When a post from a blog or on social media, it’s usually because it has great graphics. And I’m certainly not the only one. Graphics online are very popular.
Graphics and illustrations catch reader’s attention. Well-designed ones can make an informative post really stand out. If you’ve thought that you didn’t have money for the tools to make them or time to learn the skills to produce them, think again.
Just because you don’t have fancy design skills or expensive programs doesn’t mean you can’t create fantastic images.
They don’t have to be time-consuming, and most apps are free for the basic functionality. If you have a smart phone or can use a web application, you can make featured images for your blog posts, add text to photos, and create images for Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that will help you promote your content and communicate with readers.
I have an appreciation for graphic design and good photography, but I’m not especially talented at either. Once I started blogging seriously and working on web-based projects at work, I wanted to improve my skills, but I haven’t had the time to commit to really learning Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, or other design programs.
The following tools help you create sleek, professional graphics for your blog or for sharing on social media.
In the mean time, I’ve improvised. I use a variety of iPhone apps and web-based editing platforms to create images for my personal blog, for the library website, and as featured images with my posts at The Hub. It took a lot of tinkering and experimenting, trial and error, tutorials and practice for me to figure out what I know, and I’m still learning. But because I’ve not come across a similar post rounding up tools and tips, especially for a librarian or book blogger audience, I figured I’d do my own.
Web-Based Tools for Creating Blog and Social Media Images
This one is so easy and user-friendly. It’s definitely my favorite. I’ve used it to make everything from my blog header to my Starry YA Fiction graphic RA guide.
I’ve just started experimenting with this one (it’s still in beta). Not quite as user-friendly as Picmonkey, but lots of free options for banners and other images. Here’s the first image I made using it.
I had to use this website to make my Comic Sans Valentines because it had Comic Sans font! (Sidenote: You should only ever use Comic Sans ironically in memes for posts on Tumblr. It’s a terrible font). They also have great Facebook cover collage and Pinterest photo collage templates.
iPhone Apps for Creating Images for Blogs and Social Media
This is the only paid app I use. There aren’t a lot of filters, but I like the doodles, fonts, and frames. You can also make square, landscape, or collage images within the app.
Filters, stickers, change focus, frames, crop sizes, (limited) fonts, and lots of other free features. There are lots of expansion packs I haven’t secured.
You can overlay their doodles, dingbats, fonts over solid colors or your own photos, and there are a ton of free themes. I’ve used this for my ‘listening lately’ featured image on my blog. There are lots of possibilities here!
More Apps I Use
PicLab is a fun app. You have to pay to remove the watermark and for a lot of the upgrades, but this one has some neat overlays and filters.
Phonto has lots of fonts. Some are available in other apps, some aren’t. It also has backgrounds, crops, etc.
Pixlromatic has lots of filters and overlays and other effects. Play around, but don’t go overboard. Less is more!
Pic Collage makes not-square collages and also have a variety of overlays and backgrounds.
Instacollage is for making square collages. The default setting has lame fake photo corners on it, but you can change it to just plain, adjust the thickness and color of the lines.
Not only can graphics make your posts stand out, they are fun to make! These design tools make it easy (and cheap!) to create your own images for blog posts and social media.
It’s awesome to take your own photographs for blog posts and social media. It’s also cool to share the images made by others when the creator allows and as long as the image is properly attributed. (Get permission, link up and name creator, and don’t violate copyright!)
But sometimes you need some text or a specific layout or collage. That’s when it’s time to use these DIY tools for your social media and blog images.
What are your favorite design tools?