As everyone knows, we here at Feedback Secrets are big on open source software. The reason being is that free, open source software initiatives, such as OpenOffice, Ubuntu, and Gimp, allow small businesses on a budget access to powerful software packages with no out of pocket expense.
I recently started a new social media project revolving around the job search in the Washington D.C. area. As part of this project I decided to create a basic logo using Gimp.
Now I’ve never used Gimp before, though I do have some familiarity with other graphic design packages such as Photoshop and Xara.
What was great about the experience was that whatever questions I had, I was able to find answers for with just four YouTube video tutorials. Two of the videos I spent some time studying and the other two I skimmed to get the answers I was looking for.
The first image represents the moo.com minicards that I created.
Now the videos didn’t answer all of my questions, but what they did was to get me over the hump from my previous level of understanding to where I needed to be in order to complete the project.
After the minicards, my next challenge was to figure out how to create vertical text to adapt the logo I had created into the new background for the project’s Twitter profile. After Googleing the subject I was disheartened to discover a static webpage claiming that there was no simple way to do vertical text in Gimp.
Convinced that this was nonsense, I set out to discover a YouTube video that would simply and quickly answer my question. After checking out two videos on the subject I came to realized the sad truth that the first site had been correct.
After about five minutes of dealing with feelings of dejection I decided to type in each letter as an individual layer and then to place each letter under the other using the move tool (by hand), before merging the layers. After the merge, I adjusted the size of both words (Job + Search) at once, as a single group.
Even the nuts and bolts of how to work with layers came from the first video I checked out on text manipulation. The moral of this story is that if you combine the power of free software with the incredible free learning tools available online, then small business owners willing to apply lots of “sweat equity” are in a position to leverage their online efforts like never before.