At a glance
No photoshop expertise or subscription required
Regardless of your budget, skill level or platform, there are options available to suit you.
Using iOS? Get on Typorama
A brilliant app which I have used to create every font graphic or overlain image you see on this website or on my social media channels.
Using Android? Wordswag is a great option (as long as you can ignore the name).
I use Typorama on my iPad but I have a Samsung phone, so when I want to create images on the go, it’s Wordswag for the win.
Want to use your laptop or desktop instead? Canva!
Canva is fantastic as a free (though there are purchases you can make for additional graphics), web-based alternative to mobile solutions. It has the additional benefit of allowing graphics to be stored in a shared folder for access by multiple users.
Just before we get started, I wanted to point out that all of the images used on this website have been created using a combination of the below four tools. The only cost ever involved was buying the apps on the app store initially – after that, not a penny more, so that’s pretty cool.
It’s also worth pointing out that currently all the media I produce is created with IOS on my iPad, but worry not fearless reader, that’s not because there’s any shortage of software which can be used on Android or desktop packages, it’s simply me working with what I have to hand. I’ll cover off software on those different platforms shortly.
Now that’s been covered…*ahem*….The point of this article is to demonstrate that you absolutely DO NOT need to be an expert in graphic design or have intimate knowledge of expensive professional software like Adobe Photoshop in order to create professional looking media for yourself.
You can achieve really high quality results with easy-to-use apps just on your phone or tablet. We’ll start off with my personal favourite…
Cost: £0 (option to unlock all fonts with a £5.99 one-off payment which is what I did)
Available platforms: IOS only
I can’t even begin to describe how incredibly useful I found this app when starting out – and yet I can’t even remember how I found it. I think it was just after browsing the app store and looking at reviews, but regardless I’m really glad I did.
There are a fair few apps out there on the app/play stores which have a similar function of even layout which I haven’t tried but I can definitely vouch for this one. If you have absolutely zero design skills or if you do but you want to save a whole bunch of time creating images then this is the app for you.
Here’s how it works; the app automatically links to Pixabay (an image library resource – don’t worry, we’ll get back to this) where you choose from any of the thousands of available HD images as your backdrop. Once selected, you can then overlay the image with 40+ different typography styles of text. Neato. This makes it extremely easy to create beautiful, compelling imagery for your brand.
Annoyingly different social media platforms require different sized images to make them sit flush on a screen. The penalty for not adhering to these digital picture frames is that your image will have negative space on either side of it if it’s too small or the image will be cut off and only show partially if it’s too big.
So for example, if you wanted to post something on Instagram, you need to use a different sized image than if you were to post on Twitter.
Typography went ahead and removed any possibility of that being an issue for your content since it has a tool which shows you what size your image needs to be for every different social media platform and allows you to adjust your image size right there in the app. It also makes it easy to create website banners, cover photos or anything else – it’s not just a tool for social media.
From there you can either export your content right into your chosen social media platform or you can save the image to your phone/tablet to post later.
I would go into detail on how to use the app but honestly it’s one of those things that’s best played around with rather than explained.
Cost: £3.49 initially (optional £1.99 to ‘unlock’ all features)
Available platforms: IOS & Android
If you can forgive the name (I completely understand if not, the word ‘swag’ makes me die a little inside) – Wordswag is another great option for creating and editing media files with a huge bonus – it works on Android and IOS. Again, there are plenty of options out there to choose from to achieve similar results, this is just the one I personally use on my Samsung phone and really enjoyed working with.
The app itself works much in the same way as Typorama and honestly, if you’re using an Apple product and you’re stuck between the two, it’s entirely a matter of preference. Wordswag also uses Pixabay as a stock image resource and again provides roughly 40 different typographic text designs to choose from. It contains a different library of typographic font styles to choose from than Typography but the collection is still awesome. There’s plenty to choose from, it’s entirely up to you to decide which designs will work best to suit your brand/digital identity.
Some awesome additional features which Wordswag offers over Typorama is the ability to modify your text design with textures and patterns. This is a great way to tailor your images even further and creates additional opportunities to customise your media to better suit your brand.
