The goal of these texts are to give an overview of different software available to use for free or for pay depending on your current working community. Today there are so many different tools for any design or creative needs. These explanations are to help the beginner, to introduce the software, its basic tools, and present a sample project to help one become familiar with the layout.
Adobe Express is a free online and mobile graphic design app used to create images, videos, and web pages.. What I love about Express is their large bank of templets. There are templets for so many things and they make it super easy to change anything about the template to personalize it to the project you are working on.
Below we will go through the tools of Abobe Express by creating a social media post for an imaginary upcoming event. You can follow what I’m doing exactly or if you feel inspired I encourage you to go a little off script, find a template you love, colors that look good to you, fonts that engage you, etc.
Step One: Accessing Express
This can be done either on your browser or by downloading the app on your phone then logging in.
Go to log in ->
Now there are two options
- If you have a school at supports Adobe products press “I am a student” or “I am a Teacher” -> type your school email and follow the steps until you return to the Adobe Express Home page
- If you do not have a school email you can create a free account by clicking “sign up with email” or clicking one of the other email options. Follow the steps until you reach the Adobe Express home page
After you have made it to the home page (pictured bellow) follow to step 2
Step Two: Explore
Take a few minutes to explore the website, look at all the different templates, look at all the different available sizes, all the different possibilities. Think about the different ways you could see yourself using this tool.
Personally, I use Adobe express for so many things, even outside academic and work stuff. I’ve created Christmas cards, birthday invitations, personal Instagram posts, and sometimes I just play around for fun. So, take a sec just to familiarize yourself with the software. You’ll notice that this interface is very use friendly
After familiarizing yourself with Express, lets create.
Step Three: Create
Now here is where you have the option to either follow me exactly, a little, or not at all. I want you to play with this site as much as you feel comfortable so if your confident and have an idea of something you want to create, go ahead and do that! If not, follow along with me, and if while you are following along you want to change, let’s say the font, or the background color, go ahead and make it your own.
*note: that this tutorial is written for the online version and not the phone app. If you are using the phone app many of these steps can be complete exactly the same, but some things (selecting multiple items, etc.) cannot be done on the phone.
If you’re following me, here is the scenario
Scenario: you are tasked with creating a poster for the 14th annual Smith Lecture on “Greek Mythology: Religion, Culture, or Both?” given by Mary Lexington, happening Thursday, 2/9/23 @ 11:30pm in PR 210
Poster follow along:
type “Greece” into the search template bar and press the enter key
Here we will scroll until you find the example below
Hover your mouse over the template and click on “start from” or “remix template”
If you cannot find this exact template use any that look appealing to you, remember the scenario and find a design that fits the project.
After you click the template you are brought to the Express workspace
On the left you will find all the different elements you can add onto a project. Photos, shapes, backgrounds, special effect, etc. can all be found on the left side. The right side of the page is for editing the elements that are already present on your project. That includes the color, font, layout, placement, effects, etc.
Because this this will be a poster for an academic event. Lets start by adjusting the size of the project.
Go to resize -> custom size -> change width to 17in and height by 11in -> Done.
This is the size of a standard poster but in landscape form.
Now we can start adding the information for our scenario
Here are some design tips to help you with this process
- People tend read at a diagonal from the top left of a page to the bottom right, so make sure all really important information falls in this line, try to avoid putting extremely important info in the top right or bottom left corner.
- Use design elements to guide the eye to what you want it to see. Photos, fonts size, background, etc.
- Rule of thumb, use max 2 fonts per page. It keeps the project consistent and less cluttered. Often, combine both a serif tans a sans serif font create the best font combinations.
- Think about the color wheel and what colors complement each other. Try to pick colors that work well together unless you want the graphic to give a more jarring effect.
- Make sure the project reflects the event it is representing. People expect flyers for a party to look and have a different theme than posters for a lecture hosted by a college.
Here is what I have changed in our template to create an engaging academic lecture poster.
First, I added all the vital information for the event so that nothing is lost I the design process.
Next, I adjust the layout to make sure that all information is aligned and looks pleasing to the eye. I want to make sure the poster does feel cluttered, or else people will be less likely to read the information.
Finally I play around with fonts and other stylistic elements to make it engaging.
Here are some Express tools I used while making this design.
One tool I use often is the duplicate tool. I use this to ensure the font and settings are the same on some text boxes. So I will first select the text box I want, duplicate the text box (located on the right), then change the text to what I need.
Some fonts are amazing and look good as is. Some need to be changed. So for certain elements I go change the font and the size of the text. This is located under “Main style” when you select a text box. This is also the area you can change the color of the text. And underneath this section you have “Effects” where you can add outline or shadows to your selected text.
Effects aren’t always what you need to help a text stand out. This is where “Shapes” can come into play. This template used an oval shape to go behind the presenter’s name
“shapes” can also be used to bring some design elements to enhance the graphic. Below you can see the star shapes are scattered around the poster.
One of my favorite tools is the ability to change a posters color just by picking a new color theme. To do this, deselect what you are working on by pressing off the art board. You will then see on the right-hand side a section called “colors.” Go there and you can either pick a new theme to randomize or just randomize the colors you are already working with.
You can then choose between different color pallets that are organized by descriptions. I choose this palette under “Professional” and will press the scramble button until I like how the poster looks or will change palettes completely.
Finally, I am ready to save my poster. I want to first give it a good file name. Make sure to add a date, keep spaces to a minimum, and be short but descriptive.
Go to the top left and you will see “MyProject” press this and it will allow you to change the file name.
Let us now download this poster. Go to the top right of the page and you will see a download button. Press “download” then select what type of file you would like to use.
After deciding what type of file is best for your project, press “Start Download.”
This example has been written to help you explore the basics of Adobe Express. There are many other features about Adobe Express that were not covered. Adobe Express is generally a beginner and user-friendly design application and there are many other examples to follow online.