Pinterest Image Design Mistakes You Need to Stop Making


Are your Pinterest images just sort of “blah”? While Pinterest is a search engine, fact is… having professional looking images matters if you want people to re-pin your content and especially if you have any hope of them clicking through to view your content. The hard truth is that you could be doing all of the right things otherwise – creating awesome content, writing great Pinterest descriptions, and utilizing the best possible pin strategy… and none of it matters if your Pinterest images suck.

In this blog post, I’m going to show you some of the common mistakes you might be making with your typography, and how to make better choices so that your pin designs are easier to read, up to design standards, and generally more appealing to others.

You get mere seconds to capture someone’s interest and to stand out on Pinterest. Having graphics that are easy to read and provide enough visual contrast to be interesting is key. Unfortunately, you might think you are doing the right thing by choosing similar colors rather than finding ways to create a contrast. Take a look at the example below:




Notice that the white is difficult to read. In fact, most people won’t be able to read it because every monitor is different and your visual settings may not be the same as someone else’s. The pink is good, but if it weren’t for the heavy weight of the font, you’d have trouble reading it – especially if you were to use a lot of it. The black is perfect – it creates enough contrast to make it easy to read regardless of the font weight.

Contrast isn’t just color either. It can mean things like font weight and whether or not the text is legible when placed on a background such as a pattern or stock photo.

Never underestimate the power of white space. Adding a white block area on which to display text makes the text a lot easier to read and provides adequate contrast when using darker text. 

Lack of Visual Hierarchy

What the heck is “Visual Hierarchy”? – Basically, it’s the way by which you help your audience know where to look in a graphic. When designing your Pinterest graphics, it’s important that you give them visually interesting image to look at that helps guide their eyes to the right places… fast!

Take a look at the text examples below. The top example is boring and shows all of the text the same size. There’s nothing of interest and nothing about the text captures your attention or shows you what’s important. The second example utilizes different text sizes, font weights, and colors to bring the words to life and create a more dynamic design.



Overuse of Design Effects

1998 called and it wants it’s text effects back. Visual effects like drop shadows, outlines, gradient fills, and the like should be used sparingly where text is concerned (if ever at all). Using these effects improperly can make your Pin design look dated and unprofessional, difficult to read, and frankly… like you learned graphic design 20 years ago and never adapted to current design standards.

Take a look at these examples…


This is a mess.

This is a mistake a lot of non-designers make. They find an image they like and they try to force it to work by layering a light opacity over the image and then using effects on their text to try to make it easier to read. What they end up with instead is a dated looking graphic that’s still difficult to read.

Worse, they overuse these effects by applying different ones to sections of text to try to make it stand out depending on what’s behind it. It’s distracting and it doesn’t actually make any of it easier to read.

Having a dated, hard to read pin is a big reason why someone will pass up what might actually be awesome content!


This is… okay.

Okay, so this graphic isn’t perfect. Thanks to the removal of all of the effects, a stronger opacity layer over the background image, and paying better attention to creating contrast… the pin image is better – easier to read and more professional looking.

Viewers will be more likely to click on this image if they are viewing your pin on a computer, but might still have some difficulty reading it from a mobile device. A whopping 85% of Pinterest searches are made using a mobile device! That’s why it’s so important to be sure that your pin is easy to read when scaled down.


This is… better.

Never underestimate the usefulness of the white block behind the text trick. White space is helpful in creating necessary contrast for your pin’s text and helps guide the viewer’s eyes to all the right places. Best of all, it’s really easy to do and works every time.

The drawback here is that you might have cared a lot about the image you chose or need the visual to help aid in telling the complete story of what a viewer should expect when clicking through to your content. The answer might be to lower the opacity of the white block, but keep in mind that there’s a reason we’re using it in the first place and that lowering the opacity too much can cause just as much of an issue.


This is… BEST.

If you are in love with an image but struggling to find a solution that makes the text easy to read, you have a couple of options… Either find another image you can live with, or find a way to re-purpose the one you have in such a way that it’s useful.

The background was really too busy. It’s often best to just choose a different image entirely. I have the skills to edit the image to serve its purpose, so I chose to do so. I created my own white space and removed certain elements of the image entirely.

You don't understand Typography

Typography is the art of arranging letters in a space to make them legible, clear, and visually interesting to the reader. Everything you just learned in this blog post is about typography!

Graphic Design is often misunderstood by non-designers as just some pretty images on a page. You might even create your Pinterest graphics and find yourself unsure of what seems “off” or just “not right” about them. Why do they never quite look as nice as the ones you’ve seen professionals create?

Typography involves choice of font style, appearance, structure. It gets your attention, elicits feelings, and conveys message. It’s what makes the text come to life… and it’s arguably the most important component graphic based marketing.

Yes, in case you’re wondering… I do teach a course on this. Designing With Typography is the only course of its kind that you’re going to find. It was written with the every day online business owner in mind and it’s taught in a way that applies to your specific design needs – creating images for your blog posts, better Pinterest graphics, etc.

Don't forget to Pin it!

If you enjoyed the content of this blog post and found it valuable, please save it to Pinterest so that other people can read and learn too!

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Kimi, here!

Recovering Perfectionist Virgo with a strong overthinking gene. Totally obsessed with fonts, hexagons, and finding ways to monetize everything I can get my hands on.

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