A few friends have asked how I made Desmond’s monthly birthday graphics so I thought it would be fun to do a tutorial so you can make your own!
In this post, I’ll talk about getting your materials together. Next time, I’ll go through more of a step-by-step guide in the software itself. And speaking of software…
I use the program Adobe Fireworks to create mine, and if you’re into following this step-by-step, go ahead and download a free trial of the software from Adobe. If you use it and love it and want your own, you can subscribe to Adobe Cloud which will give you access to ALL Adobe products including crowd favorites like Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. If paying for Adobe isn’t realistic for you, you may be able to follow along for the most part and use some other software that you do have access to or that you prefer.
An aside about software: I feel like I should let you know (as I struggle to see this through the tears forming in my eyes) that Adobe announced last year that they will no longer be developing Fireworks, but that the current version, CS6, will continue to be available for use. If you’re starting out, you may want to consider using Photoshop out of the gate so that you become familiar with a product that will absolutely continue to be developed. Photoshop is far and away the more popular tool, but since I am a Fireworks girl through and through, I’m going to keep on keeping on with Fireworks until I’m forced against my will to do otherwise. Okay? Okay. Moving on…
The options for choosing a color palette are unlimited. You could stick to the same colors every month or use different ones. If you’re not inclined to make your own palette, check out Design Seeds, my favorite online resource for color. I use this site on a daily basis to find and then sample color combos I love. With Desmond’s graphics, I didn’t really pick a palette. The focus is his pictures more than the surrounding elements. That’s an option for you too!
In the background of Des’ monthly graphics, I used a chalkboard image that I purchased as a stock photo on BigStock.com for some previous project and then recycled for this. Similar sites that offer stock photography and awesome backgrounds include Shutterstock and Getty Images. As a graphic designer, I already have a subscription to Big Stock because I use it all the time but if you’re just dabbling and don’t want to pay, take your own texture photos. They’re more original anyways!
Keep it in the back of your mind to snap textures pictures if you stumble upon something while out and about. Even if you don’t have a specific use in mind at the moment, you might be glad you have it later when you do become inspired. At the beach? Grab a quick sand close-up. Kiddo finger-painting? Zoom in and get that close-up for a pop of great background color.
Below I’ve included a few texture shots I took in and around my home. Texture is everywhere – get creative, Mommas!
What the font are you talking about, Mojo, my computer comes fully loaded with hundreds of fonts. Why would I need to download others? Well, you certainly don’t have to but it’s fun if you do! Check out the free fonts on Font Squirrel and daFont.
It’s easy to get carried away when choosing fonts because there are so many available! Here’s a rule to remember so that your graphic doesn’t end up looking cRaZy BuSy and DisTraCtiNg. Choose only 2 fonts – one basic serif or sans serif (this could be a post of its own – more on this some other time if you’re interested) and one fancy font.
For consistency sake, I’ve chosen to use Museo (an ultimate fave of mine and one I’ve actually purchased) for my standard font every month and then I switch up the fancy font to add a bit of interest.
You can handle this part easiest of all because, if you’re like me, you take hundreds of photos of your baby ALL THE TIME.
I’d suggest choosing a location that will be available every month because it really shows the monthly changes in your little one. You might prefer variety though and so do whatever strikes you! I also take my photo off-center so that I can feature the specific month directly over the photo – just another stylistic preference.
Let’s recap, shall we?:
- Determine the photo software you’ll use
- Choose your colors
- Pick a background image
- Consider fonts
- Photograph your baby
If you prep these initial steps now, you’ll be ready to rock for part 2 of this post next week.
Questions? Leave them in the comments.