Successful StampsLearn how to command the masses through well thought-out stamps.
written by `miontre for Community Week in %projecteducate
Stamps are small (usually 99 x 56 px) images used on deviantART to express an opinion, share an interest, give personal facts, show support for something, or anything similar. Stamps are usually funny, but many can be controversial or serious too. By using the thumbcode, deviants can paste stamps onto their profiles or into their journals where it serves the same purpose as the creator of the stamp initially made it to.
Stamps can become quite popular quite quickly, and even after their peak continue to see comments and favourites coming in due to their viral nature (people share them which leads other people to see them). Many deviants find their stamps taking the top spots in their gallery's popularity ranking!
However, if they aren't made well, stamps won't be seen by anybody. If you want to learn how to make awesome stamps which everyone will love, read on!
Step 1: What do you want to say?
First, you actually need something to say. It can be something deep and meaningful or of similar such significance as what the fox says. You may want to sit down and plan your stamp, or you may occasionally get something pop into your head. Either way, here are some starting points:
- Express an opinion. Is there anything you believe in and stand strong for (or against)? In other words, do you have any strong opinions which you want to share? It doesn't matter if your opinion is widely agreed with or is controversial, but make sure you're comfortable to have it next to your name, and aren't afraid to come into contact with people who disagree with you.
- Share an interest. All of us have interests. Pick one of your favourite interests, so that yourself and like-minded individuals can share their love for X interest!
- Give personal facts. Tell us about you! And better yet, help others to tells us about themselves too! You could go with something which is probably widely shared, like your favourite colour or food, or something a bit quirkier, such as the fact that you like to pretend you're Miley Cyrus when you go into the shower (both the singing and the dancing)!
- Show support for something (or someone). This is similar to the above three, only this time, you are showing your support for a thing or a person. Maybe you think the new usersymbols are actually pretty cool, or maybe you think %projecteducate is the shizz.
- Current events which you follow or are interested in are good to make stamps for. It gives you a chance to make commentary, as well as take advantage of the hype the event is generating.
- "That's so true!" There are hundreds of small things which we all do without realising that others do them too. It's hard to find something; and even when you do, it can be a bit of a leap of faith because sometimes it's actually just you.
- Make a lul. Find a joke or a pun which makes you laugh and turn it into a stamp. If you are especially witty, you might have one of your own masterpieces to share.
Step 2: Make your stamp, and make it good.
Taking the space occupied by the border into consideration, you've only got around 4557 pixels to cram your message into. This includes text and images. Here are some tips to make the most of your space, while still attracting immediate attention (you can find resources at the bottom of this article):
- Don't write an essay. As tempting as it is, you don't really have the room to write more than a few lines of text. Therefore, it pays to make your message as short as you possibly can. Oftentimes, you have to cut a lot of what you want to say, and only include what is necessary to get your main idea across. You can use animation to put your text on multiple slides, and if you're lucky, you may be able to fit two lines on one slide. That being said though, it's best to avoid multiple slides if you can. If you have more than three slides, people may not bother waiting for the animation to restart so that they can read about your passion for kittens.
- Add images to express your message. Images can help to strengthen what you're saying. Usefully, they can also say something extra which you couldn't fit into your text. A picture is worth a thousand words, people! However, if you feel you don't need an image, or simply want to make your stamp about the written message; you can do without.
- Use pixel art, if appropriate. Not only do people love pixel art, but there are a number of other reasons which make it a sensible choice. It doesn't occupy very much space, perfect for your needs; but more importantly, it is made to be displayed at a small size. There is no point scaling a photograph or other image down to stamp size - you loose a lot of information that way, making it harder for people to figure out what it is. Pixel art, on the other hand, is precisely tailored from the start to be seen clearly at small sizes. It doesn't matter if you're bad at pixel art; especially if your stamp is funny - because bad pixel art is funny! If you still feel self-conscious, there are plenty of tutorials out there for you to use.
- Use a pixel font. See above. I know you like Comic Sans, but be a bit more considerate towards other people. It's not made to be displayed at a tiny size in the first place, either.
- Use the standard stamp size. Seriously. A large stamp amongst a collection of regular 99 x 56 px ones sticks out like a sore thumb. Not to mention, it looks ugly.
- Borders are obviously a must! These are what make your stamp actually look like a stamp! Majority of stamps use pre-made borders; but if you want to spice things up a little, it's perfectly acceptable to make your own border.
Step 3: Submit your stamp
Finally, it's time to submit your stamp!
- Add a title. When you add a title, actually add something to your stamp! There are various ways you can do this:
- Add that little bit extra which you couldn't fit into the stamp itself.
- Explain the joke for those that didn't get it.
- Add some extra food for thought.
- Provide a summary if you have an especially deep and analytic stamp with abstract meaning.
- Write a description. Don't just leave it blank like you do with your photography submissions. People want to know about your stamp, why you made it, and the meaning behind it. If you've made a controversial stamp (or any opinion stamp, for that matter), make sure you back up your opinion in depth: you may just save yourself a lot of copy pasting.
- Add keywords. These will help people to find your stamp in search. Add generic keywords, such as "stamp" and "pixel art", as well as more specific ones which reflect what your stamp is about and its genre.
- Submit to groups. Your watchers might appreciate your stamp, but if you really want to push it out to the community at large, submit it to some groups. And when I say some, I really mean a lot. There are quite a number of stamp-oriented groups, as well as some wider ones which accept stamps too. Take a look at the groups for the software you used to make the stamp - a few of them may accept stamp submissions also.
And there you have it! A stamp which is not only cool to look at, but also expressive. Oh, and popular!
Any questions? Leave a comment and I'll get back to you!