Protected: HostGator Giveaway

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


Read More at Protected: HostGator Giveaway

from Web Design Ledger


Video Overlay Effect in Premiere Pro

Dansky_How to Create a Video Overlay Effect in Adobe Premiere Pro

In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to create a video overlay effect in Adobe Premiere Pro.

The Steps (1-11)

1. Create a New Project in Premiere Pro.

2. Go to File > Import and select the video footage that you wish to import into the project.


3. Drag the imported footage on to the Timeline to create a Sequence. The settings for the Sequence will be determined by the footage that you are importing.

4. To create the colour overlay, go to Title > New Title > Default Still, and specify a name for the new Title.


5. Once the workspace appears for the new title screen, select the Rectangle Tool and create a shape that is 100% the height and width of the workspace. There are a number of different options that can also be specified on the right-hand side in the Title Properties window.

6. Select the Fill Type dropdown, and change Solid to Linear Gradient. On the Gradient Slider displayed below, Double-click each of the swatches individually to select a different colour.


7. Left-click anywhere on the Gradient Slider to add a new colour swatch on to the gradient. Similarly, you can Left-click and Drag an existing swatch off of the Gradient Slider to remove it altogether.

8. For this tutorial, Double-click both of the default swatches on the Gradient Slider, and set one swatch to pink, and the other swatch to purple. Both colours should now blend into one-another seamlessly.


9. At the top of the Title Properties window, you can also adjust the Opacity to allow the video footage to show through the gradient overlay that we’ve created. For this tutorial, the Opacity was set to 70%.

10. Left-click the ‘x’ in the title bar at the top of the screen to exit out of the title workspace and return to the main project view (doing this will not close the application).


11. The new Title should now be listed in the Project Folder, and can be dragged on to the Timeline. Drag the newly created Title on to the Timeline above the existing footage. By default, the Title will have a preset length, but by Left-clicking and dragging on the right end of the Title, this can be increased/decreased to match the length of the footage underneath.


Download Adobe Premiere Pro.

Read More at Video Overlay Effect in Premiere Pro

from Web Design Ledger

WDL Shop: Get a 1-year subscription to Adobe CC Photography Plan

Looking to perfect your photo editing skills? This week on the WebDesignLedger Shop, we’re featuring a 1-year Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan + Training Bundle for only $129.99. That’s an 89% discount off the sticker price of $1,200! This bundle gives you full access to the benefits of the Adobe community with access to an extensive library of video tutorials to get you up to speed quickly and help master new skills.

WDL Adobe CC Bundle


What’s included:

  • Photoshop and Lightroom 12-month subscription. Perfect to help you fine-tune your photo editing skills. ($120 value)
  • Photoshop CC Camera Raw Training ($180 value)
  • Photoshop CC Color Management Training ($180 value)
  • Photoshop CC Fundamentals Training ($180 value)
  • Photoshop CC Selections Training ($180 value)
  • Lightroom CC/6 Fundamentals Training ($180 value)
  • Lightroom CC/6 Slideshow Training ($180 value)

Your subscription will be available for instant digital download after purchase. There are 5 days left to grab this amazing Adobe bundle so hurry to the WebDesignLedger Shop before it’s before it’s gone!


Read More at WDL Shop: Get a 1-year subscription to Adobe CC Photography Plan

from Web Design Ledger

Amazon brings its Dash buttons to the UK for ordering staples with one touch

After unleashing them across the US last July, Amazon has now made its Dash buttons available to customers in the UK. The pillbox-sized devices, which can be stuck to any surface around your house, connect to your home Wi-Fi network and your Amazon account to allow you to order a replenishment of a wide range of household essentials, including Ariel detergent, Gillette shaving cream, Durex condoms, Andrex toilet paper and Huggies diapers with the press of a button. Although they cost £4.99 apiece, they’re basically free as each button scores you a £4.99 discount on the first order you place…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web

Multi-Color Gradients in Adobe Muse

Muse For You - Gradient Background Widget - Adobe Muse CC 2015.2

Add Multi-Color Gradients to your Adobe Muse website. No Coding Skills Required.

Muse For You - Adobe Muse CC Adobe Muse CC Logo

In this tutorial I go over how to add a multi-color gradient to your Adobe Muse website. We will be using the “Gradient Background” widget found at

Muse For You - Gradient Background Widget - Adobe Muse CC 2015.2

1. Drag and drop the “Gradient Background” widget onto your Adobe Muse website from the library panel. If you do not see the library panel go to Window—>Library.

2. If you would like to add a gradient to the background of your website type in “html” in the graphic style section.

3. Click on “Drag Gradients” in the widget to visit the “Drag Gradients” website. Here you can create a custom gradient background with as many colors as you’d like. There are also a few presets that you can choose from.

4. Copy the “Drag Gradients” code and paste into the “Gradient Background” widget.

5. Preview page in browser and view the gradient background on your website.

6. If you would like to assign a gradient to an individual element on your Adobe Muse website simply assign a graphic style name to the element via the graphic styles panel, and change the graphic style name in the widget to match the element. This will assign the gradient to that element. This works well with rectangles or circles added using the rectangle tool or ellipse tool in Adobe Muse.

7. Done.

Gradients can add a nice touch to your website. One of my favorite designs is the multi-color gradients used at Now with the “Gradient Background” widget you can add a similar effect to your Adobe Muse website.

Watch the video above for a demonstration on how to add multi-color gradients to your Adobe Muse website.

For more video tutorials and widgets for Adobe Muse visit:

Happy Musing :).

Read More at Multi-Color Gradients in Adobe Muse

from Web Design Ledger

What Website Makers Have Been Missing Until Now


Written by Kira Goldring

Simbla online database website maker

When the first cell phone was created in 1973, no one would have guessed that just forty years later the majority of the population would unfailingly rely on them for a plethora of things that have nothing to do with calling another person. In the last decade or so, a device that began as a means of communicating with others on the go has morphed into a mini-computer that can be carried around in your pocket, answer most of your questions, and entertain you ’till the sun goes down. And carried they are; these ubiquitous smartphones have generated a forty percent increase in mobile phone users over the last fifteen years, for the underlying reason that they serve our needs. Yes, that 1973 cell phone was a wonderful first step for mankind, but it was apparent that that’s all it was: a first step. The smartphone, on the other hand, was the real prize.

