Tired of your Twitter and YouTube backgrounds with their stock designs or crazy tiled images? Envious of those with really awesome backgrounds - say, Alaska State Troopers
or the Justice Department
for example? I was, so some time ago, I set out to make my own.
Google research on the topic yielded the following options:
1) Pay someone to do it (not an option for me, and, I suspect, you)
2) Use a “free” template, but live with the tacky “Made by _____.com “ logo (no, thanks)
3) Make it yourself
Naturally, I went with option three.
However, I am no graphic artist, nor do I have access to high-powered graphic and photo editing software. Nonetheless, I was able to cobble together a pair of half-decent backgrounds (see here
) using … a free image capture download and PowerPoint. Here are a few tips:
• A banner down the left rail of your Twitter feed should be no wider than 200 pixels
• A good size for a YouTube background is 1600 x 1200 pixels, with designs down the right and left rails
• PowerPoint can be a handy graphic design tool because of its capacity for text effects and layering of images, text, and color.
• An image capture tool is great for copying images off your desktop (screen) and saving as .jpg files.
• You can also save PowerPoint slides as images.
• Microsoft Picture Manager (on everyone’s standard Office machine) can be used to crop an image to the appropriate size.
I freely admit that mine was a seriously caveman way of making graphics, but hey, it worked. I have since discovered www.gimp.org
, among other free online tools, which makes the process of graphic editing easy and accessible. They are summarized in this how to
from Mashable along with precise steps for changing your background (what to click) and file dimension specifications.
So, consider flexing your creative muscle by making your own custom background. Think of it as your shop front – the gateway to your content: make it look nice and folks will want to come in and see what you have to offer.