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Design graphics for your website like a pro with a shoestring budget

If you want a well-branded website, follow our guide on how to create graphic assets for a website like a pro. You don’t need to be a designer to make it happen.

March 20, 2020 by Cyn Meyer

You don’t need to be a professional artist to make art.

To become an artist, you just need to make art. 

But, does this apply to your website for your online business idea? Can you make a gorgeous website for your business without being a pro designer?

In a word: Yes. 

In a few more words: Yes, but you need to follow the right guidelines and use the right tools to make it happen successfully.

To help you bust out killer graphics, we’ve put together five ways to create graphic assets for your website, even if you don’t have a design degree. Each of these strategies will help you sell more products, polish your website, and fine-tune your branding.

And, best of all, they’re all cost-effective to implement. Let’s dive right in, starting with designing a business logo.

5 ways to easily create website graphic assets 

#1. Use tech-free tools to design your brand logo 

Our first tip for creating pro graphic assets for your site is to use tools to build and design your logo. There are many that don’t require tech skills to use (and use well).

There’s a reason why this is our first step: Your logo is a graphic representation of your business and the first thing someone sees -- and judges -- to identify your brand.

It takes about 10 seconds for consumers to form their first impression of your brand’s logo. What’s more, it takes about 5-7 impressions for them to recognize your logo (or anything from your business), so it’s important to craft your logo design thoughtfully. 

But while there’s a lot riding on your logo, creating one doesn’t require much, if any, heavy lifting if you use the right tools.

You don’t have to hire a professional to make your logo if you use sites like Shopify’s Hatchful, which lets you use hundreds of templates to design a unique logo for your business.

Another option is Logaster, a tool that creates immediate sample versions of your logo as soon as you enter your business name on their site. 

They even display mockups of letterhead and business cards, so you can see what your logo would look like on collateral samples.

Pretty cool, right?

For a more hands-on custom approach, you can use sites like Ucraft, which allows you to explore different icons, text, shapes, and color combinations using their open editor tool.

As you test out different design elements when forming your logo, be sure to use a tool that lets you play around with colors. 

Why? You’ll want to aim for including two colors and consider using blue. 

After all, it’s what the most successful brands do. A whopping 95% of top brands use two colors in their logos, and 35% of them use blue.

Of course, if your logo goes the way of a wordmark -- as many do -- then you may hit a snag, because fonts, like logos, come with their own special considerations.

Not to worry. We’ve got you covered in the next section.

#2. Choose the right fonts for your brand

Our next tip for creating graphic assets like a pro is to pick the perfect fonts for your branding. The key here is to go with a typeface that matches your brand’s personality.

Just like your logo, your fonts send visual messages to your audience about your brand. Put another way, fonts have perceptual traits that your readers pick up on.

For instance, a serif vs. a sans-serif sends a different message, light fonts send different messages from bold fonts, rounded fonts differ from angular fonts, and et cetera. 

Another way to review your font choices is to consider the psychology behind typefaces and group them into five font categories:

  • Serif - Evokes traditional, reliable, and comfortable emotions
  • Sans-serif - Hearkens to stability, objectivity, and cleanliness
  • Script - Elicits feelings of elegance, affection, and creativity
  • Modern - Conjures strong, progressive, and chic emotions
  • Display - Brings forth feelings of friendliness, uniqueness, and amusement

Regardless of the category you choose, bear in mind that picking the right font is another opportunity to communicate to your audience what your brand is all about. 

This matters because it makes a difference in the messaging you’re trying to send to your audience and here’s proof:

An ad for a cell phone that emphasizes the “slim” nature of the phone that “takes up little space in your pocket” using a condensed san-serif performs 27% better than the same ad copy and image using a script font.  

Take the same image and typeface test and change up the ad copy to emphasize the way the phone “feels” as a “privilege in your hand” -- and what happens? The script font performs 32% better.

So, choose and use your fonts wisely everywhere on your website -- including those graphic assets that leave your site in downloadable form, which is our next topic.

#3. Design an ebook like a pro designer

Once you settle on a branded logo and fonts, it’s time to work on incorporating graphics into your products. Digital downloads make a great starting point.

If you learn how to design an ebook like a pro, you can tackle designing any of your digital product ideas from the skills you pick up from your ebook.

To design an ebook like an expert, start by creating a great ebook cover.

You can use free design sites like Canva, which has several book cover templates to use and even lets you choose from a wide range of book genres.

You simply drag, drop, and type the elements you want to replace in the template.

Or you can use a site like Venngage, which has its fair share of ebook templates, including plug-and-play book covers and page layout designs.

Another way to design an ebook like the pros is to include images to break up your text. It’ll help your readers consume your content more easily.

After all, it only takes 13 milliseconds for your brain to process an image. 

Along the same lines of using easily digestible visual content, format your ebook, so it’s readily scannable. 

A great way to make your ebook scannable is to include big headlines, sub-heads, icons, and images. 

Check out how Marketo includes each of these components to make their 8 Biggest Mistakes Email Marketers Make ebook skim-friendly. 

Sure, you’re not putting in all this work to create an ebook for people to quickly scan your content. I get it. (Believe me, I do.)