In the realm of DIY website making, we are still stuck on that first step; we’ve only succeeded insofar as to create basic websites to self-market our brands, a nice feat in itself but not even close to enough. What we are still lacking is the autonomy to push the boundaries of website making; if we want to add things like an online database or web applications to our websites, we’re right back at square one—needing to appeal to external, expensive resources, hire third-party developers or acquire widgets to do the job for us. It’s time to revolutionize the way we think about website makers and the capabilities they afford us, to realize that what they allow us to do barely scratches the surface of what we need to be able to accomplish independently. Until now, website building has just been the pretty face on a much bigger canvas that has never been painted before: a complete online business environment.

Easy to navigate database list
Registered user panel
Role system interface
Database table panel


For the first time in website-making history, Simbla has bravely jumped into the revolutionary bath and came out unscathed, by integrating a UI/UX environment with a brand new online database that can also produce web-based applications. This unprecedented combination is what will drive the future of website making, i.e. the ability for SMBs to create an entire online business environment by themselves, without having to turn to outside sources for help.

Before we broach the subject of this unparalleled database, let’s explore some of Simbla’s more well-known features as a website maker. Their UI/UX platform encompasses a number of useful tools to assist anyone from beginner to expert in making their website:

  • Responsive—The websites are compatible with both computer and mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, so you only have to make your website once.
  • Drag and Drop—So easy a baby could do it. Simply click on the design blocks you like, drag them wherever you want them positioned onto your page, and voila—your layout is complete. Unlike with some of the other website makers available, Simbla’s platform doesn’t lock the users in to using rigid or strict templates when choosing the design of their sites.
  • SEO friendly—Because Simbla’s sites are HTML5 based, all the content you insert is read as text which is picked up by search engines like Google. On top of this, Simbla provides a number of features that further enhances your site’s SEO.
  • Design tools—Graphic designers, you’ll enjoy this one! To ensure that your websites appear sleek, Simbla offers a theme maker, which will instantly change the overall look of your website while preserving the content, background images that include video backgrounds, and an easy-to-use parallax effect.


Designers heaven

Designer heaven


But the newest and most key feature on top of all of this is the addition of an online database builder to Simbla’s website-making package. This means you can now create your own database tables, define columns, add records, organize the data in an efficient and intuitive manner, and control who has permission to access it and how, by managing who can modify, create, obtain and remove data sets. You’ll have the ability to decide who the users are and establish their roles, and you won’t be limited to choosing one setting for everyone; you can individually customize who can perform which actions by assigning rights to different users, such as “read,” “delete,” “create,” “get,” and “update.” Setting up the database and its permissions is simple, and it can be easily incorporated into your website.

Easy to edit table interface
Add record form
Database driven gallery final result


The future of third-party web widgets is at stake here, because the database you create with Simbla will give you the option to use “database widgets” that will connect to your online database and allow you to do things like create a login page for registered users, create a search form filtering the returned results and allow users to view, edit and add records. The newly registered users will then be shown in the database area. Owing to the sizable amount of options the widgets offer, users can choose to combine these app widgets and create their own basic data-driven applications, or produce more complex ones by utilizing a custom JavaScript API to suit their individual needs for database requests. In addition to the tailored applications users can construct, Simbla is in the midst of creating ready-made web applications that users will be able to choose from to perform complex processes, such as managing leads and clients, controlling sale processes, utilizing a straightforward blog system and more.

New features on the way

New features on the way


This integration of web-based applications with a database builder and UI/UX environment is a mind-blowing leap for SMBs: Finally, the smartphone of website makers has arrived. The possibilities it can afford you as a business are vast, cementing the point that Simbla has journeyed where no other website maker has before. You can now have your cake and eat it too: It’s time to upgrade from simply making websites to establishing a complete online business environment—you owe it to yourself. Thanks to Simbla, your need has finally been met.


Read More at What Website Makers Have Been Missing Until Now

from Web Design Ledger

Instagram Stories: How 18 Brands And Influencers Are Using It (And You Can Too!)

10 billion.

That’s the number of videos people watch on Snapchat every day. The same potential consumption (maybe more) exists for Instagram Stories —  quick videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours, just like Snapchat, but with an audience of 500 million users.

Does that sound like a channel worth exploring?

We believe so! Storytelling has always been a key part of marketing, and features like Instagram Stories are empowering us marketers to tell better and deeper stories about our brands. We’d love to provide you with more resources about Instagram Stories so that you can master this platform and see your voice spread.

In this post, I’d love to share 18 Instagram marketers who have been doing rad things with Stories to give you some inspiration on what you could do for your Instagram Stories too.

Instagram Stories

18 Creative Uses of Instagram Stories (and how you can do it too)

From my research, I discovered several creative ways brands and individuals have been using Instagram Stories. And here’s the great news: most of these strategies do not require huge budget or resources to pull off!

Before we dive into each brand and individual, here’s the full list of rockstar Instagram storytellers with links to their Instagram profiles.

(Note: If you end up following some of these great accounts and wish to see their Instagram stories from a desktop browser, there’s a neat Chrome extension here which lets you do just that.)

  1. NASA
  2. LOFT
  3. Huffington Post
  4. Techcrunch
  5. Gary Vaynerchuk
  6. Chris Burkard
  7. New York University
  8. GoPro
  9. When I Work
  10. Shopify
  11. Remote Year
  12. Black Sheep Cycling
  13. Olympics
  14. Brian Fanzo
  15. Minaal
  16. 9gag
  17. Sean Wes
  18. Track Maven

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at how each of the following brands and individuals uses Instagram Stories and see how you might take inspiration to adapt their strategies for our own brand!

