If you’re on social media, you already know what an internet meme is. Still, for the uninitiated, a meme is a funny picture that goes viral on the web. It comes in various forms, though most of them feature photos or illustrations emblazoned with witty text usually written with caps lock on. But what if you want to make your own meme? There are websites that will allow you to quickly customize your meme from a host of existing ones. All you need to do is to choose a image template, type in your desired text, and share away. However, you can also create a whole new meme from scratch and, fortunately, it’s pretty easy to do.
Step 1: Do your research
Know your memes — It’s good practice look at memes out there that have gone viral already, especially current ones. These can provide inspiration — maybe there’s a certain meme theme that’s popular at the moment, for instance — and allow you tell you if somebody’s already tried your idea. The best resource for catching up with the latest memes and trends is Know Your Meme — a website dedicated to keeping track of any and every meme you come across.
The above image, for example, has been re-appropriated into meme-dom on multiple occasions.
Keep a watchful eye on trends — Keeping current with news, pop culture, and other memes can be a big source of inspiration. Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook are great for spotting trends, and entertainment topics are usually a win. Take note of what makes you laugh the most and what gets the most responses.
A recent meme to make the rounds is one known as the Slaps Roof of Car meme.
Choose a subject you can relate to — If you’re not a sports fan, you might have a hard time selling a sports-themed meme. Cute animals are always a great go-to when you are tapped out of ideas, but if you really want to push the envelope, choose a public figure you can easily imitate. If you’d like to use a personal experience as the center of your meme, choose one that’s easy to relate to.
Decide on a medium — The easiest medium to use is a photo, but if you can be funny or capture something funny on camera, you might want to venture into video.
Step 2: Compose your content
Collect your materials — Before going any further, this is the point where you decide if you’re going to come up with your own stuff or recycle things you’ve found online. If you’re doing a photo meme and you want to use existing content, grab the appropriate screens from the videos you want to use. You can also surf the web for images you’d like to use as pegs, or hit up Imgur’s meme generator.
Keep it short and simple — Keep in mind that the attention span of the typical internet user is pretty short, so you want to make an immediate impression. Come up with a catchphrase that uses simple and memorable language.
Find the right expression to convey — Make sure your visuals match the sentiment you’re trying to portray.
Step 3: Find the necessary tools
If you’re creating a photo meme, it might be wise to get Photoshop or use Pixlr Editor, the latter of which is a free image editor that offers similar functionality. You can also look up meme-generator sites like Imgflip’s meme generator, which let you upload your own photo to use as the background. Lastly, you can install photo apps directly on your phone that allow you to add text to your images.
Step 4: Create it
Once you have your photo — it doesn’t matter if you took it, screen-grabbed it, or found it online — you can use any of the services below.
Imgur Meme Generator (web-based)
When you get to the meme generator, click on upload new background on the right-hand side. Then, either drag your images into the box at the top of the pop-up window, or paste an image or URL in the text box housed directly beneath the Browse button. Once you do that, Imgur automatically uploads your image and brings you to the creation page.
Once your photo is ready, it will appear on Imgur’s editing page, where you can type in the text that will accompany your image. Here, you can do all sorts of things, like move the text and resize it. You can also opt to submit it to Imgur’s public library. Be sure to name your meme before clicking make this meme!
Your next page gives you a bunch of options on what to do with the meme you just created. If you want to keep it for later, just right-click the image and save it to your computer. You can also copy the link so you can share it later. If you do not want to save the image on Imgur, take note of the deletion link, because it will only appear once. Otherwise, you can add it to your Imgur account (and you can create one if you’d like).
Congrats, you’ve just made a meme through Imgur!
Not all of us can afford Photoshop, but thankfully, we all have access to a Photoshop-like web app called Pixlr. From the home page, click Open image from computer and select the image you want to meme-ify.
To add text, click on the Type Tool icon, which is emblazoned with the letter “A.” Choose Impact as a font — it’s the go-to choice for memes — and make sure you type in all caps. Fiddle with the font size until it’s proportional to the image. Then, choose white for the font color.
