How to Make Graphics for Websites – A Complete Guide
Humans are visual beings. As such, graphics are critical to grabbing online and offline attention. Whether it is on billboards, websites, social media accounts, web banners, flyers, brochures, or magazines, you need visuals to take your message to the next level. Moreover, your business cannot thrive without visuals.
The graphic element you employ on your site has a big influence. Visual content on your website is a great tool that serves multifunctional purposes of making your site visually appealing and successfully converting visitors to take the desired action. For example, visuals prove effective in guiding customers to make purchases. Subscribe to an email list, fill out a form, or follow you on social channels.
This article will show you the importance of website graphics and how you can create graphics.
Why is website graphics important?
Creating visual content is important for a website’s success. There’s almost no web page without graphics. They may appear as banner ads, backgrounds, illustrations, and many more. They help to increase your website’s appeal, value, branding, and professionalism. They also stimulate human aesthetic senses, thereby increasing customer connection (and recognition) to the brand.
Beyond that, graphics increases the usability and performance of your website in several ways, including:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Images can help improve the ranking of your content on search engines when you optimize using ‘alt text’ and descriptive titles.
- Highlighting essential parts of your content: Graphics can help you guide your readers to the most important parts of your content. For example, an infographic like the one below helps add additional content to the best graphic design practices. You can easily glance through and save this for future reference. Also, images in a tutorial article can help readers understand the words better.
- Providing breakpoints for long-form articles: Walls of text can be tiring to read. So, adding images to a long-form blog post can help you break the content into digestible bites.
- Repurpose as social media posts: Photos used in your website can be used as social media content. You can choose to use them directly without editing or adding a new form to make them more stunning.
Now that we’ve established the importance of graphics, it’s time to create yours. However, it can be tricky to get it right, especially if you’re not a graphic designer. While it might be easy to turn to stock photos, some content requires you to create your own graphics.
The following section will guide you on the design process if you decide to create graphics yourself or speak to a seasoned designer.
Powerful Web Designs
Tips for creating graphics for your website
Combine contrasting colors
Colors convey clear meanings and emotions. For instance:
- White communicates purity, cleanliness, and independence
- Black conveys authority, luxury, and elegance
- Yellow & Orange elicit happiness and savings.
- Purple represents luxury, royalty, and creativity.
- Green exudes tranquility, peace, and growth.
- Blue embodies security, reliability, and stability.
- Red signals urgency, determination, and power.
However, these colors can only strongly influence your website visitors if they can be seen.
One of the biggest web design mistakes you can make is to combine colors with no contrast – peach and light pink or white and light gray. Not only will visitors fail to notice these colors, but they will also be illegible and unimpressive. Instead, you should choose high-contrast color palettes or opposite colors. That will allow your design to pop.
Create a cohesive look and feel
Although a high-contrasting color palette can give your graphics and text boxes a stunning look, you want to avoid colors that compete for attention.
Ideally, you want to follow the 60-30-10 rule of design. This means that 60% of your design will have a dominant color, 30% for a secondary color or texture, and the remaining 10% for an accent.
Furthermore, you should use shades of the same color to ensure cohesiveness in your primary palette. Finally, you should choose a high-contrast secondary color and tweak its brightness and saturation to create cohesive secondary shades.
Choose simple and legible fonts
Readability is a simple yet tricky thing to get. Unlike most design projects where ornate fonts like script fonts, italics, or bubble letters. Overly stylized and condensed fonts compromise the readability of your web design. So, you should aim for simplicity and legible fonts that reflect your brand’s personality.
However, if your brand uses cursive fonts as its brand fonts, you should consider finding suitable replacements for body texts or using your secondary fonts. You could choose serif fonts to reflect elegance or sans serif for a modern, clean look.
Choose multiple fonts carefully
While choosing multiple fonts, consider keeping it to the barest minimum to avoid distracting your audience. Ideally, you should keep your fonts at a maximum of two-three. For example, you could use one font to indicate headings and another for body text.
You can also choose a single font and manipulate its variance to create a difference. For example, you can have bolder fonts in the heading and condensed fonts to make elements pop.
