My 5 Essential Blog Design Resources

*I originally posted this a year ago but thought it was time for it to make a comeback. I recently had someone ask about blog header image design, so I hope this helps some of you. My resources haven’t changed much, but I did have a few things to add.

To me, blog design is very important. It’s something that I pay attention to on other blogs and it’s probably something other’s pay attention to on mine as well. So, I put a lot of work into my design and I do it all myself. I have several sites or resources that I visit every time I make a new graphic. It took a lot of research to find what works for me but I think I’ve now got it down to a science. But I’m not a tech-savvy person and I like to keep things simple. So, if you’re anything like me, I hope these resources prove helpful for you to start your designing journey πŸ™‚

CANVA

canva

I create all of my graphics on Canva — my header, my featured images, my in post graphics, they’re all done with Canva. I used Canva for Work for a long time, and it was amazing, but I’ve recently downgraded to the free version which is just as good.

With the free version of Canva, you can upload your own images or use their preloaded options, of which there are many. You can either use their free icons and images, or pay one dollar for their paid optionsΒ to use in a design. If you get Canva for Work, everything is organized (as you see above) and you can upload your own fonts. Not everyone will think that is worth the money, but it is for me. So, I recommend you try out Canva, PicMonkey and Photoshop to see which one you prefer.

*Side note: I’ve discovered that even after downgrading to the free version of Canva, all of the fonts I uploaded are still available but not my photo organization. Might come in handy for those that already subscribed once.

PAINT.NET

paintnet
Source

Canva doesn’t allow editing of uploaded items. So, if I have a flower PNG that I want a different color, I open up Paint.net and change the color there. Paint.net is a rastor based program. What that means for us as bloggers is that if you resize your graphic/image, it won’t typically hold it’s quality. If you want a vector based, which will allow images to hold its quality, a good free option isΒ InkScape .

STOCK PHOTOS

gratis

Stock photos are a photography inept girl’s best friend. I don’t take my own photos forΒ my blog. I’m just not good at it. If you’re like me, stock photos should be your go to (if you want that type of style for your blog). Personally, I really love real photos for my featured images so that’s why I use stock images. I go through various sources to gather them. Gratisography is good if you want a bit of wacky-ness in your images (that is the screenshot above). I also like Death to Stock, and Unsplash.

*When using stock photos, make sure you are giving proper credit when necessary. Don’t just take images from Google.

DESIGN MARKETPLACES

creativemarket

I am absolutely in love with these type of online stores. I know you’re probably looking at those prices and thinking “Seriously, Molly?!” And, girl, I get you. But here are my tricks for getting good deals:

  • I sign up for my favorite sites newsletters – Emails contain sale notifications, free items, and recently added deals.
  • I check the free goods and 1$ sections often – Sometimes the items change, so I check regularly.
  • I buy the monthly bundles – There are usually bundles curated every month for about 24$. You pay once, the items it comes with are yours forever. I’ve done this about twice. I check out all the items in the bundle, if I like more than 50% of them, I purchase. Otherwise, I look at each item and see if they are free or on sale.

These sites are wonderful for designing headers and graphics. My blog’s header was designed using elements I got from them. I’ve spent max $50 and have over 5,000 elements at my disposal for design. Some of my favorites are Creative MarketΒ and Design Cuts.

YOU

If I’m having an identity crisis, or just really wanting to change things up, you guys are my resource of inspiration. It’s not taboo to be inspired by other bloggers and the way they design their blog – it is bad if you outright copy it. So, feel free to take inspiration from all of your favorite bloggers!

Pictured above are some featured images that I really love (clockwise):


letsdiscussWhat are some resources that are must-haves for your blog graphic design?Β Are there any topics in regards to design that you want me to address/provide a tutorial for?

Comments are the best! Let's chat!

43 thoughts on “My 5 Essential Blog Design Resources

  1. I like to use picmoney when making graphics! I don’t normally use any photos but just do text with a few png overalls. I think I’m going to check out OverStock because I am no where near a creative enough for photography! Haha.