1. NASA (@nasa)

Supplement your main Instagram content with bonus info via Stories

This is one of my favorite ways of using Instagram Stories: telling a deep story behind each and every Instagram post.

One of the key differences between Instagram and Snapchat is that Instagram provides a public, viewable profile for your main content. On no other social network can you get this type of supplemental information about the posts themselves.

This makes NASA’s use of Stories quite the native strategy. Here’s a great example: Recently, NASA posted about the annual Perseid meteor shower on their Instagram account and used Stories to share more about the meteor shower and the research on it, talking to the scientists involved in the research and showing the equipment used for the research.

NASA Story

How you could do this for your business: 

After you choose a final photo to share on Instagram, snap a couple of extra ones that go behind-the-scenes. This can be as easy as:

  • Flip your camera around to take a photo of the opposite view (example)
  • Share some of the failed drafts of photos (Instagram Stories are ephemeral, thank goodness!)
  • Snap a photo with the team that helped you create your Instagram photo
  • Zoom out and photograph the setup – works great for product shots to show all that goes into getting the photo just right!

2. LOFT (@loft)

Turn Stories into real-time events (and amplify engagement)

LOFT, a women’s clothing brand, invited two best buddies for a style challenge, which was shared as an Instagram Story. The challenge: Find something (in the LOFT store) the other didn’t think she could wear.

Not only did LOFT allow their followers to follow along the fun challenge, LOFT also gave them an opportunity to engage with a recent Instagram post and help spread their brand by asking them to tag their best friends in the post.

LOFT's Instagram Stories

(Hat tip to Amanda Tessier for this one!)

How you could do this for your business: 

Take a look at your event calendar and see if there are any upcoming events and activities that your online community can follow along. It could be:

  1. Challenges like LOFT’s
  2. Company retreats
  3. Meetups, conferences, or roadshows

Otherwise, consider if you could organize fun games around your product or service which your online community could participate in by leaving a comment on one of your recent Instagram posts or sharing a photo with a particular hashtag.

3. Huffington Post (@huffingtonpost)

Use photos with captions to tell your stories

With the help of the text and drawing functionality of Instagram Stories, Huffington Post has been creating interesting short photo summaries of recent news, allowing their followers to consume their content in a more visual and fun manner.

Huffington Post Story 1

Huffington Post Story 2

Huffington Post Story 3

How you could do this for your business: 

Go through all your recent blog posts and challenge yourself to turn one of them into a photo story. Adding captions will tend to make it easier while drawing with the three different Stories markers will bring more personality to your story.

4. TechCrunch (@techcrunch)

Give your followers a quick and easy way to consume your content

Quite similar to Huffington Post, TechCrunch has been using Instagram Stories to share headlines and short text summary of recent tech news.

Techcrunch Story

How you could do this for your business: 

If you publish lots of content regularly like a news or media agency, summarize your articles with a headline and a tagline or sentence. If the news is shareworthy, adding your brand logo, like how TechCrunch did, could help to spread the awareness of your brand.

5. Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)

Mix high-quality edited content with raw authentic content (and keep in mind the vertical screen size)

Gary Vaynerchuk has been using Instagram Stories for several purposes — promoting his DailyVee videos through high-quality visuals, sharing very authentic glimpses into his daily life, and connecting genuinely with his followers.

Gary Vaynerchuk Story 1

In a recent Story, he mentioned that his followers asked for more wallpapers on his Instagram Stories and so he made more for them.

Gary Vaynerchuk Story 1

How you could do this for your business: 

Gary Vaynerchuk does quite a few things well on Instagram Stories, and here are some of the things you could try:

  • If you produce video content as part of your marketing strategy, consider creating an extra version for the vertical mobile screen or simply add borders at the top and bottom, which Gary Vaynerchuk does sometimes.
  • If you tend to use your Instagram posts to drive traffic to your content on your blog or Medium publication or YouTube channel, create promotional images and mention that the link is in your bio.
  • If you create images for your social media posts, make an additional image for the vertical screen or reuse the one you created for Pinterest.
  • Use Instagram Stories to do research and interact with your community. What types of content do they want from you via Instagram? How can you provide those content to them?

6. Chris Burkard (@chrisburkard)

Show your behind-the-scenes adventures

Chris Burkard is a very talented photographer with almost 2 million followers on Instagram.

He has been using Instagram Stories to take his followers through his adventures where he captures the jaw-dropping photos he shares on his Instagram accounts, including river crossings and camping outdoors with very windy conditions.

Chris Burkard Story

How you could do this for your business: 

While not every business might have such adventurous experiences on a regular basis, your followers might be interested in what your company does on a day-to-day basis. Think about some of the fun aspects you could show them, such as brainstorming sessions, team lunch, company games and more.

7. New York University (@nyuniversity)

Bring your followers on tours

New York University has a very engaged following on Instagram. Each of its posts has thousands of likes and 10–20 comments. Following the theme for its posts, New York University “takes” its followers on tours around the campus and city, enhancing the experience of following the account.

New York University Story

How you could do this for your business: 

This is great if you are a tourist attraction or school or even a retail store with a great physical space and environment!

When you are taking your afternoon break and going out for a walk, snap a few photos of interesting sights or locations and share them with your followers. These raw authentic snaps will give your followers a better sense of the area and might make them want to visit you more.

8. GoPro (@gopro)

Bring your followers on an adventure

GoPro is one of the brands I think of when I think of adventures. When Instagram Stories was launched, GoPro jumped onto the opportunity to share more footage taken with, yep, GoPro.

Recently, while making its GoPro family member’s dream come true of seeing the aurora australis, GoPro shared the adventure with its Instagram followers through incredible video footages of the trip.

GoPro Stories

How you could do this for your business: 

If you are an outdoor activities company, share all the thrilling and breathtaking videos of the outdoors with your followers.

