Recommended Graphic Tools
When you’ve spent the time writing a great blog post or page that really targets your users’ needs, you want to make sure it’s getting the attention and engagement it deserves. A great way to do this is with unique, captivating images that adhere to your brand and add extra interest and enjoyment to your users’ experience on your site.
However, as you’re likely aware if you’re a digital marketer, creating great graphics to go with your content is easier said than done. Even if you have an in-house designer (or a Photoshop-savvy coworker), he or she likely has a queue of other, higher-priority projects to deal with. It helps to be able to generate your own graphics for exactly where you need them. That’s where these tools come in.
We’ve divided these tools up by which stage of your graphics-creation they can help with. They each offer something different, and most of them are either free or extremely low-cost. You can generate awesome graphics to accompany your blog posts without spending hours fiddling with Photoshop or scouring the internet – here’s how.
1. Find an Image
Regardless of your vision, you’ll likely need a good base image to start with, whether that’s a stock image of some sort, a pattern, or a blank canvas. Here are some of our favorite resources for finding free, reusable images for your graphics.
- Google Search – You can perform a search in Google Images and, under Search Tools, select “Labeled for reuse” from the Usage Rights dropdown. Google will show you only the images you’re legally allowed to use for free.
- Pixabay – A database of free stock photos for searching. (It also displays photos from Shutterstock in the results, should you see one you like enough to purchase.)
- Flickr – Flickr allows users to upload photos either privately or publicly, meaning that regular users can offer their photos for creative use by other people or businesses.
- Death to the Stock Photo – There is both a paid and a free version of this service, and while the free version limits you to a certain number of images in your inbox, the paid version is quite a bit less expensive than most stock photo services and it allows you to access a huge library of images.
- Pattern Library – This one is more or less what it sounds like. Choose from a wide variety of patterns to use as the base for your image – whether you’re looking for something fun and catchy or more understated, you’ll find it here.
- Colourlovers – If you’d rather set up your graphic on a background of a single color (or perhaps a gradient of some sort), this website can help.
2. Make it Your Own
Once you have a base image (or at least an idea of where you’re going with your graphic), you can use any of these tools to dress it up. They’ll allow you to add text (including quotes), additional images or icons, filters, and other aspects that can help you make your graphic unique and interesting.
- Pablo by Buffer – Pablo is a great way to set up a simple image for social media sharing. Choose from one of their high-quality backgrounds and lay any text you like over it (even include your logo)! It’s limited, but very quick and very simple. It’s perfect for creating catchy images fast.
- Rhonna Designs (for iPhone) – Rhonna is one of my favorite apps to play around with. You can add fun doodles and typography to any image, create masks and filters, and transform your graphics into something playful and eye-catching.
- Canva – Canva is a free tool that’s all about consolidating and simplifying the image creation process. Think of it as Photoshop for Beginners. It’ll take you all the way through the graphic design process with minimal headache.
- PicMonkey – The free version of this tool allows you to upload and edit photos, enhance them, create collages, and more!
- LiveLuvCreate – This tool is full of cute and interesting images that you can lay your own text over and apply your own filters to. It’s great for creating intriguing, colorful images for all different types of brands.
3. Optimize It
When you’ve created an awesome graphic to accompany your content, it’s important to size it appropriately for the channels with which you plan on sharing so that your users can appreciate it fully. This tool can help you crop your image according to your targeted network.
Any blog post, no matter how useful or well-researched can benefit from some well-placed graphics. Hopefully with these tips you’ll be able to take your content to the next level and drive even more user engagement on your site.