All that to say, even words people can learn some of the basics of design. You don't need an art degree to attempt to create marketing graphics (though seminars and how-to books are a good idea, so you understand composition, balance and the like).
These days, you don't even need the pricey software I learned on (Quark, Photoshop, Illustrator). There are a number of freeware solutions that will enable you to create very attractive designs. They aren't as powerful as the pricey design products, but they also aren't nearly as complicated to learn (I'm looking at you, Photoshop).
GIMP is a great, basic photo editor, available free, that allows you to not only resize images, but also tweak the colors and use layer masks--one of Photoshop's most powerful tools. Check out GIMP's tutorials page for instructions on using some of these more advanced options. Because it is open-source software, there are lots of cool plug-ins you can get from third parties to make the software even more powerful. Check out the 20 best free GIMP plug ins to start.
Canva is my new favorite toy. This powerful web-based design platform has lots of free design elements, premade designs, and great, easy-to-use tools to make quick marketing graphics.
Once you login--you can do so easily by linking with a Facebook or Google account--pick the type of element you want--a blog graphic, social media post (Twitter-friendly designs are under this heading), card, poster, etc. This will create a live working area in the correct size for your needs.
From there, you can select one of their premade designs, or you can assemble something freestyle. The amazing thing is that EVERYTHING is editable. It's kind of crazy. You can upload your own photos, pull them into the live area and resize them, flip them, turn them on a jaunty angle. The backgrounds come with textures and colors, but these are editable too. You can change the colors, even the opacity.
You can layer in shapes and text. And wow do they offer a lot of very cool pre-make text elements that are, once again, editable (made larger and smaller, different color, different typeface). Pick the shape that will work well with your message, then simply change the pre-made text to your words, and edit any other attribute as needed. Let me give you a couple examples, from my fairly quick and easy noodling efforts:
This is a standard Twitter-post size. I used one of Canva's free photos, expanding it until it was the right width--the program automatically cropped it to fit in the live area. I dropped in "heading" text element on the left, then changed the typeface to "Emily's Candy" (is that not a great font name?) and played with the color mixer until I had a nice crimson that reflected the raspberries. The black text is the standard "subheading" type,
This is perhaps the most complex design I've attempted so far. I got the 3D book covers using the free 3D cover designer available from Adazing (warning--you will get a lot of e-mail ads from them in exchange for the free design). Each of these I uploaded. Because they have some white around them to accommodate the drop shadow, I stuck with a white background. The text elements are, top to bottom, subheading, body text, and heading. Only the heading text did I significantly edit, changing to a brush-syle typeface and tweaking the color. I now know how to fine-tune my color choices more, so I will likely do some revisions to this ad for my book series.
It's easy to do permutations of a design by making a copy on an additional page, change an element or two and see which you like better. When you're ready to post the image elsewhere, use the share button, or download. If you have permutations and want to download only one, click "options" in the download menu, and pick just the page you want.
Anyway, That's a little taste of some of the fun things you can do to jazz up your blog posts, Twitter posts, or Facebook posts. Follow me on Twitter @LaurelGarver to see what new experiments I dream up.
Have I convinced you to try out some of these tools? Do you enjoy design or find it intimidating?