For those who might not have such opportunities on a daily basis, here’s something else you could try. While GoPro’s Instagram Stories alone looks amazing enough, it is part of their #DreamReal marketing campaign of fulfilling their social media advocates’ dreams. You could perhaps:

  1. Use Instagram Stories to promote your company’s hashtag and encourage more people to use it.
  2. Show how happy the winners of your giveaways are or how awesome your giveaway prizes are to attract more people to participate in them in the future.

9. When I Work (@wheniwork)

Feature your customers and share behind the scenes

When I Work is employee scheduling software with over 15,000 happy customers worldwide. Recently, they visited a few of their customers in Canada and featured them in their Instagram Stories.

When I Work Story 1 When I Work Story 2

How you could do this for your business: 

If it is possible, visit your amazing customers and give them a shoutout on your Instagram Stories. This will let your followers know what types of businesses and individuals use your product and might give them the social proof they need in order to convert. Furthermore, this will help you build a stronger relationship with your customers.

10. Shopify (@shopify)

Promote your blog posts creatively

You might not always be able to visit our customers like When I Work so Shopify worked around that by letting merchants, who use Shopify for their business, take over the Shopify Instagram account and share about their business.

Apart from merchant takeovers, Shopify also promotes their blog posts through Instagram Stories.

Shopify Story

How you could do this for your business: 

This is just one of the many ways you could promote your blog posts through Instagram Stories:

  1. With the blog post you want to promote, find 3-5 key points that will grab your followers’ attention. (An easy way could be to look at your H2 headings.)
  2. Turn them into fun Instagram Stories using relevant photos, captions, and drawings.
  3. Create a simple link to be used for the last photo.
  4. Post them!
  5. Bonus: It will be great to download each Instagram Stories photo onto your phone as you create them and post them all at once when you are ready. This will help to ensure that your followers see the full set of photos at a go.

11. Remote Year (@remoteyear)

Bring your offline and online communities together

Remote Year is a year-long program where 75 digital nomads travel across the world to work and explore 12 cities together.

Through their Instagram Stories, they share what they do on, I believe, a daily basis, allowing their followers who might not be able to join the trip to still be part of the fun.

Remote Year Story

How you could do this for your business: 

It can be a bit of a bummer for your community when they are unable to attend some of your events. It could be meetups or conferences with a limited number of tickets or an exclusive event for certain customers only or a program for a selected few such as the Remote Year. However, that does not mean they have to miss out on all the fun. Here are some of the things you could do:

  • Interview key personnel briefly about the topic of the event
  • Invite attendees to share their experiences at the event
  • Film interesting and fun moments of the event
  • Appoint a host or two for your Instagram Stories while the event is taking place to talk about what is going to happen during the event, narrate as the activities are happening and interview attendees, like what the Remote Year did for some of their events (as seen in the first photo)

12. Black Sheep Cycling (@blacksheepcycling)

Give sneak previews of your upcoming products or launch them through Instagram Stories

Black Sheep Cycling is a cycling brand that provides innovative and unique cycling apparel.

A few days ago, they launched their ambassador kit for their community. Besides announcing the upcoming launch with an Instagram post, the team also used Instagram Stories to showcase the kit from various angles.

Black Sheep Cycling Story

How you could do this for your business: 

While preparing the marketing materials for your upcoming launch or announcement, create a few more vertical designs for your Instagram Stories. Consider more than one image or design since the ephemeral nature of Instagram Stories allow you to share more photos and videos without cluttering up your Instagram profile. Here are some variations you could think about:

  • Different angles of the product
  • Specific features of the product
  • Different people using your product
  • Various ways of using your product

13. Olympics (@olympics)

Report timely news and wrap-up

When the Rio 2016 Olympics was taking place, the social media team behind the Instagram account took the opportunity to share more about and celebrate the incredible Olympians. Harrison Barnes also took over the account to give a wrap-up for a day and shared his thoughts on the day’s events.

Olympics Story

How you could do this for your business: 

While you might not always be part of huge events like the Olympics, there are likely to be many high-profile events in your respective industry. For example in the tech field, one such event is TechCrunch Disrupt. You could attend such events and provide timely updates to your followers. Here are some possible ways:

  • Create simple images to share cool announcements and important news from the event
  • Share your thoughts about the announcements and news of the event
  • Interview speakers and prominent figures in the industry briefly, if possible
  • Feature partners and customers who happen to be at the same event

14. Brian Fanzo (@isocialfanz)

Give previews of your talks and let others take over your Instagram Stories

Brian Fanzo, popularly known as isocialfanz, is a millennial speaker who is very knowledgeable about community building, social media, livestreaming, influencer marketing, tech and more. In 2016 alone, Brian will keynote at more than 40 events around the world.

He has been using Instagram Stories to give previews for his upcoming talks and events such as the #Cloudtalk. He did the same when he was taking over our Buffer Instagram Stories while Brian, our Social Media Manager, took over his.

Brian Fanzo Story

How you could do this for your business: 

Work with other brands and influencers to take over your Instagram account and ask to take over theirs too. Like Gary Vaynerchuk said, “It’s an easy way to reach new audiences and increase brand awareness.” And it’s great because both parties stand to benefit from the takeovers.

A cool feature of Instagram Stories is that it allows you upload any photos and videos that were added to your phone’s camera roll within the last 24 hours. Simply swipe down while you are in the Instagram Stories camera mode. This allows you to share photos and videos from the brands and influencers without having to share your Instagram account password.

  1. Get them to create Instagram Stories and save them onto their phones without posting them.
  2. Get them to send their draft Stories to you via email, Dropbox or Google Drive.
  3. Download them onto your phone before the time you wish to post them (you will have 24 hours to use them after downloading them onto your phone).
  4. Wait for the right time and voila!

15. Minaal (@minaalofficial)

Share user generated content and showcase your customers

Minaal makes durable, professional travel gear that gets you where you want to be – faster, happier and more productive. (It is a brand many Bufferoos love too!)

