One thing I was not expecting when I became an author was that I would also have to become a graphic designer. I mean really, I work with words not pictures, and having a traditional publisher means I don't have to worry about designing my own cover, so why would graphic design ever be an issue?
The answer is the internet.
Think about all the social media pages; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube - they all have headers. Now, yes, I could leave them blank but that's really a missed opportunity to show off my books, or tell people a little bit about myself. But of course, that means I have to design something myself.
And I know very little about design.
There are also other times when I need to be a designer: the header of this website, the poster for the upcoming book fair, advertising in magazines or on Facebook. The key is to have a clear design without too much going on.
Hiring a graphic designer is currently out of my budget unfortunately and I've tried sites like Design Crowd and Fiverr and have been hugely disappointed. In my experience it's true you get what you pay for.
So I needed to find a solution, and I've found a couple I thought I'd share. There's a site called Canva which is free to use and gives you a whole heap of templates and designs. The one downside to it is, you can't use custom fonts and the font I use in the headings on this site is not available, which means I can't keep to my brand. The other thing I use Canva for is its design school. It takes you through different design techniques and gives you the opportunity to try it out. This has been really helpful in improving my skills.
The other thing I found was some software called Serif DrawPlus. There's a free starter version which I downloaded and it did the basic graphic design I needed for headers and posters. I've recently upgraded to the full version when they offered a massive discount. The version I have isn't the latest version, but it's given me some extra functionality that the free version didn't.
So I'm plugging away on my design, trying to learn a little more each time, and looking forward to the day when I can afford to have a professional do it all for me!
If you've got any recommendations for design training, or design software, please leave it in the comments! I could do with all the help I can get!