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Wait…Microsoft Paint Still Exists?!

Yes it still exists. And it can be a fantastic tool for creating fast, and free, graphics!

Images constitute a huge chunk of content marketing today — especially eye-catching photos or graphics that stand out on our social media streams. In order to create a good image, it’s easy to think you’ll need to spend money on Photoshop or a similar high-quality editing program, or on access to unique fonts and colors. Not quite — as long as you have an eye for design, you can get by without spending a dime.

I do have to qualify this post and say that there is a difference in quality between Photoshop and Paint. However, if you’re only looking to add some flair to your all-text posts or you don’t have the budget for Photoshop, you can definitely get by without forking over a few hundred dollars. I feel very comfortable using images I’ve made in Paint for clients’ pages, and here’s how:

Types of images:

Like most programs, Paint works better with some types of images than others. Photos usually do not look good after you’ve saved them in Paint; however, graphics look just fine. The most common images I create include:

  • Blog posts pull quotes: Sometimes, a good photo works well with a blog. Other times, you may want to pull out a punchy quote. Why not make the quote into a graphic?
  • Dates/events: To announce an event, use paint to make a graphic for social media. Also, you could make a series of graphics to count down to an event.
  • Inspirational quotes: I’ve said this before in previous posts, but I often notice inspirational quotes and sayings perform well on social media pages, regardless of the audience. Spice up the quote by turning into a graphic in Paint.
  • Other text-based posts: Things like hashtags, or even recipes can all be made more eye-catching through Paint.

I definitely wouldn’t give up photos completely, but when it comes to text, what’s more likely to get noticed, this:

Status: Hey everyone, don’t forget! Our big event is this weekend, so get ready! 3 days. #EventName2014

Or this:

Status: Get pumped. (With accompanying photo)

Fast Graphics in Microsoft Paint

 

How to do it:

Step 1: Find a background

Decide what color scheme you’d like to employ and head to Google Images and search for “COLOR Background.” Make sure the images you use have the appropriate copyright for reuse and modification, by clicking “Search Tools > Usage Rights > Labeled for reuse with modification.” This will significantly limit your search results, but it will keep you protected from violating any usage rights.

Decide what color scheme you’d like to employ and head to Google Images and search for “COLOR Background.” Make sure the images you use have the appropriate copyright for reuse and modification, by clicking “Search Tools > Usage Rights > Labeled for reuse with modification.” This will significantly limit your search results, but it will keep you protected from violating any usage rights.

Fast Graphics in Microsoft Paint

 

It is possible to use a photo as a background, but like I said earlier, I recommend against this. Sadly, Paint tends to destroy photo quality.

Step 2: Create a template in Paint

Because Paint’s editing tools are so limited, it’s best to create a template first (which can include your logo/twitter profile/hashtags), and then put in the text. Otherwise, you’ll have to start from scratch each time. My favorite templates include the business name, twitter profile and a hashtag, if appropriate.

Use the TEXT tool to create text boxes for the labels. I typically copy and paste the company logo from Facebook right into Paint, before shrinking the logo down.

Fast Graphics in Microsoft Paint

 

After adding in the logo and text:

Fast Graphics in Microsoft Paint

 

I save this template and open it every time I want to create a new image with this theme.

Step 3: Add your final text

Use the text tool again, and create your main text. Make sure you click “File > Save As” (as opposed to “File > Save”) so you can keep your original template.

Fast Graphics in Microsoft Paint

 

Final Tips:

  • Play around with the font — Paint has a wide variety of fonts to choose from. There’s no need to stick to Calibri or Arial.
  • Don’t click out of the text box until you’ve positioned it perfectly – Unfortunately, once you click out of the text box, you’re stuck. You’ll have to delete the text entirely by clicking “Edit > Undo.”
  • Do the best you can with left justification – Paint also won’t allow you to center your text. This requires that you be flexible and move the textbox around to get the text to look centered.

As you can see, there are a few limitations in Paint, but cost benefits far outweigh them. This is a chance to get creative with your social media content, and your followers will appreciate it.

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