In their Stories, they share photos from their community who are traveling all around the world with the amazing travel bags and gear.

Minaal Story

How you could do this for your business: 

Many a time, we love to showcase our users’ photos of them using our products, only to realize that the photo quality might not be on par with those we post on our profile or it might not match the theme of photos we chose for our gallery. Instagram Stories provides a great option to feature your users (and your product) without changing the theme of your Instagram branding or adding too many photos to your gallery.

Invite your users to share photos of themselves using your product and let them know that you will be featuring them on your Instagram Stories. Alternatively,

  1. Look out for photos of your product by your users (if there’s a hashtag that your community uses, that will be very handy)
  2. Reach out to those users and ask if you could feature their photos and them on your Instagram Stories.
  3. Once you have the photos, add their Instagram handle and perhaps add some drawings to the photos to make them more interesting.

16. 9gag (@9gag)

Funny user generated content and stories

I think most of us are quite familiar with 9gag and their hilarious content. With Instagram Stories, they brought their funny storytelling to another level!

9gag Story

How you could do this for your business: 

I believe most businesses aren’t like 9gag in terms of the amount of user generated content they have (thought it’s great if you do!). However, this does not mean we cannot learn anything from 9gag. I think 9gag is a great example of telling the same stories through different formats (on their website, Instagram posts, Instagram Stories and more).

Instagram Stories allow us to quickly click through a series of photos and videos, and that’s a great way to tell stories! It feels a bit like flipping through a photo book. So an idea could be:

  1. When you have a story or message to share with your audience, come up with a storyboard of the photos and videos you need.
  2. Download the materials onto your phone and add captions and drawings to make them more engaging and visually appealing.
  3. When the time is right, publish all of them together according to your storyboard.
  4. Bonus: You could use an Instagram post to briefly talk about the story and direct your audience to check out your Instagram Stories for more information.

17. Sean McCabe (@seanwes)

Give previews of your live events or courses

Sean McCabe used to be a hand lettering artist who charged five-figure rates until he launched a course teaching people how to do what he did and made six figures in the first three days. Since then, he has been teaching a variety of courses on building and growing a sustainable business.

He has been using Instagram Stories to share sneak peeks of his live training and why his followers should sign up for his courses.

Sean McCabe Story

How you could do this for your business: 

Personally, I like to find out as much as I can before I pay for a course, a product, or a service. Quite similar to a trial for a product or service, Instagram Stories could be an interesting way to share just enough to entice your followers into signing up for your paid courses or exclusive content.

Also, sharing a short memorable link makes it easier for your followers to act immediately.

18. Track Maven (@trackmaven)

Share top news in your industry

Track Maven is a marketing analytics software tool that helps marketers make smart decisions through understandable and actionable data. In line with their area of expertise, they share top marketing news every week in their Instagram Stories.

Track Maven Story

How you could do this for your business: 

I imagine most of us are already reading up a lot about our own industry so this just takes a tiny bit more effort:

  1. When reading through all the news, bookmark the top 3 to 5 pieces which are most shareworthy or most useful to the people in the industry or your customers.
  2. On Friday each week (or even every morning), share the news.
  3. Adding your thoughts about the news could help to make you a thought leader in your industry too.

Small plug

I would also love to give a shout out to Brian, our amazing social media manager, who has been rocking our Instagram Stories game too. Our Stories range from social media tips to influencer, brand and team member takeovers. If you are interested in learning more about social media, marketing and behind the scenes of a remote team, we are @buffer on Instagram!

Buffer Story

Over to you

There are definitely many more creative brands and folks out there that I did not come across during my research. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you know of any or if you feel that you are creating awesome Instagram Stories, feel free to share your handle below! Thank you!

from Social

11 Simple Design Tips to Enhance Your Social Media Images

Humans are, by nature, very visual beings.

In the brain itself, there are hundreds of millions of neurons devoted to visual processing, nearly 30 percent of the entire cortex, as compared with 8 percent for touch and just 3 percent for hearing.

Each of the two optic nerves, which carry signals from the retina to the brain, consists of a million fibers, compared to the auditory nerve carrying a mere 30,000.

That’s all to say that social media images are a vital part of your content reaching the maximum amount of people, people who are very visual beings!

Marketers that have dabbled in creating engaging images for social media know just how tough and time-consuming it can be. I’m no expert, but I’ve learned a thing or two about creating social media images after lots of practice (and mistakes!), and I’m excited to share with you my favorite social media design tips and principles to help enhance your social media images.

Let’s dive in! 

Enhancing Social Media Images

Social Media Design Tips: 11 Principles & Tactics to Enhance Your Images

At Buffer, we create all of the images for our blog posts and social media without much outside help — and there are a ton of images! On average, every Buffer blog post has five custom images, and some have way more.

To create these, we rely on 11 simple design principles to help make the image creation process easy. We’re excited to share those with you in this post and how you may be able to apply it to your own workflow.

Got any favorite social media design tips or principles that we’re missing? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

11 Design Principles and Social Media Design Tips

1. Color

90% of snap judgments made about products are based on color alone

Color is one of the most important and complex aspects of any social media design. It helps to set the mood, create an atmosphere, convey emotions, and even evoke strong individual experiences from someone’s past.

In a study on the impact of color on marketing, researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending on the product. Other academic studies on colors in marketing have pointed to the fact that it’s more important for colors to support the personality you want to portray instead of trying to align with typical color associations.

For example, this Help Scout graphic highlights the power of color in conveying personality in a piece of content that reflects positively back on the brand. On the Help Scout Blog you’ll see consistent, eye-catching colors that come off as fun, yet insightful.

HelpScout Color Marketing Examples

The second example from the brand Loulou & Tummie highlights the use of color to market to a specific audience. Loulou and Tummie are known for their eye-catching vector work and the use of color to tell a story and evoke emotion.

Loulou and Tummie Design Inspiration

Use colors in your social media images that guide your audience through a story. Do so by considering which colors help to tell a specific portion of that story. The principles of color theory are a great place to start and can be used to create a sense of harmony within your images.

