The Art of Crafting a Preview Image
The preview image for each tutorial is an incredibly important part of your Tuts+ site. These graphics adorn the homepage, show up in roundups and newsletters, and perform the job of enticing the reader to follow through to the rest of the tutorial. Envato places a huge emphasis on design, and it's important that these graphics are beautifully designed.
Here are some guidelines to help you when creating preview images!
Your preview image should be 400x277px in size. Our .psd template is a good place to start:
You should make sure that important elements are kept within the designated zone (there's a 20px wide area around the outside of the image in which elements may get cut off).
You should use a solid colour that fits with the style of image or graphic you're using, or white (#ffffff), if you feel that's more appropriate. Don't use a transparent background, as it won't work correctly on our site.
In Photoshop, use File > Save For Web.
- If your preview image is photographic or painterly in quality (a photo, a digital illustration, a video screenshot), save your file as a JPEG.
- If your preview image has flat colours or very few colours (a logo, a simple illustration), save it as a PNG.
- You should ensure your preview image is not over 50kb in size.
- An icon/symbol that represents the tutorial in question, rather than a screenshot of some code
- Simple, flat colours
- Plenty of spacing around the edge of the image
- Examples of the "final effect" of the tutorial
- Good quality, relevant stock graphics/photography (make sure we own a license!)
- Make sure that any icons/graphics are centred in the frame
- Replicating the tutorial name in the image
- Doing fancy perspective effects with screenshots
- Using cheesy stock graphics
- Any stock that we don't have a license for (find out more)
There are only a few specific instances where you should use text in a preview image — in every other case, it should be entirely graphical. You can use text when a preview image is:
- A logo
- Used to exemplify the main technique in a tutorial
- More graphical than it is "readable" (i.e., in a tutorial on writing in script, or on designing a font)
- Part of an icon
- Part of an interface
Not feeling particularly strong in Photoshop? Have a think about an idea/concept that you think would work well as a preview image, then send it through for your editor to consider. Then we'll have someone from our in-house design team work on the graphic for you.