If you're on Pinterest or Tumblr, then you know how popular images with well-designed quotes are. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to use Inkscape to create your own typographic quotes to share online. Once you get the hang of it, you'll realize how simple (and addicting) it is to do this. Plus, considering how visual social media has become, an image (like the one to the left) can help drive traffic to your site. It's a Win, Win!
Expertise Level: Beginner **Please note that this tutorial is geared toward beginners to both Inkscape and design so we'll be using popular fonts and simple backgrounds.**
What You'll Need: Inkscape (free open-source vector program)
Why Inkscape? Because it's free. Free is good, especially for the bootstrappin' entrepreneur (that's you!). It's an open-source program that has a lot of great capabilities and is perfect for creating images like the one we'll make in this tutorial.
Let's get started!
Setting Up Your Document
1. Open up a new document in Inkscape. 2. Click on File > Document Properties. Set the dimensions under Custom Size to Width: 640 and Height: 640. The Units should default to Px. 3. Once your dimensions are set, exit out of Document Properties. 4. Next, click on View then select Grid. This will serve as a simple guide in positioning your text.
Creating a Square (Your Background) Next, we'll create a square and fill in the color to use as our background.
1. Click on the tool for Creating Rectangles and Squares in the Tool Panel located on the left of your document. 2. Click in the square in your document and starting in the top left corner, drag down to the bottom left corner and release. At this point you'll see the outline of the square. The square's fill color will default to white (or the last color used). 3. Set the fill color to black (#000000) by clicking on black in the color swatch (the row of colors at the bottom of your document. You can also change the fill color by clicking on "Fill" in the bottom left corner or clicking on Object > Fill and Stroke. To keep things simple for this tutorial, we're leaving the Stroke set at 0. 4. Once your fill color is set, make sure your square dimensions are 640 x 640. You can change this if necessary by clicking in the Width and Height dimensions at the top of your document. **Now is a good time to save your document.**
Creating a Text Box (Your Quote) You have your background. Now it's time to create the textbox for your quote.
1. Click on the Text Tool ("A") in the Toolbox. 2. Click anywhere in your black square and start typing. You'll notice right away that you can't see your text (because the fill color defaults to black). Change the fill color to white (#FFFFFF) from the Color Swatch at the bottom. 3. Next, type the quote we'll be using: The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. 4. You can now see the options for editing your text in the Text Tool Control Panel -- the font, font size, positioning, line spacing and so on. We'll keep things simple for this tutorial by focusing just on the font, size and position.
Editing Your Text
1. First, to change the font style and size, we'll click on the "T" in the Control Panel -- the "Text & Font" Dialog. From there, we can see all the variants for each font family and preview how the font will look before applying it to our text. 2. Select "Ultra-Bold Condensed" from "Style" and "Center Lines" from "Layout" and click Apply.
3. Next, we'll resize the text. Click on the Selector Tool (the arrow) from the Toolbox. You'll now see arrows around your text object. 4. Click on the bottom right arrow and hold the Ctrl button (this preserves the original height/width ratio) and then drag down to increase the size of your text. Release when you reach these height and width coordinates: Y - 216.664 and W - 607.908. (Approximate numbers are fine, of course, but these are the dimensions we've resized to in the tutorial.)
Adding & Centering Text Objects
1. Click on the Text Tool ("A) again and click in the black square below your text. Type "Abraham Lincoln" in all CAPS. Once you start typing, you'll again realize that your text color has defaulted back to black. Click in the color swatch to change it to white. 2. Change the font to Futura and the text size to 38. 3. Select the text object and place on the third line up from the bottom of the drawing using your grid as a guide. 4. Next, we'll center our text on the background. Click Object > Align & Distribute. Click on the drop down list under Align and select Relative to: Drawing. 5. Select your quote. Click on Center on Horizontal Axis (the third selection from the left on the bottom row). 6. Next select the author text object. Click on Center on Vertical Axis (the third selection from the left on the top row). 7. Exit out of Align & Distribute.
Saving Your Image Congrats! You're now ready to save your image. 1. Save your image as an svg file. Click File > Save. 2. Click on Edit > Select All. 3. Click on Object > Group. 4. Click File > Export Bitmap. Click on the tab labeled Drawing. 5. Select Browse next to Filename and create a name for your image as well as the location where you'll save it. Use the .png extension for your file name.
And that's it! Now that you've mastered the basics -- creating shapes and text objects -- experiment with different fonts and backgrounds for your quotes.
Design Tips Choose colors that contrast well for your background and text. Black & white combinations work well and are timeless in design.
Pair fonts that complement one another. This is a great guide to help you.
If you need inspiration, check out my board on Pinterest or follow me on Tumblr.