Here’s a quick rundown of how different colors affect our brain and how they’re often used in storytelling and marketing:

red Red = Energy and urgency

orange Orange = Aggressive

yellow Yellow = Optimistic and youthful

green Green = Wealth and relaxation

blue Blue = Trust and security

pink Pink = Romantic and feminine

black Black = Powerful and sleek

purple Purple = Soothing and calm

2. Balance

The 4 different types of balance (including the one you’re probably thinking of)

The art of balance in the world of social media image design is a tricky one to get the hang of, but well worth the effort. A great way to think of balance is to imagine that each element of your design has a “weight behind it.”

Put another way: If you were to place the image on a balance scale, would it tip to one side?

It’s also important to remember that different elements carry different weight; balance does not have to be split right down the middle. There are 4 varying types of balance:

  1. symmetrical
  2. asymmetrical
  3. radial (picture a spiral staircase)
  4. crystallographic (picture a tray of donuts with different toppings)

All of these can make for a beautiful social media design.

Take for example, this stunning graphic from artist and illustrator George Bokhua:

Pink Lotus - George Bokhua

This image demonstrates the beautiful use of symmetrical balance and the feeling of harmony. Symmetrical balance is great for illustrations, drawings, blog graphics, photographs, and much more.

On the other hand, there’s asymmetrical balance like shown in this image example:

Asymmetrical Balance Example

Asymmetrical balance creates tension through contrast and can be visually interesting when done correctly. Because it’s abstract, there is no symmetry; there are no perfect mirror images.

One place we find balance to be important is in choosing stock images. The collection of photos at Unsplash is a great example of a photo collection that excels by taking balance into account, like with this image:


If you’re creating an image of your own, in order to balance the weight in your image, play around with different things such as size of items, lightness and darkness of items, warm and cool colors, texture, quantity of objects, isolation of objects, and orientation (vertical/horizontal/diagonal) of objects.

3. Lines

Straight lines imply order. Curved lines hint at movement.

Lines are the visual elements of your image that help to guide the eye to where you want it to go. Straight lines work to give the image a sense of order and tidiness while crooked or curved lines may give the image a sense of organized tension and movement.

Paying close attention to the use of lines throughout your image can help guide your audience along a visual journey, stopping at the most important and intentional elements along the way.

Let’s take a peek at this incredible example of the power of lines from Muti:

Illustration of Lines in Graphic Design from Muti

The use of clean diagonal lines throughout the illustration takes your eyes to different areas in a quick and efficient manner. Almost creating “sections” in the image with different cities as multiple focal points.

Now compare that to the curved lines of this illustration from the same artist, Muti, and how it creates a sense of motion. That motion leading you around the graphic until you land back at the center focal point:

American Express Graphic by Muti Studio

When adding lines to your image, pay close attention to where they draw the reader’s eyes. Aim to create a logical path that the reader can follow along with until they come to the point that you intended them to.

4. Typography

Traditionally, serif fonts are best for print and sans-serif for web

Typography is an art. Selecting the perfect font or set of fonts that work seamlessly together can bring your social media image to life. It also has a big impact on how your design is received by people and, ultimately, the message your brand intentionally (or unintentionally) sends across.

When selecting which font or fonts to use in your design one of the most important aspects to keep in mind is readability. 

Graphic designer Paul Rand may have put it best when he said, “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.”

Whether you choose a sans-serif font or a serif font or any variation in-between, make sure that your audience can read your message. Here are a few pro-tips for using fonts:

  • Limit your design to a maximum of 3 typefaces
  • Use font sizing that fits well within the medium that you are publishing to
  • Traditionally, serif fonts are best for print and sans-serif for web
  • Kerning is a great technique to use in your titles

And for those that are curious about other typography terminology, this nifty infographic will help!

Typography Principles Inforgraphic

5. Contrast

Add contrast with colors, shapes, and sizes

Have you ever heard someone say that an illustration or design “really popped“?

What they may be referring to is the contrast in an image. Contrast provides differentiation between elements, making one stand out or “pop” more than the other elements.

The use of effective contrast is a great way to enhance your social media images. Without contrast, your design runs the risk of being “flat.” But with too much contrast, your design can become cluttered and nothing will stand out.

Here are my 3 favorite ways to add contrast to an image without under or overdoing it.

Add Contrast with Colors

One of the easiest ways to implement contrast into your image designs is through the use of colors. For example, playing light colors off of dark colors, or vice-versa. In this image, I used a white font in contrast to the dark background making the wording both readable and visually appealing.

Color contrast example

Add Contrast with Shapes

Another way to easily add contrast to your image is through the use of shapes. This beautiful graphic from Canva helps to highlight just how well the conformity of symmetrical shapes can play alongside the asymmetrical nature of organic shapes.

Contrast Shapes and Design

Add Contrast with Sizes

In its simplest form, contrast can easily be added to enhance your social media images by making certain aspects of the design bigger or smaller than others. It can also mean adding more weight (like bolding a word) to elements.

This restaurant advertisement draws the audience to the name, “1913,” first and then to other areas of the image such as the word “restaurant” and eventually to the picture of the food in the background.

Size Contrast in Social Media Image Design

6. Scale

Zoom out on a concept, or zoom in with your font choices

Scale, by definition, refers to the deliberate sizing of various elements within your design. “Scaling” helps to bring certain elements into focus and allows your readers to make sense of a concept.

Think for a second and try to imagine your life in number of months or even days. Can you imagine it?

This wonderful illustration by Tim Urban illustrates the powerful effects of scaling.

Human Life in Months - Wait But Why

Scaling also works well for more concrete social media designs. Take a look at the image below:


Social media design tips from Buffer

In this visual, I’m aiming to draw you towards the quote first with a scaled-up font size. Once I’ve gained your curiosity from the quote, I’m hoping your eyes naturally move right to the balloon. And finally, you’re drawn to the message of the graphic, “Happy Teachers Month.”

