One of the best things about the internet is that small businesses can reach thousands of people daily using social media channels like instagram. You don’t need a big design budget to create beautiful compelling images by using these simple, free, (or cheap), online tools. Zoe Betty has reviewed 4 of the most popular, to save you the pain of doing it yourself.
One of the most important activities for a brand is to access their customers lives in meaningful ways beyond the ‘hard sell’. Brands are frequently ‘lifestyle’ choices and so producing strong images, often with motivational quotes, that your followers share and endorse will increase your brand equity. This is because buying choices have been proven to be influenced by the lifestyle a brand offers to its consumers.
The great thing about the internet is that anyone can become a designer. Get creative with these tools and you can be producing your own unique professional images every day to post on your social media channels like pinterest and instagram. Make sure you are clear before you start what style and message you want to put across, then download one of the below. These are the ones I have used:
1.Over (iOS and desktop)
This is the one I use on my iPhone. They offer free daily artwork which is VERY limiting making it almost essential in my opinion to upgrade to some of their paid for packages.
Pro Toolkit whereby you can buy even more powerful tools in separate units ranging from crop, blur, filter to drop shadow functionality costing between £0.79 and £1.49 each or £2.29 for the whole kit.
Big Bundle with 530+ illustrations and 170+fonts for £2.29 again with themed font families available for less.
Artwork bundles are also available to purchase in themed packages like ‘Spring Bundle’ or ‘Earth Love.’
Cost – I chose to download the pro toolkit for £2.29 but I am using my own artwork and making do with their limited free fonts. It makes it very tempting to buy the big bundle as well, which would cost £4.58 in total – making it a relatively expensive app.
If you borrow quotes there is no nice way to add the source under the quote in a smaller size and right aligned as other apps do. Plus I would like to overlay my own artwork over the background and a transparency function.
However once you have the kit, you have a world of artwork and fonts at your disposal to make your image unique. The tool kit makes it easy to adjust pictures quickly does some really nice things and the user-face is simple. Here are a few examples of artwork I made for Zoe Betty and my clients on pinterest and instagram.
Zoe Betty’s verdict on Over? 2 STARS
2. Picmonkey (desktop)
You can use picmonkey on your PC or Mac (they are launching mobile soon). A lot of people use picmonkey as a basic alternative to Photoshop which is how I have been playing with it.
I did not pay the subscription or event take the free trial as I was nervous I would end up forgetting to cancel within the timeframe, however I was quite happy with the free tools it provided me with. All the edit functions are there ready to use and you can make a lot more than just an instagram or pinterest quote on it if you so choose they have a variety of sizes and options.
The cursor tool is clunky and the interface is not so slick as other apps coming out.
I was able to erase the unwanted background of an image so that it was a picture on a transparent background that I then saved as a png and placed on top of another background using the overlay tool.
The have amazing space themes!
Zoe Betty’s verdict on Picmonkey? 2 STARS
This has so many options from GIF animation to filters to blending images together. The options really are thorough and very simple to use.
Everything just seems a bit naff. The filters and effects and animations are a really nice idea but none actually look very nice. They look cheap and, well the old adage is proven – you get what you pay for!
It is free! There is a tool for everything, I mean really there were so many in the drop down lists that I couldn’t try them all out. If you are not looking for high design then this tool could definitely be of use.
Zoe Betty’s verdict on Lunarpic? 1STAR
My favourite so far! I have just used it on my Mac and there are some really nice free images, quotes and you can upload your own pictures and overlay them with artwork and icons.
There are some nice free photos but if you want to branch out then they cost a dollar a pop which could add up quickly. The photos are quite American-themed if you want British feel you won’t find it here.
There are enough quality pictures, artwork and advanced tools for free in my opinion to not necessarily need to pay a dime. I have created some nice images without forking out that I am very happy with. The interface is easy to use and templates sizes are clearly labelled for each social media platform.
Zoe Bettty’s verdict on Canva? 3 STARS