Having consistent branded cover images is a major part of creating a successful and strong blog. It's the first thing your readers see when they click on your post, and it's likely the thing they'll be remembering, and sharing on social media. It's what your potential readers see on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. It's your first shot to create a stellar impression of your blog, to snag your readers, and to make your posts instantly recognizable as coming from your blog.
I'm going to show you how to create professional, streamlined cover images templates in just a few minutes with Photoshop. We'll go through two different methods which can be tinkered in a nearly infinite amount of ways to get the type of image that's perfect for your blog. There are, of course, other ways to do this, but this is the one that works the best for me, and the one that you're used to seeing around HoM.
>> Hey subscribers! Head straight to the Insider Library to watch the video.
Let's get started!
First, open up an document in Photoshop. My resolution is always set at 300px per inch, and the size of this file depends on the width of your content area. I set mine to about 700, but tend to do a little resizing, as my new blog layout is 630px wide. The height is up to you, but aim for a proportional image that will look good both on your blog, and twitter. These are the dimensions you should be using for all of your vertical photos then, and it will make your life a whole lot easier.
Paste your image into this document, and it will create another layer. You can leave it on it's own, or use CTRL/CMND + E to merge it with the background layer.
Next, create another layer, by selecting Layer -> New Layer.
Using the paint bucket tool, paint this area white.
Using the Opacity slider to the far right above the layers, select the opacity that gives you the desired look. A lower percentage will mean more of your image will show through, a higher percent means a more ethereal look.
Next, create another layer in the same method as before, making sure this layer, and the previous white layer are both above your image. Using the selection tool, draw a rectangle (or circle, if you like) large enough to fit the title of your blog post or promotion, and using the paint bucket tool, fill this one with white, also.
Now, select the Font tool, and type out your text. With this particular style, it's important to choose a font that is dark enough to show up against a light background— bright colours would work especially well with this image, but I'm choosing one that brings out a colour in the background image.
If you have colours that are consistent with your brand, I highly recommend using these ones! It will help make your image instantly recognizable.
Next, we're going to create a border around your text. Using the Shape tool, select Rectangle Tool (or, if your white space is a circle, the Elipse tool). Set the fill to blank, and the stroke to the same colour as your font (although it can be any colour you wish!) Although it says 1.74pts here, I changed the width to 0.80 after I took this screenshot. Draw your border a small distance from the edge of the white rectangle. Making sure your rectangle layer is above both white layers, right click on the layer, and click 'Rasterize Layer'.
Now, select your smaller rectangle layer, beneath your text. Like before, use the Opacity slider on the right to lower your opacity— but not as much as the initial layer (I set mine to 80%).
And you're done! If you want to keep this as a template, which I really do recommend, make sure you save it as a PSD, Photoshop Document file. Next time you need to make a cover image, this will allow you to open this file, paste in your new background image, delete the former, and change your text to suit your new blog post.
I'm also going to show you a similar but slightly different format, for Twitter and Facebook images. It's important to create a new image template just for Twitter and Facebook, as your full image will appear without any cropping— more eye catching, and more professional.
This time I started with an image that was 700px wide, and 400px high. Paste in your image— I used a darker one this time, more in line with my personal style. Next, create another layer: Layer -> New Layer, and place this layer above your image. Using the paint bucket tool, paint the entire layer black.
As before, use the Opacity slider to lower the opacity until the desired amount of your background image shows through. If you want to give your background image a vintage, smoky feel (you'll see what I mean), making sure your background image layer is selected, select Image -> Adjustments -> Exposure, and move the Offset slider to the right until the image looks the way you like. I didn't do this here, but I usually do.
Next create another layer. Using the selection tool, highlight a rectangular shape in the middle, and fill it in black with the paint bucket tool, like before.
With the text tool, type out your blog post title, or promotion title (or whatever fun text you might want in this space!), with white text.
Using the Shape tool/Line tool, draw a line beneath your text. Set the thickness to about 0.8 and the colour to one that compliments your background, or is inline with your blog's branding. Don't worry too much about it, as it is very easy to change.
Make sure this layer is above all your other layers. Right click the layer, and select 'Rasterize Layer'. This make the shape function as a regular bit of image, and allows you to manipulate it. When you open this template again to create a new cover image, you can change the colour of the underline this way. With the selection tool, draw a rectangle around your line. Next, go to:
Image -> Adjustments -> Hue/Saturation (I realize I have black & white selected. I have issues with a button on my keyboard. Likes to do funny things). With the Hue slider in the middle, move it back and forth until you get the hue you want. Use the saturation slider to control the intensity of the colour, and the Lighter/Darker slider to control the depth.
And there we have it! As before, make sure you save the original template document as a PHOTOSHOP document, or PSD. This will allow you to manipulate the layers at a later time. If you save as JPG, your layers will collapse into one. When you've created a cover image, use SAVE AS to save your new image as a jpg. Do not over write the original.
And that's it, folks!