Have you ever seen an image that was almost Pinterest-worthy, but not quite? How about a social media ad that just seemed off-balance? More than likely, that vague feeling that something about those images was not right stemmed from a lack of symmetry or some element that was out of alignment. Although an experienced designer can eyeball the alignment of visual elements, the best way to ensure accurate alignment in your project is to use a graphic design tool like Shutterstock Editor.
Align to Canvas
Once you’ve added a background image, a few shapes, and some text to your image, you’ll probably want to play around with the design a bit just to see what looks good. To move objects around the canvas easily, use the distribute button (one vertical line and two horizontal lines) on the object toolbar at the top of the workspace. First, select the object, then click distribute. From there, you’ll see a menu that lets you move the object to the left, right, or center horizontally and top, bottom, or center vertically. If you choose center for both your horizontal and vertical alignment, your object will move to the exact center of the canvas.
Align to Another Object
What if you want to center text on a shape, but don’t want the shape centered on the canvas? There’s an option for that, too. First, select both your shape and your text by clicking on the canvas and dragging the selection box around both objects. Then, find the distribute button again. This time, when you click center horizontally and center vertically, your two selected objects will center to each other instead of to the canvas. With the two objects still selected, you can then drag to reposition them within the canvas, and they will stay aligned.
Manipulate Multiple Objects at Once
You can also use the multi-select function to rotate or scale multiple objects while maintaining their relationship to each other. For example, selecting two objects at the same time and then scaling them up ensures that they both increase in size at the same rate. You can also use this feature as an easy way to get an exact color match on multiple items.
Lock an Object in Place
What if you want to align one object in a certain way (centered or not) and then play around with other elements in your design? To make sure you don’t accidentally select and move or resize an object you’re already happy with, select that object and then click the lock button. This feature allows you to lock that element in place and then unlock it if you decide to move it later.
Go Forth and Design
The best way to learn the ins and outs of an image editor is to experiment with it. Try the above tips for creating eye-catching visuals with Shutterstock’s graphic design tool, and check out our templates and social media presets, as well as our huge collection of beautiful images. Remember, you can experiment with our images in Editor as much as you want to before purchasing a license, or you can upload your own images.