Building a fabulous brand is great and all, but it doesn’t do you a whole lotta good if nobody knows about it. That’s where advertisements and promotional images come in. They say “Hey! Look over here! Give my brand a try!” and get the word out about you, as well as any specials or other incentives you’re offering.
Aesthetics play a huge role in establishing trust and credibility, so if your advertisements and promotional images don’t look professional, you’re probably not going to get the results you’re hoping for. Here, we’ll look at three ways to make polished promotional images and advertisements with PicMonkey, with some general best practice tips sprinkled throughout.
What to think about
Before you dive into designing, consider these three things:
- Location. Where your design is going to appear has a humongo impact on what you create, since many sites have rules about image size, character limits, etc. Most websites list fairly detailed image and ad guidelines. Here are a few helpful resources:
Google ad format gallery/templates
Facebook and Instagram ads guide
Twitter advertiser creative specifications
- Audience. Remember those good ole brand moodboard-making days, when you did all that thinking about who your ideal customer is and what they like? Put that to use! This will influence the images you select and the language you use. For example, “On fleek” probably isn’t gonna be the best copy choice if your customer base is older than 25.
- Brand. Your ads and promotional images should look and sound like your brand. If they’re a complete departure from your usual style, potential customers may think they landed in the wrong spot when they visit your website or social media pages.
How to design advertisements and promotional images
Here’s a look at the three suuuper simple ways to make advertisements and promotional images in PicMonkey. We used our faux succulent and cacti company, Prickles & Pots, in each design.
1. Use a template
Templates are design lifesavers—they make it easy to get something good looking out the door fast. Here’s a quick look at how to use templates for your advertisements and promotional images, and a little info on how we transformed our Urbique template to make something special for Prickles & Pots.
- Hover over Design on the PicMonkey homepage and click Templates.
- Find a template that suits your needs, and click Customize. We chose Urbique because it puts an image front-and-center, and has a streamlined look.
- If your template features an image and you want to replace it with one of your own, right-click and choose your photo’s location from the “Replace from” options that appear. For this design, we replaced the background image with one we had stored in Hub.
- Make that template your own by changing the fonts, colors, etc. We didn’t change a whole lot with this design—we just put in our own verbiage and changed the font for the small line of text.
- Head to Resize in the Basic Edits tab if you need your design to be a different size.
- Save your money-making masterpiece, and add it to Hub in case you want to make changes later without starting over.
For a nitty-gritty look at how to use our design templates, watch our short video tutorial.
Tip: If you crave total creative freedom, explore our selection of blank canvas templates and make something from scratch. From the Templates screen, click the Blank tag under “Popular tags” or type “Blank” onto the line next to the magnifying glass icon. You’ll find an array of perfectly sized social media post and advertisement templates.
2. Add text to an image
If you have a photo that perfectly reflects your message or brand, add some text to it and call your design done! This is a pretty common practice around PicMonkey, as evidenced by our contest announcement images.
There’s no need to forage for a new pic. If you used a magnificent one for your social media covers, in an email, or in a beauteous flatlay, repurpose it and save yourself the trouble of digging up a new photo.
Here’s a look at how to make a text/image combo in PicMonkey:
- Hover over Edit on the PicMonkey homepage and open your photo.
- Use the Crop and Resize tools (Basic Edits tab) to give it the proper dimensions.
- Make it picture perfect with a few essential edits and apply any desired photo effects.
- Head to the Text tab and add your words. Opt for easily readable fonts, like the one you chose for your body copy on your brand board. Vary the size to add interest and make sure that the most important info (or the cleverest line, like in this design) is nice and big.
- Save and add to Hub in case you wanna edit it later.
Tips: Draw attention to important details (like your call to action, promo codes, and contest-specific hashtags) by making them a different color than the rest of your text. For this design, we emphasized our CTA by bringing in one of our brand colors just for the button.
If your words aren’t looking especially readable on top of your image, try using an overlay. For this design, we placed a black rectangle (from the Geometric group in the Overlays tab) over our photo, then adjusted the Fade slider on the Overlay palette. This added a little bit of darkness to our entire image and made the text stand out.
One lil’ note about text/image combos for advertisements: be extra sure to check the guidelines for the site your ad will appear on. Some sites, like Facebook, show more love to ads that feature images with little-or-no text (get the lowdown on Facebook ads and text on their site). With these, you’ll wanna either keep the text minimal, or go the logo-only route and write your copy to accompany the pic, like zis:
3. Make a collage
Maybe you have a few drool-worthy product shots, want to put your mad skills on display with a couple portfolio images, or need to illustrate the steps for entering your contest. Instead of choosing one photo, put ’em all in a collage. We came across a lot of lovely images for our faux succulent schlepping business, so we created this collage-style advertisement.
To make one of your own:
- Hover over Collage on the PicMonkey homepage and open your images.
- Choose a layout from the Layouts tab.
- Specify your dimensions in the boxes by the padlock icon in the bottom toolbar. Make sure to lock them (click the padlock so that it’s closed).
- Add your images, leaving space for text if needed. Save a copy of your collage to Hub now in case you wanna rearrange or switch out images without starting from scratch.
- Click Export to Editor and add text, effects, overlays, etc. Make sure you’re done collaging—you won’t be able to change your collage layout or images once you send it to the Editor. After we exported our collage to the Editor, we added our logo as an overlay by clicking Add your own at the top of the Overlays tab, then opening our PNG logo from Hub.
- Save and add the final version to Hub, in case you want to change your text and overlays later.
Wanna know all the ins-and-outs of our Collage tool? Then take a look at our intro to Collage video for step-by-step instructions.
Tip: One of the simplest ways to make your ad or promotional image reflect your brand is to use your brand colors. For this design, we filled empty cells with one of our brand colors by typing in its hex value (which we had stored on our brand moodboard). To do the same for your collage, head to the Background tab and click Cell. Type in the hex codes for your colors, then click the cell you want. When you export your collage to the Editor to add text, you can make your words the same color by either typing the hex value into the box on the Text palette, or using the eyedropper.
No matter which design route you go, these two rules hold true:
- Keep it simple. Too many competing fonts, exclamation points, graphics, etc. will make your design look busy and less professional.
- Make it clear. It’s ridiculously important that people know exactly what you’re promoting and what you’re asking them to do. Make your CTAs (either on your images or in accompanying copy) clear and to the point.
Now take a look at your completed design. If it’s looking a little unclear, busy, or off-brand, go back in and edit. This is a process, people!
When your masterpiece is finished and put out into the wild, keep an eye on how it performs, and maybe A/B test a couple versions (you’ll be surprised at how much difference small tweaks can make). Change up the images, tweak the copy, or just try a different CTA to get a handle on what really resonates with your audience.
Well, here we are, at the end of our brand-building journey (dangit, we said we wouldn’t cry!). Thanks for letting us tag along. We’re so proud of you, and we think you should be, too. Enjoy that beauteous, professional brand of yours, and check back with us for more tips and tutorials as you continue to make it bigger and better. Now go make that money!