Before you can create your own graphics and images, it’s essential to understand how different file types are structured and how you can work with them. There are three important graphics elements to know before you can start effectively building up your toolkit with great images.
- Graphics File Types
- Where to source materials
- How to create your graphics
Graphics File Types
It’s important to understand what graphics file types and formats you should use so you can make sure you give your affiliates file types they can use on their web sites. Two common graphics types are .jpg and .gif. If you stick with either of these two formats you should be offering graphics your affiliates can use.
One common misunderstanding that comes up between graphics designers and website owners. That is the .pdf file. Often a graphics designer will deliver a graphic in a .pdf format – this is NOT an image file so please never send this as an image as it’s not ready to be added to your affiliates’ websites or email messages!
Where to Source Materials
To create a good graphic or image for your business you’ll need a couple of source materials:
2.Stock or Starter Images
You’re not going to turn into a full-out illustrator or designer when you start creating your own affiliate graphics. Instead, I suggest you source starter stuff so that you can short-cut your way to a professional image that gets clicks – that’s the end goal.
To do that it’s smart to start with good materials.
Fonts make a big difference in the type of result you get with your graphics efforts. Your font choice tells the viewer something specific about your message. For example – if you wrote the word 'Party' in a Comic Sans MS font it would make people think something fun and casual, like maybe a kids’ party. On the other hand, if you write 'Party' in a Calligraphy font you'd get a much different effect and those who see it would think of something much more formal, perhaps a dinner party at an up-scale restaurant.
We have been programmed to associate certain fonts with certain feelings after a lifetime of training. Make sure you use that to your advantage in your marketing!
Next you’ll sometimes want to add a picture, illustration or clipart piece to your graphics to emphasize the point.
Here’s where you can source some of these:
http://www.dafont.com – Personal & Business Use (check source)
http://www.istockphoto.com – Premium Stock Photos & Illustrations
http://www.deviantart.com – Art and Images (check rights)
http://www.sxc.hu/ - Free Stock Photos
Your Local Electronics or Office Supply Store – You can usually buy great font packages for business or personal use at an electronics store that sells computer software, for a very reasonable price.
How to Create Your Graphics
Now that you know some graphics basics and where to source materials, you’ll want to get moving on the creating.
Creating graphics doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. There’s a free program called Gimp that is a great Photoshop alternative. Grab it for free at Gimp.org. The wonderful thing about Gimp is that no matter what you want to do you can usually find a tutorial about it by going to Google or YouTube and doing a search for what you need to know. There are also some great tutorials out there on how to use Gimp that you can buy for a low fee so you can fast-start your learning curve.
If you just don’t want to mess with graphics creation (and I don’t blame you!), you can outsource your work very inexpensively on sources like fiverr.com (where you’ll pay only $5) or even Craigslist.org. Don’t let the fact that you have limited skills block your progress.
Tomorrow we’re going to talk banner and button ads. Contrary to popular believe banner ads are NOT DEAD. You can use these little babies to promote anything – including your affiliate program. Your affiliates are going to be looking for them to promote your products. Talk to you tomorrow when we dig into this important topic...