I really have to sing the praises of two graphics programs that I use all the time. The first is open source and wonderful! The second is inexpensive and does just about everything for me for upscale tweaking of logos, buttons, and icons. Today I made this ad with the use of them both.
The image was put together using GIMP, that stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program, an open source and free graphics program that I use instead of Adobe Photoshop®. You read that correctly. Free. However with all open source projects that means it is a publicly shared software that anyone can modify, when it says free, it hopes you will read: Download me, use me, and if you like what you find, please donate time, money or services to the project. GIMP is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.
I could do everything in GIMP but since I am a graphic designer by default and usually working for myself to create something I need now, I have purchased a little program called Art Text . I can find templates I like that share some characteristic with what I want to do, and then I personalize the heck out of them them with a couple of clicks and have an element to use in one of more projects.
The header and buttons for this ad were created with Art Text and imported into the GIMP image. The background and regular text were done completely in GIMP. While it may not be Madison Avenue, I think it is quite nice.
Of course there is a learning curve. I have been using GIMP since 2006 when I wanted to make textures for my Second Life creations and didn’t want to spend a fortune for software for what was just play. I quickly became familiar with the program having used similar programs in a former life, and then I began looking for a nice little software package that would do the lettering and buttons that my old laptop just couldn’t handle due to memory constraints I ran into when using GIMP. I have been using Art Text for 3 years and have used other programs by its manufacturing company and have nothing but good things to say about them.