I’m certain you’ve seen them countless times. A small, square graphic with images and text, usually with some pithy or inspirational quote, as it scrolls across your Facebook newsfeed. You may have thought, “You probably need to be a graphic designer to do that and have the proper equipment and software.” Well, you don’t, really. You may be reading this on a device which is already equipped with everything you need to create an eye-catching, shareable graphic.
Let’s discuss why graphics like this can be effective.
- They stand out.
- They’re easy to share.
- They can’t be changed or distorted.
The easiest way to make one is by starting with whatever document-creation application you’re most comfortable using. It can be one of the Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel or Powerpoint or even Notepad in Windows or Stickies on the Mac. I used Powerpoint to create the graphic above for Scrambled Eggs (a new comedy opening in New York on April 27, 2013).
Craft the message you want to present, including text and images, leaving plenty of white-space (or blank-space, if your background isn’t white) around the margin. Add a border if you wish, as I did above. While you’re working, pay attention to the size of graphic, particularly to the aspect ratio (the ratio of the width to the height). For Facebook, an ideal size is about 4.2 in. wide by 2.6 in. high. This will translate well to the three most popular devices on which people use Facebook: desktop/laptop computer, iPad and iPhone. If you click on the graphic above it will take you to a full-size rendering of the image. Feel free to download this as a size guide to your own graphic.
Once you’ve created an image that fits inside these dimensions and conveys the message you desire, use a screenshot tool to capture the image to your device. You’ll use a method that either allows you to capture the screenshot in the dimensions you want to use (Command-Shift-4 on a Mac) or allows you to cut and paste the image into a photo editor to crop and adjust to the correct dimensions (PrintScrn on Windows). See the excellent video tutorials below on how to capture screenshots on the different platforms.
I developed this method because it doesn’t require knowledge of any complicated graphical tools such as Photoshop and because I can reliably do it on just about anyone’s device regardless of what software they have installed. This has come about because I am often helping someone when I’m away from my own computer. I hope this helps you, too. Drop me a line and let me know how I can improve this post.