Create stylish frame designs for your images and text in Affinity Publisher

The ability to convert shapes directly into frames makes it easier than ever to produce exciting new ways to showcase your creative content.

In this article, we’ll cover two key skills: creating shaped frame designs, and then converting them to text and picture frames in Affinity Publisher.

Making shapes for framing content

Let’s start by building a few interesting shapes that can be used as non-standard frames. There are three ways to design a shaped frame:

1. Shape Tools

A shape created using the Shape Tools can easily form the basis for a frame. Pick a Shape Tool and drag it onto the page to create a shape.

A basic shape using the Cloud Tool.

For a tiny tweak, the orange nodes on the shape allow you to adjust the roundness of the corners.

Adjusting the shape.
The shape converted to a photo frame.

If you’re looking for something a bit more advanced, a shape that has been converted to curves (made possible by right-clicking on your chosen shape and selecting Convert to Curves) can be converted into a frame as well. You can adjust a converted shape’s individual nodes at any time.

2. Boolean Operations

Compound shapes can be used as frames too!

With two (or more) overlapping shapes selected, choose one of the Boolean options from the Toolbar or the Layer menu’s Geometry sub-menu to create a compound shape.

3. Pen Tool

Using the Pen Tool, you can draw truly unique polygons and irregular closed shapes which can then be converted to frames. With the Pen Tool selected, drag onto the page and draw in any direction to create a curve. Any closed curve can be used as a custom shape.

Converting Shapes to Frames

To convert your chosen shape into a text or picture frame, simply right-click on it and select Convert to Picture Frame or Convert to Text Frame.

Adding photos and flowing text

To add a photo to a frame simply select your frame and click Replace Image to navigate to the images saved on your computer. You can then choose whether you want to embed the image or use linked images.

If you choose to, you can also flow text into and out of a custom shaped text frame by linking the shaped text frame in the same way you would a standard text frame. Below is a text frame made using the Circle Tool.

A demonstration of how text flows between standard text frames and custom shaped text frames.

Inspiration

When it comes to designing unique frames, the options are endless, so don’t be afraid to get creative and have some fun! Here are some examples for inspiration.

An example magazine advertorial layout showing the use of custom shaped picture frames and text frames and text wrapping.
A perfume advert using text inside a custom, diamond-shaped​ text frame.
A perfume advert showing text in diamond-shaped text frames and photographs in diamond-shaped photo frames.
A 90’s inspired fashion Look Book with picture frames created using the Triangle Tool.