Did it work?

7. Proximity

Group similar items together to declutter and organize

Proximity is paramount when creating a sense of organization within your design. Similar or related elements are best grouped together to create a relationship between them. The goal is to group items together to declutter your design and “tidy things up a bit.”

You can put the principle of proximity into action by connecting similar elements together. One easy way is by physical placement of the objects near each other. The other way is to connect them in other visual ways with the use of similar colors, fonts, size, etc.

This simple example shows how proximity can be used to help us perceive objects as being related. The circles are spread out, each being perceived as its own object.

Example of Proximity 1 - Social Media Design

Then, once we bring all of the circles in close to each other, they appear to lose the feeling that they are separate objects. It is perceived to be more of a whole, singular shape.

Example of Proximity 2 - Social Media Design

When put into something like a social media design, proximity can help to bring elements of a product or concept together through spacial relationships.

8. Hierarchy

Place the most important elements in the biggest fonts

It’s quite likely that you’ll be working with multiple elements in your social media design. And chances are each of those elements will be important to your overall message. Hierarchy is a great social media design tip to make sure that you’re getting your most important message across first.

Taking full advantage of the hierarchy design principle starts with an understanding of your goals. Establish the most crucial message as the focal point and then use the other design principles in this article to make it stand out.

Once that’s in place, you can start to build your second or third pieces of information in without taking away from the overall goal.

A great example is here in this travel advertisement. The image draws the reader into “travel” and then leads them to the secondary messages.

Example of Hierarchy - Social Media Design Tips

It even works for simple social media designs such as quotes. The main focal point being the quote itself followed by any secondary information such as author or source.

Social Media Design Tips - Hierarchy Example

 9. Repetition

Always use the same set of fonts, colors, and logos

One of the easier design elements to enhance your social media images is the principle of repetition. Repetition is an important part of the process because it helps to establish and strengthen different elements.

It’s also what people often refer to as “consistent branding.”

Three things to always try and be consistent with in your designs are fonts, colors, and logos. Over time, repetition of these 3 elements will give you or your brand a unique and instantly recognizable look. Let’s check out a few examples to illustrate the simple use of repetition in design.

Remember this Apple advertisement? Catchy for its colorful and playful nature, the use of repetition in this image helps to create consistent association. It also does just what it set out to do and that’s give a sense of movement or dancing in the image.

Apple Ad, Repetition, social media design tips

Repetition is also important when building a personal brand. Take these beautiful business cards from Alan Murphy, for example. Whether you’re a big brand or a one-person shop, repetition helps you become recognizable over time.

Personal Branding Business Cards - Social Media Design Tips

10. Direction

People read in an “F” pattern, an “E” pattern, and a “Z” pattern

The way the human eye moves across designs, images, websites, and other visual elements is unique, but often consistent. That’s why it’s important to guide your audience along the “path” that you’d like them to follow in your image. In other words, create a deliberate “flow.”

Website design research has given us an inside look at how people tend to view websites when arriving for the first time. What they found was that we read in an “F” pattern, an “E” pattern, and sometimes a “Z” pattern. So placing important and eye-catching elements on the upper left and left side of your design is key.

Crazy Egg created a great infographic on data found from their eye-tracking experiments along with ways in which you can improve your design. Enjoy!

Crazy Egg Eye Tracking Social Media Design Tips

11. Space

Look for outlines in your images. Advanced tip: Try knolling!

I saved one of my favorite social media design tips for last and that is the use of space. Put simply, negative space or white space is the area surrounds other objects in the image. More often than not, what you choose to leave out from your image is just as important as what you add.

Try not to underestimate the power of simplicity in your design. Space can help bring a certain aesthetic quality to your image while also highlighting the most important elements.

I’d love to show you two examples of the wonderful effects of using space in your designs. The first is from artist, illustrator, and graphic designer Tang Yau Hoong who has seemingly mastered the art of space in design. Tang Yau Hoong intentionally and cleverly carves out shapes in negative space to create a mesmerizing feel.

Negative and White Space in Design - Social Media Design Tips 2

When adding shapes, fonts, or colors to your design, consider what shapes or outlines are forming around them and use them to your advantage. You may quickly realize that your design is taking shape in ways you hadn’t originally planned.

The second example is from the world of photography. Knolling is a technique that has really come on strong in the last few years. The white space surrounding each element really helps to bring out each piece individually.

Knolling Example 1 - Social Media Design Tips 2

Keep your images simple and use the space around objects to bring attention to important elements. I love this graphic from Cinch that really highlights the power of simple design.

Cinch, Graphic Design Example, social media design

“Designers and marketers know they have ‘achieved perfection’ not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Over to You

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about social media design! It is truly amazing how small tweaks to images can have such a huge effect on quality and outcome.

Did I miss any of your favorite social media design tips above? I would love to learn from you! 

Please feel free to drop a comment below to keep the conversation going.

More Awesome Design Resources

Design Elements and Principles – Canva

8 Basic Design Principles to Help You Create Better Graphics – Adobe

Why Every Marketer in 2016 Needs to Be a (Part-Time) Designer – Buffer

from Social

Create Dots on Spiral Path in Illustrator

Dansky_How to Create Progressively Larger Dots Along a Spiral Path in Adobe Illustrator

In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to create progressively larger dots along a spiral path in Adobe Illustrator.

The Steps (1-9)

1. Create a new document 800×800 pixels.

2. Left-click and Hold on the Line Segment Tool to reveal the dropdown menu and select the Spiral Tool.


3. Left-click anywhere on the artboard to draw a spiral shape, using Alt and Cmd/Ctrl to adjust the line spacing and complexity of the spiral.


4. Next, select the Ellipse Tool and hold Shift to draw a small circle with a Black Fill. Centrally position this circle on the inner-most tip of the spiral.

