Blog Advice VI: Creating Cool Visuals

When I started Ramshackle Glam in March of 2010, one the major things that I was totally in the dark about was how to create a visually appealing page: I knew nothing about graphic design and very little about photography, so I basically just ran around with an iPhone and a point-and-shoot and did the best I could.

It was okay, I guess…but it certainly wasn’t anything spectacular.

And while getting a decent camera (I have the Canon T1i and a 50mm lens) definitely helped in terms of making my site look the way I wanted it to, one of the tools that I’ve found to be completely, totally invaluable is Polyvore – it’s what I use to make 99% of the composite images you see on RG, and is so fun and easy. I swear.

Weekend Trip Essentials by ramshackleglam featuring alexander mcqueen

You can use it to make simple, straightforward composites like this…

Denim Shirt 3 Ways

Denim Shirt 3 Ways by ramshackleglam featuring a metal bracelet

And this…

But what it’s really great for is for generating layered visuals like this…

Resort Retreat


And this…

Floral Blouse: Now and Later

Floral Blouse: Now and Later by ramshackleglam featuring jean shorts

And this.

(By the way, I also used Polyvore to create the words “Here’s How It Works.” I told you: I use it for everything.)

1. Sign up. You can use the tool without signing up, but if you sign up you can create a page, browse and like/comment on other user’s sets, etc. (You can see all my sets here.)

2. Go to “Create” and then “Set”, and then use the search box to find items you’d like to include (“white blouse”, for example, or “red shoes”), and sort by things like price and color. You can also download a “Clip to Polyvore” button and clip images directly from sites to use in your sets (that’s how I got the photos of myself into the sets above).

3. Once you’ve figured out what items you want to include, start playing with the embellishments to create a layered effect. I wish I could do a play-by-play for these, but honestly, the options are so endless that you really just have to dig in and start working with the tools to see what they’re capable of.

Feminine Blouse + Rugged Boots

Feminine Blouse + Rugged Boots by ramshackleglam featuring denim shorts

Earlier this week I stopped into the Polyvore offices for a few tips, and then spent some time playing around with the new techniques I learned…and was able to create the image above (product info here) in about fifteen minutes. And I’m hardly an expert at this stuff, so if I can do it, you certainly can.

One more thing: in addition to fashion sets, you can also create very cool interior images. I made the above living room inspiration board (complete with cute dog) yesterday morning…and now I need to own an Eames lounger. I mean, I needed to own one before I made this board…but now I really do. And maybe that coffee table can come home with me, while we’re at it. (That would be the sole downside to Polyvore: the fact that it makes you want to spend money on things that you maybe shouldn’t, like five-thousand-dollar chairs.)

If you have any questions about how to create specific elements, feel free to ask away – I’ll do the best that I can to help!

Blog Advice I: General Do’s And Don’ts

Blog Advice II: Rules And Disclosure

Blog Advice III: Finding The Time

Blog Advice IV: To Niche Or Not

Blog Advice V: “Evergreen” Content and Making Money

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