How to create engaging image quotes and protect your brand

I love all the beautiful ideas and quotes that people are putting in their blogs and websites

And I’m very fond of all the free ways there are to make these engaging and social-media–friendly images

You no longer need a copy of Photoshop to create engaging image quotes. Nor do you need to hire someone like me to make them for you. If you don’t have a list like this yet, here is a resource that lists 15 of the current free ways to create image quotes.

In case you haven’t tried this tool for yourself yet, here are three good reasons to add image quotes to your repertoire:

  • Image quotes catch the eye and, when well-crafted, can draw your reader right into the meat of your article.
  • Image quotes are shareable and pinnable and therefore can do wonders to increase your reach in social media.
  • People don’t always read all your words (welcome to the 21st century and information overload!). Restating your headline and main ideas in an image quote is a great way to know you’re getting more of your message delivered.

But are you protecting your brand when you create these so-important images?

The downside to using some of the free image-quote–creation software is that you have to take the time to find out how to adjust the colors and pick the fonts that best support your brand. I’ve researched a few of these apps, and in most cases, the ability to change colors and fonts is there and it’s well worth your time to find and use those tools. When your image quotes reflect your brand’s heart and soul, you are going to be so much more successful at getting your message to the people you are meant to serve.

[edited to add:] Please make sure to add a copyright line to each image quote you create — this is a critical step in effective brand protection. I prefer a small watermark at the bottom. [Thank you to my smart readers for reminding me about this!]
How to create engaging image quotes and protect your brand at the same time

Let’s look in a little more detail…

Step one. Find the words that will be useful or inspirational to your tribe.

Whatever you’re blogging for: to grow your list, or fill a program, or sell a product…. Take a look at your outline, or your rough draft as you’re writing it, and come up with a key message. Today I outlined the three steps I’m writing about here. Other times I find an inspirational quote (quoting other healers and teachers and sometimes just quoting myself!). I almost always repeat the headline (or a shortened version of it) in the image itself. This is very good for search results and social sharing. When your image is pinned or shared, and the key words are in the image, the connection to your article is clear and inviting.

Step two. Combine your words with a meaningful, or provocative, or simply beautiful image.

You want your reader to stop at your image. So pick or create something beautiful. Or meaningful. Use free stock photography (I love Pixabay), or low-cost stock photography (right now I use Shutterstock and Deposit — I just grab deals as they come around), or an image of your own. Or find an image that will cause your reader to stop and wonder, or even get irritated or curious (maybe irritated or curious enough to engage with you by leaving a comment).

Step three (and this is the one I just realized needs to be spoken about). Protect your brand! Use your own colors and fonts to carry your message.

Because I’m a designer and because protecting my brand and my clients’ brands comes as naturally to me as breathing, it’s taken me a while (too long!) to talk to you about this. But it’s never too late. When I make an image, I will change the colors to match my Magnolias West palette. I did that today. I used the Magnolias West red, gold, and gray in the brain, heart, lightbulb, and symbols. When I use a photo in a image quote, I color-correct it to harmonize with my colors. You do not have to get this fancy to do a good job of getting your important message across and protecting your brand at the same time. Start here:

  • Do you know your brand’s colors? If your designer/web person hasn’t given you a library of logos to use for print and web, plus a style sheet that shows you your colors and how to achieve those colors in any medium, then ask for your style sheet now! I’ve said it before. It’s your heart, your soul, your passion, your mission all represented in your brand, and you own all this information. Most of the free apps that allow you to create images will ask for hex codes for colors. Plus in a complete style sheet you’ll have specs for printing (Pantone or CMYK colors) as well as the hex and RGB spex.
  • Do you know your brand’s fonts? This is a bit trickier, because not all apps for creating image quotes contain all the fonts in the world. But with a little research you can either find an app that has your headline font available or you can find something close and stick to it — which then makes it an integral part of your brand. Consistency is key!

Are  you wondering why protecting your brand is important?

Glad you asked! Think about the word “brand.” Yup, it means to burn something into something permanently. What does that mean for you today when you work so hard to create and sustain a brand that is the visual representation of your mission and purpose? It means you want to have your words, your image, your message, your passion permanently entered into the heart and memory of your readers so that you and your business come to mind easily and often. As a designer I work my magic so that each client’s brand creates a beautiful foundation and home for all of her awesome work and service.

Your brand has many components: Your logo. The fonts you use in your marketing materials. Your color palette. Your product names and descriptors. If you don’t have all of them within easy reach, get your designer to give you what you need. And when you have this information, use it and protect it.

There are a million more questions I could try to anticipate and answer now, but I have a better idea — ask me! What did I leave out? How can I help you leverage the tools you have to get the best results for you and your beautiful and oh-so-worthy-of-protection brand? Talk to me in the comments. Or book a free Discernment Session with me to see if you’re ready to do some work on aligning your passion and purpose with your beautiful brand.

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I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Join the conversation!

    • Hi Alex, welcome here. Yup, emphatic, that’s me. I want everyone to promote and create in a consistent and sustainable way.


  1. Brand? Colors? Fonts? This is where I fall down. Clueless. I’m still experimenting with fonts. I have come up with nothing consistent. I generally use my own photos for my images. At some point, I need to decide what I like best and be consistent with it. Great tips. Thanks Sue!

    • Peggy, consistency is key. Repeat something a few times and keep it consistent and you have made it part of your brand.

      Your photos are gorgeous, which is a great start!


  2. I post one every week on the show notes for one of my podcasts. I also did a series of 300 for the blog a couple of years ago. These days, I don’t always use the colors, since they don’t always show up well against the background image, but I do use the fonts.

    • Linda, I know what that’s like — getting words to be readable over images. That’s why I always include a dark and a light color in a color palette, plus tints are possible, plus black and white.


    • Thanks, Reba. You made me realize I didn’t say anything about copyrighting the images. Ack! Looks like an edit is in the works. Thanks for the reminder.

      Love and magic,

  3. Sue, this is such good advice. Creating image quotes is a new step for me, and I’m grateful for your guidance. I’ll be returning to this page to absorb more. Because I use only my own photos, I’ll be wanting to protect them. Am not quite sure if there’s another tip about how to do that? Thank you.

    • Juliet, yes, a copyright line as a watermark in every image you post is key. Sigh. I will add this to the post this weekend! Sorry I forgot it. Thanks for keeping me honest.

      Blessed be.

  4. My brand is continualy evolving and I think by 2016 i might have it locked in. 🙂 I copyright all my at and inages and like Peggy i only use my own images and happy I use photshop
    Oh that work consistency- I am getting there.
    love Suziex

    • Suzie, I’ve begun to think “locked in” may never happen for me. Evolving, growing, flowing…. I kinda like it!


  5. Great advice Sue! I especially like your tip on branding photos. I always add my site name to my images but it hadn’t occurred to me to add the copyright symbol as well so will definitely keep that in mind from now on. Thanks!

    • Marquita, thanks for stopping by. I keep learning and growing around all of this. Asking permission to use images instead of just taking them. Protecting my own images. All part of putting on my big-girl panties and taking care of (my) business.

      Love and magic,

  6. As we just changed our website, new colors, font, logo, this was a perfect post. I also just got the name of the font we are using & hex colors so Im excited to try it out. I’m not the prime graphic designer but do fill in as we are on many platforms daily.

    • Roslyn, welcome here. Your website has a lovely welcoming feel. And now you have your fonts and colors — you are ready to rock!

      Much love,

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