Are you looking for a free and easy way to craft your featured images? Have you heard of Google Drawings? If not, read on.
Google Drawings is a free online drawing software developed by Google. It allows people to collaborate and to create all kinds of drawings: flowcharts, concept maps, and other types of diagrams.
Today, I will show you how to use Google Drawings to create a common type of featured image: the flat design background with icon. This image style has two components: a fixed color background that’s overlaid with an icon. See this post’s featured image.
Let’s start with a fresh blank Google Drawing.
Create Featured Images With Google Drawings
Create a new Google drawing: New > More > Google Drawings
Adjust the Drawing Size
Make sure you optimize the featured image for your WordPress theme.
The specifications are 750 x 375 pixels for my current GeneratePress theme.
Please refer to the image below for the size adjustments. From Google Drawings:
Rename your drawing. The default name is “untitled drawing”.
Next, modify the page settings:
File > Page Setup
In the Page setup dialog, select the drawing size. By default, it is a ratio 4:3.
From the pull-down, select Custom, then, Pixels.
Finally, set your diagram size in pixels. In this example, 750 x 375. Click OK.
Add a Background Color
Your next step is to add a background color.
As a first option, you can use Google Drawings default color palette:
Right click > Background > Select an existing palette color.
A better option: more color choices are available from http://flatcolors.net. Clicking on the desired color rectangle will save a color code to your clipboard.
You will get a notification about the copied color code:
To add a custom color from flatcolors.net:
Right click > Background > Custom > Paste Color Code
You must paste your clipboard’s color code in the color field. Color codes are prefixed with a “#” sign.
For more guidance on how to use colors, please refer to Coschedule’s article The Ultimate Guide To Using Color Psychology In Marketing + Free Color Schemes
I like their use cases of Color -vs- Emotions
Insert an Icon
Now, insert an icon on your background. Browse the website Creative Market or other online graphic marketplaces to find suitable icon packs that illustrate your content’s subject matter. The design style you choose should match your audience and brand.
You can also use SnagIt and clip a section of your personal photos if you prefer. Make sure you don’t clip copyrighted images.
Align the icon to your like. I prefer centering the icon, without text. For instance, this post’s featured image:
You may want to right align the icon and write some text on the left-hand side too. Possibilities are endless.
If you are looking for free icons alternatives, I suggest two options:
- Google search “icons”. Make sure the icons are CC0 (Creative Commons Zero).
- Use Pinterest and search for “icons”. You will find tons of icon examples. Again, make sure you select the free ones.
- For extra information about free images and Creative Commons discussion, please refer to Awesome List of Free Images for Your Blog.
Download Your Image
You are done with your design. It’s time to download your image on your hard drive.
File > Download as
You can choose between pdf, jpg, png, svg formats. I suggest you choose png.
Compress Your Image
Although the above process creates small sized images, you can still optimize them. Do as much as you can to improve page load time.
You can use TinyPNG, a free web based service that compresses png and jpg formats. Go to TinyPNG, upload your image, compress it and download it back to your computer.
Here you go. You now have a fully optimized featured image that you can use on your blog.
Several tools can help you to create a featured image. Google Drawings is one of them. It will let you craft beautiful images for free. Its collaborative nature makes it an excellent tool for teamwork.
How do you create featured images on your site?
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