    1. I tried picmonkey but for some reason I just wasn’t getting the hang of it. I like things to be SUPER straight forward so things like photoshop and picmonkey confuse me. Paint.Net is a little bit easier, even though it’s still the same sort of set up — I use it for really basic things haha. Also, yeah, I suck at photography. I also only have an iPhone 6 and have no patience to edit photos hahah

  2. Fantastic post, Molly ?

    I would have definitely thought you made all your designs on Photoshop because they’re really professional looking! Even though Canva confuses me and I prefer Photoshop/Illustrator it’s such a helpful resource. And thanks for the links to those market places! I’ll definitely have to do some exploring.

    1. Thank you! Also, perfect example that everyone is different! Photoshop confuses the HECK out of me. I spent HOURS watching Youtube tutorials just to figure out how to create a transparent background and still couldn’t do it xD

      1. Haha, that’s totally understandable. I still get confused by it too and I’ve been using it for like 7 years and have a certificate in Digital Media, haha! I love that things like Canva exist though because it really allows people to explore design and it’s a great place to start!

        1. haha see! That thing is confusing at times! xD And I agree. Canva and other free design resources are great for people that don’t know what the heck they’re doing but want to dabble in graphic design πŸ™‚

  3. These are great tips! I’ve only recently discovered Canva and I really like it! I’ve always used Picmonkey and I’ve found it to be pretty good too. Thank you for all these resources! πŸ˜€

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. I tried Picmonkey but I just couldn’t get into it haha Canva is like 9238902 times easier. BUT, it doesn’t allow certain editing like Picmonkey, that’s when I use Paint.Net lol Glad they were helpful πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks for sharing!!! It’s so nice that people are being more open about what programs they use. When I first started blogging everyone was MUCH more secretive and I had to do so much playing around to find sites to use to make graphics. I still suck at making them, but at least now I know what people are using to make the pretty ones and I can dream that I’ll magically be able to do it someday πŸ™‚

    1. I get that! I think there has to be a bit of a balance in what you share and what you don’t. I want to be helpful to my readers, that’s the point of these posts, but I also don’t want to give away everything and then my site not be unique in any way. So, there are a few sites that I use ALL the time, but didn’t share them here. But I feel like I still gave enough for people to get going. Canva really is, basically, my only source for designing headers. So, I gave away all my secrets for that one lol Glad I could help πŸ™‚

  5. I definitely agree that Canva is a very easy website to use for photo editing! I used it for a while for my header posts since I don’t always have time to open my Photoshop on my laptop, and since Canva can also be used on an iPad or tablet with the app, it’s very convenient!

    I’ve also never heard of Gratisography before! Hm… I better look around there for a while. xD

    Great post as always, Molly! Thank you so much for introducing your best blog design resources!

    1. Yeah, Canva is just easier for organization and keeping the things you want to use all in one place (like fonts, images, etc.) For some one like me, it’s perfect. I like things SUPER easy haha xD

      Also, thank you πŸ˜€ I’m glad I could help a little.

  6. I use Canva for the headers on the blog posts. I seriously love it. I don’t pay for it since I’m not that creative. Whenever I get that creativeness, I will pay haha. I love this post! I’m definitely saving it. Thanks, Molly!

    1. It’s the easiest to use! Honestly, the free version is just fine. I pay for it more out of laziness haha. I like that all my things are saved on the “business templates” page. and I can easily add fonts without knowing any tech things. It also automatically resizes my images, which is helpful for me since I use two sizes for all my posts. I’m glad you liked this post! πŸ˜€

  7. This is sooo cool! I love Canva, it lets me add my own splash of (very simple) colour and design to my blog. I’ve been wondering if the work version is worth it though — especially for someone who is only doing the basics in it?

