I’ll let you in on a little secret of mine. I’m esthetically challenged.
Now I’ve been doing enough work online to know how I want my stuff to look, however I couldn’t do it myself even if my life depended on it.
You’ve probably heard of Adobe Photoshop, any web designer’s main tool. I wouldn’t know what to do with it even if I invested in it.
Well – let me not sound too much of a purist, I do in fact own a copy of the excellent Pixelmator for mac that’s a really cheap alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
However because I got the tools doesn’t really mean that I know how to use it – and quite frankly I don’t want to put in all the hours to learn how to be a design ninja (and I’d have to spend A LOT of hours to learn it ;)).
Later in this blog I will share with you an awesome tool for creating stunning screenshots that I found, but for now let me tell you about the three kinds of strategies I use for sourcing graphic work.
1) Find free graphics
I mainly do this for images for my blog and other content images. I’ve blogged about this in the past, but recently I’ve used the site freepik.com quite a bit.
Freepik is really just a search engine that aggregates content from other free image sources. I’ve found both images as well as illustrations on there that I’ve used (mainly for my blog).
2) Buy done for you graphics
This is typically something that I do whenever I need a complete website design. I simply go to either WooThemes (I’m a member of their theme club) or ThemeForest.net that has a lot of beautiful WordPress themes.
Sometimes I might also buy a certain image if I need a very specific one I can’t find for free.
3) Do small design jobs done on Fiverr.com and elance.com
I think that Fiverr.com is fantastic and groundbreaking service. I’ve certainly gotten quite a few logos and banners done for five bucks a pop. I’ll probably be able to share the latest logo I’ve had designed soon when I discuss a website I just launched.
For these kinds of small design gigs my first attempt is always Fiverr. It’s not always that I’m completely satisfied, but then again I’m no perfectionist. If I’m not satisfied at all, I can always just pay another five bucks or I can pay a little more on a place like elance.com.
I’ve wanted to try out 99 designs for a while, but I’ve been too cheap to do so. Maybe in the future.
And that are basically the strategies I use for getting graphical work done – I rarely pay a lot for it, and I certainly don’t get entire websites done from scratch (although I’m currently thinking about doing something new with this blog).
But what about screenshots with a macbook frame?
This was really my initial problem.
For the new website I was launching I needed an image with a macbook running a certain website.
I kind of expected a tool to be able to do this, but the only thing I found was an app for the iPhone that could create images of an iPhone with your screenshot in. Not exactly what I wanted.
So I decided I should probably try to hack something together in Pixelmator like finding an image of a Macbook and then add my screenshot on top of that, but I also knew that
- the result would be awful and
- I would spend way too much time on something really simple
So I put the task on the back burner and really expected that I would probably find someone on Fiverr to do it.
But as I came around to doing it, I found myself searching for an online tool to do it again. I mean, I can hardly see myself being the only one needing this.
And I found placeit
Not only does it produce gorgeous looking screenshots (not only with a macbook frame), it’s also dead easy to use and has a free option. If you need the screenshots in high resolution you need to pay for them.
In my case the free option was perfect and I managed to create six different versions in 15 minutes with actually creating the screenshots I wanted taking up the most time. Placing them inside placeit was a question of a few minutes (and the fact that I got lousy upload speeds with my internet provider here in Thailand).
Below are a few sample images I quickly created with their tool.
I can certainly see myself using this tool for projects as well.
What I like about this tool is that it enables you as someone without any design skills, to create something truly stunning in a couple of minutes.
Actually I got so carried away that I instantly tweeted about it.
So what do you think of placeit, are you as excited as I am? And how do you get your graphical work done?
Let me know in the comments.