5. Repeat Step 4 instead with a larger circle, and place this larger circle on the outer-most tip of the spiral.


6. Hold Shift to select the two circles and go to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Enter 30 as the number of Specified Steps, and select Align to Path as the Orientation. Go to Object > Blend > Make, to see the additional circles added, connecting the two circles.


7. Select everything on the artboard and go to Object > Blend > Replace Spine to position all 30 circles along the ‘spine’ of the spiral.


8. Double-click on either the smallest or largest circle (created in Steps 4-5) to go inside the Blend Group, whereby editing either of these original shapes, will affect all of the other 30 Specified Steps in between.

9. The number of Specified Steps can also be edited further, by going to Object > Blend > Blend Options, and adjusting the settings as necessary.


Download Adobe Illustrator.

Read More at Create Dots on Spiral Path in Illustrator

from Web Design Ledger

eCommerce Themes That Are Perfect For Building a Shop


You can choose a multipurpose theme that has all the features you need to build an online store, or you can select a theme that is specifically oriented toward the eCommerce genre. You’ll find both types here, and all are premium themes. No matter which theme you may choose, you can’t just sit back and let it do all of the work. There are a few things you should take into account, if you want your eCommerce venture to be a rousing success.

  • There’s nothing wrong with innovation; but you don’t want to be overly clever when designing an online store. Don’t make your customers have to think. They know what they want, and it’s your job to help them find it.
  • Keep your homepage banner relatively simple. You don’t have to devote a huge amount of resources toward building it. Let your home page speak for itself.
  • Keep your product displays consistent. It’s OK to copycat what other stores do. Customers always feel more comfortable when they find themselves in familiar surroundings.
  • Always use a responsive theme. Half or more of your store’s visitors are probably shopping from mobile devices. Don’t let them slip through the crack.
  • Select a fast, lightweight theme if you want to sell a product. That will not be a problem, if you choose one of the following seven.

XStore-Responsive WooCommerce Theme


XStore’s authors took the first law of usability – “Don’t make people think.” – to heart when they designed and developed this premium eCommerce theme. XStore literally guides you by the hand as you are building your online store, making it easy for you to extend the first law of usability into the workings of your website.

The tools, settings, and pages you need are all there. Each of 27 demos has a modern, somewhat minimalist look. Innovative features abound; but the emphasis is definitely on presenting a familiar look to your store’s visitors.

XStore is responsive, retina ready, and RTL and WPML ready as well; so there’s really no limit to the size of the customer base you can reach out to. Visual Composer and Slider Revolution plugins are included, and XStore is of course 100% WooCommerce compatible.

The level of user support is what is to be expected with a premium theme – great. A video tutorial is included to give you any help you may need with install or settings. More video tutorials are being added as we speak.



Merchandiser has all the features you need to build the perfect online store, and none of the features that you have no use for. In other words, this premium eCommerce theme is a minimalist theme, both in design, and in terms of fast and efficient performance.

Its guiding philosophy – simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication –  is a philosophy well worth adapting to your web-building ventures. Merchandiser makes it easy for you to do just that.

The Theme Customizer provides you with all of the flexibility you need, while the popular Visual Composer drag and drop page builder enables you to turn out high-quality work at a rapid clip. Merchandiser also offers several online shopping features your store’s visitors will appreciate. You can sell anything online, including setting up an affiliate store, when using this eCommerce theme.




Woutique is not a WooCommerce compatible theme; it’s a WooCommerce theme. As such, every one of WooCommerce’s widgets have been put into play. So has each of the WooCommerce plugin’s key components, including product categories and descriptions, cart, checkout, and user account sections.

Everything you need is here, plus Woutique is a free download. Whether you are a long- time web designer, or relatively new to the game, this WooCommerce product is worth a try.


KLEO – Pro Community Focused, Multipurpose Theme


Although KLEO can definitely be called a multipurpose theme, it has a number features than makes it an excellent choice for eCommerce website builders. Among the key features of KLEO, in addition to its excellent selection of demos, are the 24 plugins that come with the package. Some of the usual WP plugins are included, but you’ll also find a number of plugins, including WooCommerce, that are specifically directed at helping a web designer build an online shop.


Uncode – Creative Multiuse WordPress Theme


Massive options, special pages, interactive features, and its collection of 30  homepage concepts all combine to make Uncode one of the most exciting eCommerce themes on the market. The Advance Grid system pushes layout design to the cutting edge, while the Adaptive Images feature makes Uncode super-responsive. An enhanced version of the popular Visual Composer builder is included in the package.

If a WP theme capable of building anything you can think of is on your shopping list, Uncode is a solid choice, and a good investment.




Divi has a number of things going for it that has made it a top-selling theme, including the impressive Divi Builder. Another feature users particularly like is this themes 46 customizable content blocks, which make it oh-so-easy to put a page together. Or, an entire online store for that matter; since several of these content blocks directly address eCommerce needs, Divi is another superb multipurpose WP theme that would be an ideal choice for building your online store, quickly, and down to the most minute details.


Merchant WordPress Theme


Merchant is super-responsive, it’s translation ready, and it’s super flexible. It’s also modern, and hip. Its Easy Layout Creator is more than just a name. Ease of use is this eCommerce theme’s trademark. Build your online shop, or display your products or services in an awesome portfolio. Merchant also has the features you need to publish an online product catalog.

Merchant features an excellent support forum that’s loaded with information on everything from optimizing your use of WordPress, to tying in to social media.



Picking an eCommerce theme from seven of the very best isn’t necessarily an easy task, but at least you can’t make a poor choice. It may be that a multipurpose theme will suit you best, or it may be the other way around, where selecting a theme more heavily oriented toward building eCommerce sites would make better sense.

Either way, any one of these themes will be a good investment. Just make sure to keep in mind the eCommerce web-building tips offered up front. These eCommerce themes are capable of producing awesome, super-responsive, pixel-perfect online stores, but it’s up to you to ensure your users don’t have to think.

Read More at eCommerce Themes That Are Perfect For Building a Shop

from Web Design Ledger