Do you keep seeing the same stock photos on blogs and Pinterest?
There is an easy way to create pins with unique images in your brand colours that stand out on Pinterest home feed.
You don’t need to be a designer or photographer.
And, best of all, it’s free!
Instead of using stock photos, another option is to use vectors. Vectors are computer graphics that can be scaled to any size without becoming pixelated. The colours can also be changed to match your brand.
To create pins with vectors, you will need a software programme than can edit vector files (.ai, .svg, .eps files) such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW. A free alternative to these programmes is Inkscape.
There are lots of awesome images available for free, although you do usually need to include attribution. Recently, I’ve found lots of fab images on Freepik. Read on to find out how to create pins with unique images using vectors from Freepik in 10 easy steps.
How to use Inkscape and vector images to create pins that stand out
First off, my apologies, I wanted to do a video to go with this post but the screen capture programme was making Inkscape misbehave for some reason. If you would like clarification on any part of the process, drop a comment below or email me at email@example.com.
1. Search Freepik for vectors
Go to Freepik.com and search for your vector images. If you’ll be using a couple of different elements, it’s worth trying to find them within the same file so they will have the same style, but this isn’t essential. You have the option of filtering it to just show vectors, as Freepik does have some photos, Photoshop templates and icons as well as vectors.
2. Download and unzip
Click on the ‘free download’ button. You are given the option to sign up for a premium license from $9.99/month. If you have a premium license you don’t need to include an attribution link on your website. If you want to use it for free you will need to make a note of the attribution information so you can properly credit the author.
Once you’ve downloaded the file, unzip the .ai file.
3. Open in Inkscape
Right click on the unzipped .ai file and select ‘open with’ then choose Inkscape from your list of programmes. This will open a window called ‘PDF import settings.’ Leave the settings as they are and click OK.
4. Ungroup the vectors
In order to edit the vectors you’ll need to ungroup them. Select them and press Shift+Ctrl+G to ungroup them. You can now either edit them within the same file, or copy and paste the elements that you want into a new Inkscape file.
5. Resize the page for Pinterest
The ideal size for a pin on Pinterest is 735 px width by at least 1102 px height. This gives a lovely vertical pin that will stand out in the feed.
To resize your page go to File > Document properties (or Shift+Ctrl+D). Under custom size you can then set your own width and height.
6. Change the vectors’ colours
Select the part of the vector you want to change colour. Go to the ‘Fill and Stroke’ box in the tools towards the right hand side of the screen. You can also use Shift+Ctrl+F.
You can toggle between the fill and stroke colours, as well as the stroke style. On the ‘Fill’ tab you can choose flat colour, different types of gradients, and patterns. I’ve used flat colour for my pin design, but you can get some really nice effects with gradients and patterns, so have a play around with these tools.
When choosing the colour you have the option of adjusting the colour using RGB, HSL, CMYK, colour wheel, CMS tabs or hex code in the bottom right corner. I personally find it easiest to work with hex codes as I have hex codes for my brand colours saved and ready for copying and pasting.
It’s worth noting that the hex code is actually 8 characters. The first six characters are the standard hex code and the last two relate to the transparency with 00 being completely transparent and FF being completely opaque. (You can also adjust the transparency using the slider labelled A in any of the colour adjustment tabs).
7. Resize the vectors
If you click on objects while on the select tool, handles appear on the corners that you can drag to resize them. However, this will distort and stretch them.
If you want the vectors to keep their proportions, you should use the Transform tool. You can find this under Object > Transform or Shift+Ctrl+M. Go to the ‘Scale’ tab and change the width and/or height. I find it easiest to work in percentages. If you tick the box that says ‘scale proportionally’ your vectors won’t get all stretched and weird looking.
8. Draw shapes
To add an overlay, select one of the shape tools and draw the shape you want. You can change the colours in the same way as when you edited the colours earlier.
You can raise and lower objects through layers of the image. This can make interesting effects- I’ve raised some of the watermelon slices over the yellow rectangle.
9. Add some text
It’s always a good idea to include text when you create pins. Experiment with different text options and see which one gets more clicks.
When it comes to choosing which font to use, make sure that you can read it easily. Remember that pins will be small in the Pinterest feed. Your font needs to be in a contrasting colour to the background and don’t go overboard with script fonts! They might look pretty, but they are not always easy to read.
Inkscape comes pre-installed with lots of fonts, but you can also download and install fonts that aren’t included.
10. Export vectors as PNG files
Once you’re happy with your beautiful pin you will need to export it as a PNG so that you can upload it to your website. Click on ‘Export PNG Image’ or Shift+Ctrl+E.
Change the export area to the ‘Page’ tab, otherwise any parts of the vector that have overlapped the page edges will be included in your exported image.
Before uploading your lovely pin, make sure it is compressed so it doesn’t slow down your site. I use TinyPNG.