Anyone who has followed me on Twitter knows that my sister-in-law Kylie is very clever and has written an App for Apple phones that lets users create check lists for all sorts of projects from moving house, organising a party and so on. The App is called Check It Plus and it is very cool. Anyway, Kylie asks me if I might design the graphic for an ad to go on Facebook and LinkedIn. I say “Why not?” and the rest is history.
To be honest, I had o idea what was involved. I do fantasy and science fiction pics not straight graphic design. Could I even do straight graphic design. Doubt struck.
But then I thought “How hard can it be?”
Famous last words? Apparently not because Google tells us everything.
So how big should I make the ad?
Google says “1200 x 627 pixels”.
Ok. So I open us Photoshop (though probably any similar package will do) and create an appropriately sized canvas. I checked out a couple of graphics that Kylie had sent me. Ok, an icon type thing and a screenshot. I can work with that. Nice purplish colour on the icon. Let’s make that the theme colour.
So I dragged these onto my Photoshop canvas and looked at them, played with positioning and thought to myself “what does a Facebook ad actually look like?” Guess what, I Googled that very question. First I looked in the images search. Then I looked in the all. One interesting thisg that I discovered was that Facebook only like text to fill about 20% of the ad.
Hmmmmmm. <— That’s me demonstrating deep thought.
I chose to interpret the screenshot )with all its text) as an image and not as text. Cool! But if this is to be the case let’s make it perfectly clear. I needed a phone-type shape behind it. Ah! I opened up MS Word, created a blank document and created a black rectangle with curvy corners. I then copied it across and placed it in a layer beneath the screenshot of the app. Perfect! So I have this:
Hmmmmmmm <– more deep thought.
There is an awful lot of nothing there. How do I fill it?
So I let my brain go into washing machine mode – you know, where everything tumbles around and you ask yourself questions such as “what is the app doing for the user?” and “how do I demonstrate its use in a graphic way?” and “how far away is the nearest chocolate and/or alcohol?”. At which point some strange little voice in my head said “Hey Greg, what about a chart in Excel to show progress?”
Now I don’t often listen to the voices in my head because it usually turns out really difficult to dispose of the evidence, but in this case the voice had a good point. So I created two columns in an Excel spreadsheet: one to represent a successful project where its achievements just keep getting better and a project which eventually falls apart. I just gave nominal figures and then created a chart from them.
Hmmmmmmm <– yep, you know by now what I am doing.
It lacked something. Something to indicate success or failure. So back into Word where I cleverly created some little boxes that I could copy and paste repeatedly over the columns in the chart.
I then put these together in Photoshop and got this:
Now it was starting to look like an ad. Time for the text and I already had some that Kylie had given me. I just had to place it nicely.
It looked half finished. I was not satisfied.
I checked out images of ads again and realised that I needed to add the Apple Store icon. But even with that I was not happy. Then I thought “It needs a catch phrase”. And that little voice said “Check for Success”.
The I thought “Not bad for an amateur job”. Lots of white space and cohesive colouring. Cool.
Then I emailed this to Kyle who responded with a”Wow!”. That was so satisfying. So a big thanks to Kylie for trusting me.
And there you have it, how I created an ad which is being used on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Thanks for reading.