In the Layers window on the right-hand side, right-click on the layer containing your text and click on Layer styles. Afterward, choose Outer Glow, change the color to black, set the hardness to 10, and select a size somewhere between 6 and 8. The latter depends on your font size.
To save your photo meme, click on File > Save. Pixlr will automatically select JPEG as your output format, but you can change the name of the file if you wish. You shouldn’t need to make any changes in regards to the Quality settings, though, setting it to 100 will save the image with no compression. Click OK, and a pop-up window will allow you to save the resulting file directly to your computer.
Congratulations! You’ve just made a meme using Pixlr!
If your most creative when you’re on the run, then consider ZomboDroid’s Meme Generator, currently available for both iOS and Android. Download the app and click the photo icon in the upper-right corner in iOS and in the bottom-right corner on Android. Doing so will allow you to access your own photos, though, Meme Generator also has a ton of stock imagery to choose from! Select the photo you want and the app should automatically take you to the next step.
Enter the text you want to appear on your image at the top and bottom of the meme. Select what size font you’d like — we recommend sticking with “normal” — and click MAKE IT.
Now, either use the disk icon to save your meme to your photo album, or the share icon to share it. Here, you can copy it to your clipboard, or share it directly to Facebook, Twitter, or an email address. It’s that simple with Meme Generator!
Now, how about making a video meme? Although not as succinct in nature as still memes, video memes have a place in the world too. Below are a few resources you can rely on to capture, create, and share video memes without needing to know how to use expensive, complicated programs like Adobe’s After Effects and Apple’s Final Cut Pro.
After launching the app, tap on the Instagram camera icon in the center of the bottom menu bar, then tap Video. To start shooting your short video, press and hold the grey circle. You have a minute to use, so use it wisely. When finished with a clip, let go, and you can move on to another shot. If you don’t like the last clip, tap on Delete at the bottom of the screen.
Do remember that you can only delete the most recent clip, so don’t move on to your next shot until you’re 100 percent happy with the results.
Keep clicking next until your video shows up on your Instagram feed. That’s when you know that yes, your Instagram video meme is up and running!
Snapchat in recent years has become a popular solution to sharing short videos with friends. After launching the app and getting your subject in the shot, you’ll want to press and hold the large circle, which starts the recording process.
You can shoot video without a time constraint, and it’s all in one shot (no clips like Instagram has). Once it’s done, you can add all kinds of emoji, text, and effects to your video to make it pop — just like you would if you’re snapping a pic.
You can even save a clip too: look for the down arrow icon in the lower left hand corner of the screen after you’re done recording your clip. We’d recommend sharing it to your story over you friends — that way anyone following your snaps will be able to see your work of art for up to 24 hours after you take it. However, if you save your video, you’re free to post it anywhere else for the world to see, including Reddit, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Although not as simple as the solutions above, you can easily create a video meme by recording yourself on YouTube via webcam. When you’re logged into YouTube with your Google account, click on Upload on the top right of your screen. On the next page, you’re going to want to click Get Started under Live Streaming in the right-hand column.
You may have to complete account verification (it’s a simple process), and allow your computer permission to enable to camera and mic before continuing. From there, you’ll be able to stream out your thoughts to YouTube, but remember here that it’s all live, so that means if you mess up, there’s no starting over.
With the whole live bit, something that you might not have intended to become an internet meme might actually do so because of the content within; maybe you might just become internet famous for a totally unplanned reason.
Step 5: Share it!
Of course, for a meme to be a meme, you need to get it lots of online exposure. Tweet it, post it to Facebook, share on on Reddit, or email it to your family and friends. Happy meme-making!
- The best photo collage apps for iOS and Android
- MIT whiz kids got a robot to take on the viral #BottleCapChallenge
- How to make GIFs with Photoshop (or these free alternatives)
- Slice and dice your photos by cropping them on PC or Mac
- How to make a GIF from a YouTube video