The right image can make or break an article’s performance. Discover how to create custom graphics using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Tired of spending hours searching for an image to fit your article? Nobody’s got time for that. Or perhaps you have an idea for website imagery that stock images just aren't living up to.

how to create custom graphics using Illustrator and Photoshop

BabelQuest's co-founder Eric Murphy faced a similar dilemma when hunting for an image to showcase his recent Pulse article, Is Inbound Marketing a Vitamin or an Aspirin? A custom graphic was the solution. (Check out the article for a full-sized image.)

Here’s a quick walkthrough of the six-step process I frequently use to create them.

How to create custom graphics using Illustrator and Photoshop in six steps


  1. how to create custom graphicsStart by finding an image that you feel is relevant to your article. This could be a stock image or even a photograph that you’ve taken with your phone; as long as it’s good quality, it doesn’t matter. For this example, I used a stock image of pills spilling from a bottle. Open it in Adobe Illustrator.

  2. This is where you need patience and an eye for precision.

    create graphics using Illustrator

    Using the Pen tool, trace each shape in the image. You don’t have to do it this way, but I find it easier to draw the whole shapes and remove the excess lines later than to trace the image exactly as it is. Once you’re comfortable with your vector, you can remove the original image and you should be left with the basic line work.

  3. how to create custom graphics using photoshopNext, transfer the image to Photoshop. To avoid a decrease in quality — a frequent issue that occurs when working between Illustrator and Photoshop — increase the pixel resolution before saving the image in Illustrator (this is in the options when saving). This should correspond with the size that you intend for your vector to be, so the bigger you want your vector, the higher the resolution you’ll need.

  4. create graphics for blogIn Photoshop, you can start adding imagery and colour. For this image, I used existing images of both the HubSpot flywheel and BabelQuest’s logo. As both of these images are circular, they were perfect for replacing the face of the pills. To achieve this, I resized the images inside the shapes before using the warp option to make them fit the image precisely.

  5. After filling in a few of the shapes following this process, you’re then onto the easy bit: colouring the rest of the image. Staying true to the source image, I used similar colours to fill in the rest of the vector to make it visually appealing rather than full of clashing colours that make your eyes want to fall out.

  6. Save your image as a JPEG with a high-quality resolution and you’re good to go. Upload your unique graphic image with the article, then crack on with sharing it in whichever way your distribution strategy dictates.

NOTE: Ellie is an intern with a love of graphic design and all things illustrated. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed having her around the office and we’re sure we’ll be seeing her again in the near future. Watch this space!

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About the Author

I'm a graphic design enthusiast with a love for all things illustrated.

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