However, an 80% majority of your audience skims your written content instead of reading it, so it’s important to cater to their needs.

OK. This brings us to hieroglyphs: or, as they’re more commonly known today, icons. How you use them can make a big impact on your website and user experience.

#4. Follow simple rules of using iconography

Another key detail in creating your graphic assets for your website is to follow the rules of using iconography, one of which is to use icons from the same icon family. 

You can find tons of free icon families from sites like Flaticon, like this business icon pack

Or this digital marketing pack.

The reason why you should use the same icon family is as straightforward as being cohesive with your branding. As you know, it takes 5-7 times for someone to recognize your brand, so everything needs to look and feel consistent across your entire site, including your icons. 

If you don’t keep a consistent brand, it can work against you and confuse your audience. 

In fact, 71% of companies claim the biggest negative impact of an inconsistent brand is customer confusion. Iconography is just another place for you to be consistent with your brand.

On the topic of consistency, it’s also vital to keep all your icons the same size.

Check out how MetaMusic uses circles around their icons to keep them equally sized.

Typically, icon sizes are designed as square-shaped files so they can fit (without backgrounds) into circle outlines, the smallest size being 16x16 for displaying on both Windows and Macs.

Regardless of the size you display, simply keep them all the same size and from the same icon family. 

Another good rule to follow is to use contrasting colors when incorporating icons into your site design. This increases your site’s readability. 

For instance, Equator Coffees uses their branded red against a white background for their site’s iconography.

To see if your colors contrast well enough, use a contrast checker like WebAIM, which lets you enter the hex codes for your foreground and background colors to receive a contrast ratio.

Any contrast ratio in a green box comes back as a pass. Otherwise, it’s a contrast level that you can improve.

For our final tip today, let’s flip the script a little. So far, we’ve talked about a bunch of components that can improve your branding: logos, fonts, product promotion graphics, and iconography, but what if your branding still just isn’t right?

Then sometimes, you need to start over and rebrand. The good news is that you don’t have to lose the bank to do it.

#5. Rebrand your business without spending a ton of money

Thinking about rebranding your business? Then you better be ready to commit, because if you do, you have to go all-in and rebrand your site globally.

It’s a serious commitment if you’ve built up a lot of assets. There’s a good reason to do it, mind.

Many of them, actually.

Among the top 10 reasons to rebrand your business are: going international, repositioning, and giving your outdated brand image a refresh. 

If you’re expanding your business to go international, you’re in good company, as far as a reason to rebrand. 

58% of small businesses already have customers abroad, and 72% plan to grow their international audience, which can translate to a name change. When Twix spread its wings around the world, for example, it rebranded by changing its name from Raider to Twix. 

Don’t think info products can go abroad? They can do it way easier than candy bars. Whether by expanding to a new language or creating new copy for customers in different locales, there are tons of ways for online businesses to globalize and tap into new markets.

That said, you don’t have to rebrand by changing something as significant as your name.

You can also reposition your brand’s messaging like Walmart did, back in 2012, when they changed their slogan (and focus) from “Always low prices” to “Save money. Live better.”

Or you can modernize your brand with a new look and feel, just like Tupperware. Here’s a sampling of their collateral before rebranding. 

And refreshed images after rebranding.

As you can see, after the rebrand, their imagery is much more consistent, clean, fun, and bold -- a stark difference from their original brand. 

If you’re updating your graphics overall, be sure to give your logo a facelift, too. 

You can use free logo-making tools to play around with variants of your logo and carry elements of your original logo to your current one, like the colors or placement of certain image components.   

Check out how Google has made slight changes to its logo throughout six iterations.

Regardless of your reason for rebranding, you can do it without spending a ton of money. 

With our suggestions, you can likely do it for less than 5-10% of your annual marketing budget, which is what it typically costs companies to rebrand.

All in all: 

To rebrand your business without breaking the bank, use free and low-cost design tools that let you update your logo and other graphic assets, while also revisiting your core messaging. The vital takeaway is to rebrand with your audience’s perception in mind.  

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Design your site with pro graphic assets without (officially) being a pro

You can create a killer website without a design background or a mountain of cash flow. Simply follow our five tips and you’ll be on your way to a pro-looking site. 

Let’s summarize for you:

  • Choose from a range of tech-free logo-maker tools to create a logo that best represents your brand’s personality. Consider using at least two colors, including a shade of blue, in your logo design.
  • Choose a set of fonts that match your brand’s identity and messaging. Learn about the psychology behind font types to help you make your choices.
  • Create visually appealing ebooks and digital products that are easy to consume by using online tools that let you break up your content with headlines, sub-heads, icons, and images.
  • If you use iconography, follow a few best practices, including using contrasting colors and similarly sized icons from the same family.
  • If you’re expanding your business to go international, repositioning your business, or have an outdated brand, rebrand your business by revisiting your graphic assets, logo, and messaging. 

Your website is your blank canvas, especially if it’s running on a platform like Podia, where you can manage your homepage, landing pages, sales pages, product pages, and more.

(Not using Podia yet? Start for free today.)

And what do you do with a blank canvas? You paint on it, of course. So go out there and let your creativity unleash. 

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