it! ;)