When you start using more than the maximum, it becomes hard for your audience to grasp the information on your web page.
Embrace white space
It is not only erroneous to think that to create a stunning design, the width of the page must be filled with different elements, but also disastrous and off-putting.
Web visitors have a knack for simplicity rather than a Geocities-type website. And in achieving simplicity, you need to make your design breathable by using white space (or negative space). Leverage negative (or white) space by focusing on a single element and placing nothing around that can distract from it.
In the design world, studies and observations have shown that the audience is more likely to perceive sites with low visual complexity as highly appealing as opposed to those with more complex designs.
Consistency in website graphics helps to concretize your brand identity. From the elements to how stylized or customized they are, ensure there is a cohesive outlook across all your marketing assets. This will be easy to achieve if you have a brand book or style guide for all your design assets.
You want to make sure the font, colors, and design quality of your social media platform are not different from that f your website or email newsletter.
Also, the quality, dimension, and filter of the images you use in your design should be consistent. For example, if you have used a variety of portraits (or headshots) for the “meet the team” section of your web page, you should retake or crop any employee picture with a different pose.
Maintain simplicity and familiarity
In addition to consistency, maintaining familiarity helps to make your website beautiful. Familiarity means that your website graphics has high prototypicality. That is, it follows a standard template of websites that have been found appealing. Templates allow you to create easy-to-navigate websites that make your audience comfortable.
However, you should know that following pre-made templates for your design doesn’t mean you should sacrifice creativity. Most templates offer customization that allows you to move from basic to high-impact, stunning graphics.
Balance is important in your design to help guide a reader’s eyes to important messages and create a structured feel in your design. To achieve balance and structure, alignment is a crucial element.
Headings, bodies of text, and images should all be aligned
Give letters just enough space to make them legible. Adjust letter space or kerning to fill wasted space and shrink headings that take up too much space. However, ensure that individual letters are not detached due to wide space or clumsy due to lesser space.
Body of text
An ideal way to keep body text aligned is to keep each line at a maximum of 30-40 characters each, including spaces. This makes content easy on the eyes and will all paragraphs in line with one another.
Keep images within frames or utilize a grid to make images balance with bodies of text or headings.
Use images of real people
People enjoy human interaction when they’re being sold to. That is why a high-resolution image of real people can benefit your website graphics. The idea is to use images that immediately captures the emotions you want your audience to perceive. It could be happiness, trust, comfort, and so on.
However, you should avoid stock images. Often, stock photos have stiff, staged, and over-exasperated expressions that are obvious to detect. Instead, use more relaxed images of real employees or customers that can capture your audience’s needs.
Using your own images in design can help add a human touch that allows you to comfort and appeal to your audience better. Furthermore, using real-life images on sales pages and testimonials can help increase conversion rates.
Use color and scale to emphasize your message
Great graphics leverage contrast and scale of elements (also known as visual hierarchy) to signal importance. Also, web designers leverage hierarchy to guide the audience to the most important aspect of the message. This aspect is recognized by its position and scale, as you will often find it at the top of the page or as the largest or darkest font.
Following the most visually dominant element is a series of elements that are manipulated in size, color, or weight to signal hierarchy. That visual hierarchy helps the readers through a specific path down the page toward a call to action or a form. Get inspired by graphic design ideas.
Emphasize your call to action
Following the importance of visual hierarchy is the need for a call to action. A CTA is designed to spur a response or encourage a conversion. Contact forms, signing up for an email list, or completing a purchase.
Essentially, your CTA is the primary reason you’ve designed your page. As such, it should pop. To make it stand out, you should aim for contrast.
When designing your CTA button, you can also employ contrasting colors and scale to signal its importance. You can choose a color that contrasts with the background. However, you want to make sure you put your color palette into consideration.
Icons are great tools of embellishment that you can employ in place of full-size images. Since they’re mostly recognizable, they help you to create intriguing designs and can be used to direct traffic.
Just like photos, you can create custom icons to fit your brand tone. You can also manipulate existing icons by changing the weight, size, or color to fit your purpose. You can also add icons to guide readers toward CTAs.
