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 use their own meme ideas 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, 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.
Meme ideas for the masses
We’ve covered how to create a basic meme before, but as the old saying goes, there’s more than one way to turn a cat into an internet meme. Meme ideas can come from anywhere. Here are some easy-peasy ways to get popular meme looks in PicMonkey. These run the gamut, meaning you'll find some that, tonally, work well for brands just trying to modestly step into the meme pool; then, of course, there's a few that you're at liberty to take in a much snarkier direction.
1. "No one" meme
You've probably seen the "no one" meme floating around the interwebz. The point of it is to offer an odd or weird idea that no one asked for in the first place, or to point out something strange that everyone does but no one really talks about — like turning down the car radio while looking for an address.
Make the meme in PicMonkey:
Start with a 1080 x 1080 px Instagram post template.
Add your own photos or search our stock photo collection.
Open the Text tab, then click Add text to add a text box to your design. Type your message.
Download and share!
2. Side-by-side comparison memes
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.
You can take this meme in many directions:
Who wore it better? Comparing outrageous celebrity fashion to some mundane household object.
Similar looks on a human's face and an animal's face.
What you think vs. reality as demonstrated below...
Make the meme in PicMonkey:
Open PicMonkey's collage tool and select a side-by-side layout.
Open the Photos & Video tab, then click Add photo or video.
Add text, or don't — sometimes images with a strong enough resemblance get the point across without words.
3. Classic photo + outline text meme
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 – especially if it's the classic white font with black outline. And, hey, you can never go wrong with a goofy animal pic.
Make the meme in PicMonkey:
Open your image and head right to the Text tab.
Type your works, and pick a meme-ilicious font (Impact is the classic go-to).
For the old skool meme look, make your text white.
Click Effects on the left tools menu and select Outline.
Adjust the thickness and color to your liking. Voila — the OG meme style!
You can also make a simple image/text combo meme on the go with the PicMonkey mobile app.
4. "No correlation" meme
"No correlation" allows for a little lighthearted snarkiness. The idea is to compare two ideas or scenarios that...you guessed it...have no correlation whatsoever.
Make the meme in PicMonkey (this one's a lot of fun):
Open a blank canvas; we've used a pre-sized Instagram post canvas in our example.
Size your graphic as you want on the canvas. Then select it and click Erase in the left tools menu. Erase the dots and lines so that the middle of your chart is empty.
Click the Text tab and click Add text to add your 'X' and 'Y' axis.
Click the Draw tab and select the circle brush under Basic Brushes. Pick your desired color and then use it to stamp dots in the middle of your chart.
Your "no correlation" graphic is done. Just add your meme text above or below.
The quick-and-easy how-to for the rest of these meme ideas is to start with a meme template, add your own photos and text, customize, and download. PicMonkey's image and text tools allow you to customize your look however you want. You'll be a meme master in no time.
5. "You are awesome" meme
Be the beacon of positive meme vibes (Reddit has an entire sub committed to wholesome memes) with a kindhearted message.
6. "Way to go" meme
"Way to go" can be genuine or sarcastic. We'll let you decide which one we've opted for. No matter what — spend some time finding the right image, depending upon the tone you want to capture.
7. "There is another" meme
"There is another" is one of two popular Star Wars-themed meme ideas that we'll share in this post. Born from Yoda's famous line in Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back, the meme is as literal as can be, but you can be super clever about the situation you present. So long as it suggests that there is another [insert thing here].
8. "Good, good" meme
On the dark side of the Force, there's this famous line by Ian McDiarmid's Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: Episode VI — The Return of the Jedi. Today, it's been meme-ified a thousand times over. The meme often features the Emperor himself, but it also works with other photos. Just make sure your subject looks pleased about whatever it is that you're commenting on.
What's that? You just started a PicMonkey Pro subscription? Good, good...
9. One worders
This meme idea comes from a simple recipe: one image, one word. Make 'em connect. Make the meme emphatic. Boom.
10. "Tell me more" meme
"Tell me more" comes from one of the most famous meme images of all time: Condescending Wonka. There are thousands upon thousands of Wonka-based iterations; we've taken ours a different direction — just grab an image of any person or animal who looks remotely condescending or unenthused (real talk: condescending animal pics are funnier) and pair it with some sassy text.
Tips for making 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. You can always set the context for your meme in your social post, then use the meme itself as a "follow-up." (For example, we might start an Insta post with "When someone tells us they use Canva over PicMonkey," followed by the one-worder meme: "UM.")
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 (ahem, our stock library is royalty-free...)
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.