Cost: Totally free
Available platforms: It’s web-based so you can use your phone, tablet or desktop
Next up we have Canva, this is an excellent web-based resource which was shown to me recently in a social media marketing seminar – it’s key benefits are that it’s completely free to use and doesn’t require any smartphones. All you need to start creating high-quality, professional looking content is a desktop or laptop and an internet connection before you’re good to go.
If you visit canva.com, you’ll be given the option to create an account for free either by a Google account, Facebook account or via email (and don’t worry – you don’t have to faff around with any verification codes being sent to your inbox to activate your account, you just enter an email once and you’re in).
After this point, you are taken through to a handy 2 minute tutorial to get you used to the basics and then you’re good to go! Like the previously mentioned apps, it works in the same steps in that you select a background, select other images and your chosen text art to create your ‘post’- er.
The main difference with this tool is that the background image and forefront images exist as two separate layers. This means that you can have a lovely background as a base for your graphic and then you can layer other images on top of it – this makes for some awesome pieces of work that can be made.
Another great feature of this software is that everything is done by dragging and dropping images on to a canvas, no complex tools or confusing interface, just a simple computer motion that everyone knows how to do.
When you’ve finished creating your masterpiece you can simply save the image to your computer and post it whenever you want! An additional benefit is that you can save any graphics you have created to a shared folder on the website – this is fantastic if there is more than one person involved in maintaining the social media accounts of a brand since it allows you to view all graphics created by all designers and be able to choose the most appropriate to post on any given occasion.
This is an absolutely awesome option and to be honest, even if you had already purchased the other apps, I would still recommend using this website as well as it allows you to manipulate images in a much more fluid manner to create some really unique graphics.
The only thing to be aware of is that some images are free to use and some aren’t (though these generally cost about $1 – unfortunately prices aren’t displayed in her majesty’s finest), but don’t worry if you’re not looking to spend – there’s plenty of free images available to use and paying definitely doesn’t always result in a better quality final graphic. Start playing with it! I think you’ll be really impressed by what you can do with it.
Price: Totally free
Available platforms: Desktop, Android and IOS
I’ve mentioned Pixabay a fair few times already and that’s because it is an absolutely vital tool for building compelling graphics – the top apps rely on it and for good reason. Pixabay is an open-source library of licence-free images that can be accessed by anyone.
This means users can sign up (for free) and create an account (either online or by downloading the app to your android or IOS device) to download any image (again, I can’t stress this enough -for free) from its library.
The fact that the images are licence free means that the images can be used by anyone for personal, print or commercial purposes without the user having to seek the consent of the original image owner or credit the original image owner in your created graphic (which is something you’d have to worry about if you just copy and paste images from Google onto your website or SMP).
There are some rules which apply which, for example, don’t allow people to download images of people to depict them in a purposely negative light but as long as you’re respectful of the images – you’re free to use them as you want.
Some fantastic bonuses to images found on Pixabay (in addition to the fact that they are completely free) is that their library is absolutely HUGE – I mean thousands and thousands of images which range from anything like plants, to baked goods to panoramic vistas of gorgeous landscapes. There’s genuinely nothing you can’t find.
A second benefit is that many of the images are extremely high quality – this is very important when posting to platforms such as Instagram where image quality plays a huge role in determining how much reach your post will get and how users will likely react to your post.
So having thousands of high quality images available to use for free at any time is a huge win – plus Pixabay can be accessed either through mobile app or directly on their website at pixabay.com. This makes them totally accessible. Check it out, you won’t regret it.
So there you go, there are four fantastic resources for you to use to get you started on your journey to creating beautiful, compelling and engaging content for your brand.
While it’s always possible to go deeper in terms of designing graphics and with software like photoshop if you develop a taste for creating graphics (something incredibly easy to do once you get into the swing of things), the sky really is the limit for what you can make with these tools at your disposal and with a little practice, you’ll be whizzing graphics out in no time.
Started using any of the above already, or better yet know of other similar tools? Please let me know! I’d love to learn more.