Respect the fold
The fold is term graphic designers use to describe the bottom part of a page visible when a screen first loads. It is a guideline for designing a web age. Your readers need to scroll to read anything below the fold.
However, with the number of screen sizes and resolutions depending on devices, it is often not simple to define the same fold across various platforms.
Usually, designers approximate the size of the fold as 1,000 pixels wide and 600 pixels tall. While it is placed at the bottom of the screen, it is critical that you place important content should be above the fold as anything there will prompt visitors to scroll downwards.
As a rule of thumb, you should place your CTA and key messages above the fold.
An essential part of ensuring simplicity is expunging extraneous design elements. For example, you wouldn’t need to add a heavy margin and a text box, and other lines to demarcate the section as it would make your texts harder to read. Removing all the lines would make your design look simpler, cleaner, and easy to follow.
To ascertain simplicity in your graphic design, take time to admire the page. Look out for elements that do not serve a purpose or add to the structure of a section. Delete items that feel extraneous. If you think any of the items can still serve a purpose, you can simply undo the deletion.
Now that you know things to consider when creating graphics let’s discuss free online design tools to help you.
Free tools for creating attractive web graphics
Free font tools
Google Fonts is the leading library of 1455 open-source font families. This means that users can customize, improve and share fonts from here as they see fit.
You can download a font and save it for later or add a font to your website in seconds.
Fontjoy is a free tool that helps designers choose the best font pairings. The tool allows you to mix and match different fonts to you find the perfect combination. It also provides font suggestions using neural nets and displays them live so you can get a sense of how the final product.
Free Template tool
Canva is a powerful design program that enables you to create different types of images using simple, easy-to-customize templates. Whether you’re creating an ebook, infographic, email header, book cover, business card, email header, poster, or presentation, Canva has an extensive library of elements you can play with.
Interestingly, Canva is built to make design easy and fun for non-designers, as you can drag and drop objects and images till you achieve your goals. Although it also comes in handy for designers, you can consider it Photoshop for non-designers.
If you need to add a polished flair to the screenshot you want to put on your website, Twitter profile, or blog post, PlaceIt is the tool you need.
Free tools for infographics, charts, and mockups
Although Venngage has a free plan that allows you to create stunning infographics, charts, and reports, you will need advanced plans to access its premium features. Nonetheless, you can easily access customizable templates that you can use for your purpose.
Visme is a wholesome platform that allows you to create a presentation, data visualization, social post, infographic, and a short video. You might need the premium version to have more storage capacity. However, with the free version, you can access a library of free templates and up to 100 MB of storage.
Free color tools
We’ve established the importance of colors in designs. However, it can be tedious to pinpoint the right color combination for a design. That’s where Coolors comes in. This tool gives you recommendations for colors to use. It also gives you the hex code of any color it recommends.
Adobe Color is an interesting online tool that allows you to create and share color palettes. This tool is great for generating your brand colors.
Free annotation tools
Here’s a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that allows you to take, crop, edit, and annotate screenshots directly within your browser.
Free Photo Editing Tools
If you desire to add flair to your images – add borders, add text, recolor them, and add graphics – without downloading a program on your PC, then PicMonkey is your go-to. It is an easy-to-use design tool that allows you to put more of your time and energy into other things like your content or marketing strategy.
BeFunky is a free photo editor that allows you to add effects, graphics, frames, and textures to your images. It is a cool tool and straightforward whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned designer.
Pixlr approachable tool that allows you to customize images using advanced features and prebuilt graphics. You can add stickers, borders, and text to your images or stock photos.
Over to you
While creating graphics with free tools can help you save cost, DIY can sometimes go on the wrong turn and put off your visitors rather than keep them glued, especially if you’re new to the design business. Hiring a seasoned graphics designer is the best shot at attracting your visitors and making them stay
. That way, you can be confident that you have top-notch web graphics.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go far searching for seasoned designers. All Time Design‘s got you covered! We have the best designers you can get at ridiculously low prices.