Get more clicks and conversions with these easy ways to create custom CTA buttons for your ads, emails, and other marketing materials.

Calls to Actions, or CTAs, can be tricky business. You want something that stands out and gets people to click without being too pushy, all while matching the CTA to the look and tone your business. In this guide, learn how to create colorful, catchy CTA buttons with just a few clicks in Shutterstock Editor.

First, we’ll make a standalone CTA you can place on your own custom layout.

How to Make a CTA Button

Step 1: Create a New File

Go to Shutterstock Editor and navigate to the Canvas Size dropdown on the right-side panel.

  1. Make sure the DPI is set to 300.
  2. Change the Width to 320 px and Height to 80 px. Make sure the padlock icon is ‘unlocked’ or your proportions will be constrained to each other.

3 Easy Ways to Create CTAs That Push the Right Buttons – Canvas Size
Now your canvas is the total size of the button we’ll make. This size ensures legibility, while saving at a high enough resolution to scale down, if needed.

Step 2: Choose Button Color

User data shows blue and green buttons perform best. Your specific color will depend on your design and background, but it’s worth trying a blue or green button to see how they’ll perform.

To change your button color navigate to the Background panel on the right side of the app and click on the white dot beneath that. A palette of preset colors will appear. We’ll select the middle green dot, changing the color of the entire canvas background. You can also select a custom color.

3 Easy Ways to Create CTAs That Push the Right Buttons – Choose Button Color

Step 3: Add Text

Your text will depend on the interaction you want to elicit. See this article for common lengths of text and other messaging tips. (Hint: Keep it short).

  1. Hit “A” on your keyboard or click on the Text (A) icon in the tools palette on the left side of the screen.
  2. Choose “Add headline.”
  3. A text box will appear on your button background. Click and drag the handles on the corners of the box to enlarge the button – hold down Option to keep the box centered on the background.
  4. Double-click on the sample text in the box to highlight, then type “Shop Now” (for your button you can type whatever you want, just keep it short.)
  5. To center the text box, go to Alignment on the top right side attributes menu and click on the Align Horizontally icon to center the text box with the background. Now, under the Font section click on the the Align Center icon to center the actual text within the text box.

3 Easy Ways to Create CTAs That Push the Right Buttons – Add Text

Step 4: Download Your CTA Button

3 Easy Ways to Create CTAs That Push the Right Buttons – Download Image

At the top of the screen, click on the red Download button. For a sharp corner rectangle, set the File Format to JPG and the Resolution to 300. For rounded corners or other shapes, set the File Format to PNG, so the edges are transparent. See below for using the Shapes tool. 

Hit Download to save to your computer. Now you can place it in your own design.

How to Customize a CTA Button on a Template

We’ll go through the steps here to show how to choose different shapes for a CTA button and then place them on a pre-made email header template. If you’re interested, you can follow this guide to create a custom email header.

Step 1: Create a New File

Go to Shutterstock Editor, as above, but this time choose Email Header as your canvas size.

3 Easy Ways to Create CTAs That Push the Right Buttons – Choose Canvas Size

Step 2: Choose a Template

Go to the Templates (T) menu on the left side panel. Choose a template from the email header list. Chose this template because it has a placeholder headline and a placeholder CTA button. You can adjust the headline copy and button copy to reflect your preferences for directing the viewer to your desired action.

3 Easy Ways to Create CTAs That Push the Right Buttons – Choose Template

Step 3: Customize the CTA Button…

Here, I changed “local listings” to “See Listings” to read in a more actionable tone. CTAs are, literally, a Call To Action, so we want to plainly say what the button will do.

I made the button bigger by selecting the text box and background shape, then dragging the corners to my desired size. Then I made the button blue by selecting the shape and changing the fill color on the right hand panel.

3 Easy Ways to Create CTAs That Push the Right Buttons – Customize CTA Button

From here you can follow the red Download button, at the top, to license the image and have a customized email header with your own CTA. You can also read on to find out how to create a new button with a different shape.

Keep in mind, rectangles are the more commonly used shape for buttons. You can round the corners off though, if it suits your email’s vibe. Let’s try that. 

…or Make Your Own CTA Button

Scrap the button that came with the template. Click on the button text to select it, then hit Delete on your keyboard. Do the same for the container, or button box.

Hit ‘H’ on your keyboard, or go to the left side Tools menu and select the Shapes tool. Choose the rectangle with the rounded corners. It magically appears on your layout where you can stretch it, using the bezier handles, and position where you want.

3 Easy Ways to Create CTAs That Push the Right Buttons – Make Your Own CTA Button

Step 4: Add CTA Text

Hit the ‘A‘ key, or cruise your mouse on over to the Tools menu and click on the A icon for the Text tool. Choose “Add subheadline” from the menu that pops out. You’ll now have a text field on the layout that you can change to fit your button.

3 Easy Ways to Create CTAs That Push the Right Buttons – Add CTA Text

Now, we can highlight the text, type “See Listings,” then use the Font menu on the right to customize the look for the CTA. The original text was set in Droid Serif with Bold and Italic attributes.

Bold, straightforward fonts work best for CTA’s. Use italics sparingly since they can be hard to read. The CTA is arguably the most important function of your communication, being the action function, so don’t lose a click by using a fancy but unreadable font.

With the text still highlighted, click on the Fill Color dot under the Font menu, then choose white. Center and adjust from there and you’re done.

3 Easy Ways to Create CTAs That Push the Right Buttons – Place Button

Step 5: License and Download

Using the same steps as above, license the imagery and download using the red Download button at the top right. Save as a 300 dpi jpeg. You can NOW apply these steps to customizing CTA’s for all your digital communications.
3 Easy Ways to Create CTAs That Push the Right Buttons – CTA


Want to see what else you can do in Shutterstock Editor. Check out one of these simple tutorials: