i love to try out and play with visual tools online – i love being able to recommend these tools to you. i would love for every single biz owner to feel comfortable creating at least some of their own visual content – it allows you the freedom and flexibility to promote your biz in the way that you want, when you want, without needing to hire a designer every time.
here are some tools that i really love, that you may too!
this is a new online tool - it is still in beta mode - and you've gotta check this out right the eff now – if you have any desire at all to create at least some of your own visual content for your biz, you are going to fall in love with this! the goal with canva is to allow anyone to be a designer (no expensive software or design skills needed) and i think they are really going to achieve it!
what i love about it:
- it has a super easy and gorgeous interface – you can get started creating visual content for your biz, right away (there are even a few tutorials to help you get started.) simply choose a style of image, choose a layout, and start tweaking.
- there are so many layouts to choose from – i know that coming up with a nice professional pleasing layout is one of hardest parts of creating images. these layouts take the guess work out of design – and they are all completely customizable – you change the colours, the fonts etc to suit your brand.
- no software to download & it’s is free – you only pay if you choose to use the photos that they supply for $1 each, but you can use your own photos in your design too. and the layouts you make are there when you log in, so you can go back and make changes or use the layout over and over again.
beacuse it is still beta - you either need an invitation to get started on canva or you need to reserve your username and wait for canva to send you an invite. when you do join you get 5 invites to send to others, so it is worth finding people who are in and do some invite sharing.
i mentioned this one in a previous blog post and the guys at simple diagrams generously sent me an invitation to try it out. i am so glad – this is a really fantastic tool for creating visual content!
what i love about it:
- again, a great interface that is super easy to use. you choose a background, start dragging in visual elements and add text. you can also add photos, post it notes, and note cards. you can save your images to make changes later and save them as .png images to share online.
- it accesses the fonts that you have on your computer so you can use YOUR brand fonts, so you can make your diagrams really match your branding.
- it allows you to think outside the box (beyond product images and quote images) to create some new visual content for your biz. for instance, i really like the graphic recordings that people do as part of their talks/presentations and think that you could create something like that for your content using this tool. plus i think you could repurpose content that you already have to show it in an engaging and visual way.
this tool is not free but they do have a 7 day free trial, and the price to purchase is a very reasonable $29.
this is a tool that i have recommended before as well, but i wanted to expand on it a bit. when it comes to making fun shareables for social media i always recommend picmonkey. but if you need to create buttons and banners for your biz, my rec is pixlr.
what i love about it:
it’s free, it’s an online tool (no software to download) and it is very similar to using photoshop – the closest i have seen anyhow!
- so you can start with a canvas to your exact size specifications – this makes it great for creating your own buttons, banners, ad images, cover images etc. which all have their own exact specs.
- you can use the fonts that you have on your own computer – this means that your images will match your branding exactly (picmonkey, canva, and many other free tools only have their set of fonts available, so they are great for visual content that you want to match the vibe of your brand, but there are times when you will need to use your exact brand fonts.)
- you can save the image with editable layers – that means once you have created your button or banner (or any other image) you can save it and use it again and again, just making slight tweaks. this is a huge time saver! (picmonkey doesn’t allow you to save the image in a way that you can edit it and use it again.)
in my free class on creating shareables i mention that sometimes it can help to create images that have both photographs AND text. so i have been testing out mobile apps that will allow me to add text to the photos i share on instagram, facebook & twitter.
i have an android so it was important to me that i find an app that would work on both android and ios devices - i tried a number of recs and picsart was by far my favourite.
what i love about it:
gorgeous easy to use interface – i am a visual person so i like my apps to look pretty.
- you can add text – this was one of my primary needs, so while some of the other recs were great for adding filters, borders etc. i wanted one that would allow me to easily add text. picsart has a regular text tool, with a variety of fonts, but it also allows you to add text in the draw function… which is how i added the text in this example.
- fun feautures - this app goes beyond the typical borders and filters with stickers, clipart, hand drawn borders, the draw function, can add photos on top of photos, make collages… i haven’t played with it all yet, but i am digging this a lot. plus the photo-editing tools were easy to use – so i have the basics along with the fun.
- sharing – some of the other apps required me to save my image and close and then go over to Instagram and upload. picsart allows me to send my image straight to insty as well as sharing it in a number of other ways (facebook, twitter, email, text message etc… everything you want a phone photo app to do.)
the app is free, the paid version has ads removed and i will definitely get the paid version. this one is staying on my phone for sure.
honourable mentions: befunky, beautiful mess (ios), letterglow (ios) (you can read the whole list of recs here on the facebook page)
phew! that’s a big list of recs today! i hope it helps!
do you have favourite image apps? do let me know. and for more online tool recs check: