5 Tools to Create Stunning Blog & Social Media Graphics
Updated: Feb 3, 2020
No graphic design experience needed
This post was originally published on Medium
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” You’ve heard that old cliché a million times over, and you know that if you want your company’s blogs and social media posts to gain traction, you need some appealing graphics to accompany them.
But there’s a problem.
You don’t have the budget to hire an in-house graphic designer, and you don’t have the time to learn a complicated design software.
Fortunately, there are other ways to get high-quality images and graphics for your blog posts, and they don’t require any previous graphic design experience. I use them every day for both my clients’ and my own marketing, and today I’m sharing them with you, too.
1. Stock photo sites
If, like most small businesses, you don’t have the extra budget to keep a professional photographer at your beck and call, you’ll probably find yourself relying heavily on stock photo sites. These are a good way to have access to a wide variety of professionally shot, high-resolution imagery.
But depending on the site, stock photos can be just as expensive as a session with a photographer. And if you download images from the more popular stock sites like Shutterstock, Getty, or Adobe, you’re likely to see those same photos used over and over again by businesses similar to yours … including your competitors.
That makes it really hard to develop a unique and memorable brand image.
I’ve found that the best stock images usually come from one of three free sites:
These sites have the most un-posed, natural-looking photography that reads more like a candid snapshot than a planned stock photo — no more women on bright backgrounds laughing while eating a salad.
The photos feel more relaxed and natural, which goes a long way toward warming up your audience and helping them relate to your brand.
Undraw is a lot like the stock photo sites I listed above, with one notable exception: The images are all illustrations.
Undraw was created by illustrator Katerina Limpitsouni, who is constantly adding new designs to the undraw library. You can browse and download images, customize them with your brand’s colors, or embed them as SVG files for faster loading times. And they’re completely free, so you don’t have to attribute them (though it’s always kosher to do so).
The only drawback is that the designs are all on solid white rather than transparent backgrounds, so if you plan to use these as part of a larger design, you may need to rethink your approach.
KissPNG is a great source for pre-made illustrations and graphics with transparent backgrounds. These graphics run the gamut from high-quality watercolors to cheesy clip art, so you may need to search for a bit to find the perfect image. But they’re all completely free, and the transparent backgrounds come in handy if you’re using either of the next two tools on this list …
If you can’t afford an Adobe membership and/or don’t have the time to learn a complicated new software, these next two tools will be your new best friend.
Picmonkey is a browser-based photo-editing tool that does nearly everything photoshop does, but with a much more user-friendly interface.
You can make basic lighting adjustments and add filters, frames, stickers, text, and more.
And if you’re willing to shell out $48 per year, you can store all of your creations in the built-in cloud storage hub for future editing.
Read more: 4 Easy Ways to Take Your Social Media Presence Up a Notch
Last but certainly not least, if you’re not using Canva yet I highly encourage you to give them a try. This tool is less of a photo editor and more of a graphics creator. But the real value is in the ability to template graphics that you create over and over again, like blog headers, social media quotes, etc. I can’t even tell you how much time this tool has saved me, and I can’t believe I used to create these graphics from scratch each time.
You can get most of Canva’s features for free, but are limited in how many designs you can create with the free version. Fortunately, the upgrade to Canva For Work is only $12.95 per month, or $119 if billed annually.
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This post was originally published on Medium