Tips for Making Hilarious Memes

Memes unite the funny bones of the online world and provide a platform for social commentary, pop culture observations, and photo editing skills. Even brands are hopping aboard the meme train: either they create their own and cross their fingers that they end up like Dos Equis—which reportedly tripled its business with its famed Most Interesting Man campaign—or they repurpose already-popular memes, like Wonderful Pistachios’ Keyboard Cat commercial.

Memes have become so popular that the word was officially added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary last year, with a vague enough definition to encapsulate all of the different forms of memes. They can be words, videos, gifs, and pretty much any other “idea, behavior, image or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” We’re going to focus on the photo/text variety and show you how to get popular meme looks with PicMonkey, so you can start your ascent to internet stardom right now.

Easy meme looks

We’ve already covered how to create a basic meme, but as the old saying goes, there’s more than one way to turn a cat into an internet meme. Here are some easy peasy ways to get other coveted meme looks in PicMonkey.

Burstin’ backgrounds

Many hilarious memes are made up of an image removed from its background, then superimposed on a bursty background (witness popular iterations of the Socially Awkward Penguin, Success Kid, and Philosoraptor memes).

Getting this look is ludicrously easy with PicMonkey—our Comic Heroes swatches in Collage are ready for all your witty words and images. Make a single-celled collage, fill that cell with a memerific bursting swatch (choose Comic Heroes from the drop-down menu in the Swatches tab) then click Edit collage. Your creation will open in the Editor. Add your image as a graphic with the Add your own button in the Graphics tab, and your witty words with the text tool.


Sometimes hilarity ensues when we use our powers of observation, and realize that two things share a commonality. And then we share that insight with the rest of the world with a side-by-side comparison meme.

Musical superstar Pharrell Williams’ choice in headwear spurred the creation of a Twitter handle, and an endless stream of memes. His oversized hat resulted in comparisons to Homer Simpson, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to name a few.

To make a comparison meme in PicMonkey, create a two-celled collage. Add your images, then head to the Editor to polish it off with text. Or don’t—sometimes images with a strong enough resemblance get the point across without words.

What text would you add to this side-by-side comparison meme?

Good ole text/photo combo

There aren’t any hard and fast rules in meme world. If you have a great image, maybe all you wanna do is throw some text on there, and forget all this background/collagey stuff. The Condescending Wonka meme is a screen capture from the 1971 film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which users have transformed a bajillion times by simply adding text. It’s a similar story with Dox Equis’ Most Interesting Man, Sexy Mugshot Guy, and countless others.

To get this simple look in PicMonkey, open your image and head right to the Text tab. Type your words, and pick a meme-ilicious font. For a classic meme look, make your text white and click the Effects button on the Text palette to add a drop shadow.

You can also make a simple image/text combo meme on the go with the PicMonkey mobile app. And if you need your meme to be the perfect size for, say, a Facebook or Twitter post, our Templates can help ya out with that.

Tips for successful memes

Here are a few other tidbits to help you create the kind of meme that gets all the likes and shares.

  • If you want your meme to catch on, post it in public places. Reddit and Tumblr have historically been favorites for meme displays.

  • The best meme text is short, quippy, and relatable.

  • Use easy-to-read, large text. Nobody likes squinting.

  • Get creative with your image sources—your awkward middle school photo could make you the next Bad Luck Brian. You could also strike meme gold with the right pic from a free image source, but make sure to check those permissions.

  • Pop culture is a great meme source. When Kanye West cut Taylor Swift off during her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, the internet reacted with a swarm of “Kanye Interrupts/Imma let you finish” memes. Drake memes became all the rage after the star showed off his dance moves in his “Hotline Bling” video.

  • Check out what’s trending on sites where memes reign supreme (Reddit, Tumblr, Memebase, The Next Meme, Know Your Meme, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

  • If you’re creating a meme for business purposes, make sure there’s a correlation to your brand. Virgin Media’s Success Kid campaign was, well, successful, because it made use of a meme while it was popular and used it to clearly convey what they were offering.

 Let your creativity run free with a PicMonkey membership.

This article was written by PicMonkey Staff, a multicellular organism of hive-minded sub-parts who just wanna get you the ideas and information you crave, so you can make powerful images that level up your business.