    1. If you’re just doing a few small designs, I wouldn’t say it’s worth it. Here’s why I like Canva for Work:
      1. It’s easy to organize uploads and designs into folders.
      2. I’m not tech savvy, and CfW makes it super easy to add custom fonts.
      3. You can instantly change the sizes of designs without having to completely REMAKE the design. Which is helpful for me since I use two different sizes for my posts’ featured images. One is the main featured image which is square, and the other is the pinterest sized image within the post. CfW allows me to just click a few buttons and it automatically resizes and rescales the graphic for me.

      So, I’d say if you don’t have a lot of knowledge with photoshop, illustrator, paint.net or other programs like that, Canva for Work is really nice. But, if you’re just adding some basic font over a PNG, then maybe it’s not worth it. I think they have a free trial. Maybe try that out and see if its worth it for you?

      I hope that helped!

  8. What, I use Canva, and even I didn’t think you made most of your stuff from there! It looks so professional and gorgeous! πŸ˜„

    For my blog design, my main use is Canva! That’s where most of my graphics and blog buttons were created. I also use Freepik for the background, and I hate myself for not finding it sooner, because it’s amazing. ❀ And then I take my own bookish photos when I’m not lazy. πŸ˜‚ When I started out, I literally googled borders and just used the first one I found! Thankfully, I found out that was wrong and changed to arrows lol

    And, ah, I can’t believe you like my featured images! Never thought I’d see the day that one of my blogging faves when it comes to design would like mine! 😘

    1. Yep! I keep it simple with Canva. I use more “professional” programs for certain things, but Canva is just SO easy I use it for 99% of my blog stuff.

      And awwwww, that makes me happy to know I’m someones blog fave hehe πŸ™‚

  9. I usually find my pictures on Pinterest and sometimes add in some of my bookstagram pics! Photoshop is my go-to when it comes to editing pictures and creating graphics! I love the part about the design market place; will be checking that one out!

    1. You just have to make sure you give credit to the photos you find! That’s the only downside of using pinterest or google. Photoshop is a great one! I just like super simple things for my blog and Canva is a life saver haha

  10. I couldn’t do anything without Canva. I love how easy it is to use it. I’ve never looked at design marketplaces though but maybe I should ~

  11. Great post! Design is something I really need to work on but am just no good at. I do like Canva though. It’s so easy to use. I didn’t even know about the design marketplaces so I definitely plan to check those out. Thanks for always posting such helpful tips!

  12. I remember reading this about a year ago when you posted– I’m so glad you re-blogged this! It’s easy to let little things like this go. I’m not great at design, but this Friday inspiration will certainly get me working on some design this weekend. Thanks for that! πŸ˜€

      1. It never occurred to me to recycle a post– but these sorts of reminders are great. I’ve already found some amazing new things I want to try and incorporate into my blog. I just need to make the time to do it. O_o

        1. To be honest, it didn’t occur to me either until I REALLY had no drive to write an entirely new post haha. It came in handy! I’m glad you found this one helpful πŸ™‚

  13. I use Canva too, Molly, and yes, it’s like a life saver. I use the free one though but I’m planning on using the paid one. Yay, you just encouraged me to do it. OMG, lots of apps I didn’t know, so thank you so very much. Love YOU! 😘❀️

    1. Definitely do it for like a month just so you can get your brand stuff in order! That way you can have all the fonts you want and the colors preset πŸ™‚ Glad this was helpful!

  14. Ooh these are great! The one thing I REALLY wish I had the Canva for Work thing for is the fonts- but knowing that I can unsubscribe and keep them might be good motivation πŸ˜‰ I do pay for the PicMonkey one because it is a lot cheaper- and that way I can use my own fonts. I always think about buying the packages too, but then I wonder if I will really use all the stuff, and then I chicken out. But I DO always stalk the freebies! And now I am stalking Design Cuts’ freebies, so thanks for that! This is such a great post!

    1. Ah, if PicMonkey does the same thing, then just stick with that! I used Canva first so that’s just what I stuck with – it made more sense to me lol I’m glad you found some use for this though πŸ™‚