Creating a featured image for the Fedora Magazine

Each article in the Fedora Magazine must have a featured image. The image gives the article added visual appeal. It also appears in links on social media, to attract more viewers.

These images are created as SVG (scalable vector graphic) images. To work with these images, you should install a SVG capable application such as Inkscape[Inkscape]. You will also need the git[git] utility installed.

Watch the Creating Featured Images Workshop video on our YouTube channel for a visual demo of the guidelines and instructions below, plus some additional Inkscape tips.

Important guidelines

  • Only use the Fedora logo occasionally, such as for important announcements, or to indicate a project affinity.

  • Do not use logos from other projects. Most require permission for use, and it is difficult to assign a recipient for permission in a group-owned project like the Magazine.

  • Only use acceptably licensed pictures, photos, or screenshots, or ones that you have made yourself and thus can contribute with such a license. (More on this below.)

Getting the image repository

Open a Terminal. (You’ll type commands into the terminal for some of the following steps.)

Install the git and inkscape packages if you don’t have them installed already:

$ sudo dnf install git inkscape

If desired, change directory into the folder where you like to store your project work. This example uses the folder name projects, but you should use a folder you have on your system. This step is optional:

cd projects

Now clone the git repository of Fedora Magazine images:

$ git clone https://pagure.io/fedoramagazine-images.git

Creating a new image using the template

Open Inkscape, and choose File > Open… (or hit Ctrl+O). Navigate to the project folder, then into fedoramagazine-images, then into images. Choose the template.svg file.

Save this as a new file with a different name.

You can use the assets inside this file to start with the right-sized document, with some pre-configured backgrounds. Feel free to look at other SVGs for guidance. If you don’t have experience with these images, try to stick with fonts and motifs that you see in recent banners. But also feel free to experiment! For instance, use photographs (freely licensed, such as CC-BY or CC-BY-SA) with a text overlay for a nice look. Unsplash.com has a large library of images in the public domain you can use to get started.

Reusing an old image

It makes sense to reuse an old image if there is a thematic link from the previous article to the new one. Try to vary something about the image, such as the text. If the background is abstract (not a photo), consider rebalancing the color.

When you reuse an old image, be careful that you have all the correct fonts installed. To see a list, you can run this command:

grep font <IMAGE_FILE_NAME> | sed 's/^.*font-family:\([^;]*\).*$/\1/'

You can ignore font names "serif" and "sans-serif." Be sure to install any fonts that you don’t have on your system already, so the image is rendered correctly both on your screen and when you build a JPG later.

Background images

You can find compatibly licensed images at Unsplash, or you can try other image search engines. Be sure to choose only images with CC0, CC-BY, or CC-BY-SA licenses. (Commercial and derivative uses must be permissible.)

Before you import your background to the SVG, scale and trim it using GIMP or another image editor to an 1890x800 size, and a JPG quality of about 75-80%. This keeps the SVG from being too large — it will reduce the size from many MB to just a few hundred KB.

Fonts

There are a few fonts that are commonly used in featured images. You are encouraged to use these fonts in your images to help featured images fit into the general “theme” that other images follow. They are all freely available at the links provided. The fonts we commonly use on the Fedora Magazine are listed below.

  1. Open Sans (especially the "Light" variant)

  2. Bungee (for a slightly technical but fun feel)

  3. Oswald (for a more technical feel)

  4. Josefin Slab (friendly with serifs)

  5. Zilla Slab (friendly with serifs)

  6. Grand Hotel (for a fancy script-y feel)

  7. Montserrat (friendly and Sans-like)

  8. Roboto Slab (friendly with serifs)

  9. Molot (heavier font, feels technical)

To use these fonts on your Fedora system, download the font and unpack the OTF or TTF file (if required) into your ~/.fonts folder. Then update your font cache:

$ fc-cache

You will need to close and reopen Inkscape, GIMP, or other applications to take advantage of the new fonts.

Getting your work reviewed

If you’d like to post your work somewhere, convert it to a JPG first. This will typically be a smaller file. Make sure your SVG file is saved in the fedoramagazine-images/images/ folder as above. Typically these should be named after the article in some way to make it easier to find images later. For this example, let’s assume your SVG file is named using-inkscape.svg.

Open a Terminal and go to the fedoramagazine-images/images/ folder:

$ cd projects/fedoramagazine-images/images/

Now use the helpful make target we’ve provided. This creates the correct sized (1890x800 pixels) JPG automatically, if you provide the same name as your SVG file:

$ make using-inkscape.jpg

Now you can post this file, using-inkscape.jpg, online, and then provide that URL to the mailing list for review. Remember, don’t attach your JPG to a mailing list post. URLs are the correct way to have your file reviewed.