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!

What Dimensions Do I Use?

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).

What Background Should I Use?

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.

What Export Settings Should I Use?

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.

General Preview Image Guidelines

Things to Include

  • 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

Things to Avoid

  • 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)

When Can You Include Text?

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

Asking Your Editor for Help

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.