How many times have you heard that social media posts and tweets that include visual elements are more engaging and get shared more often?
What do you think when you see some cool pictures being shared by your friends and people you follow on social media? Sure, some of them have been helped out by professional designers. Others are probably some kind of Photoshop wizards.
But what if you could craft incredible visual content on your own? What if I told you that you could do that in just a manner of minutes, for FREE?
Interesting, right? Well, that’s the topic of this post. In this article I am going to tell you about some tools you can start using today to create visually-engaging content that people will want to share.
A quick note before you continue. I don’t have anything against Photoshop — quite the opposite actually! I still use it often. However, I am aware of the fact that not everyone likes Photoshop and that it may take time to learn how to properly use it for picture editing. This is why I want to write about Photoshops alternatives, tools that are easier to use and that are free. Just wanted to make things clear!
Different kinds of visual content
Before we dive into the tools, I think it’s important to quickly talk about the different kinds of visual content you can create and share online. There are many great ideas, so this really depends on your style and what you want to achieve and communicate.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words [tweet this quote]
Images are a very powerful tool and can help you drive traffic to your site (if you are interested in visuals and how to leverage them to get traffic to your website, I recommend you check Donna Moritz’s blog Socially Sorted).
These are some of the most popular types of visuals that musicians should think about sharing online:
* Behind-the-Scenes: photos that give your fans a special behind-the-scenes look at your career
* Stage Pictures: images of you “in action,” on stage during a live performance
* Pictures taken by fans
* Professional photos: high-quality pictures taken by a professional photographer
* Digital flyers and posters
And now…the tools!
Canva is a tool that enables you to create amazingly simple graphic design. Want to refresh the look of your Facebook cover? Or perhaps you want to create a brand new Twitter header? Or wait, you are about to create a Facebook ad and want to have an image that stands out.
No matter what your desire is, you can be sure that Canva will deliver big time!
Once you have signed up for Canva (for free), you choose the layout (e.g. Twitter header, Facebook cover) and Canva will automatically generate a layout optimized for the specific platform.
At this point, you can either create something from scratch, use one Canva’s templates (some are free while others are premium), or you can do a combination of both. In this case, you will be able to edit the template, upload your picture and combines the two to create a killing design.
Here are some of the other things you can do with Canva:
* create artwork for a podcast and cover for a Kindle eBook
* create a flyer and business card (that can also be printed)
* craft a design for Pinterest and Google+ cover
* put together a photo collage
Canva recently announced the launch of its free iPad app, which means that now you can comfortably create incredible designs on the go!
Ah, and did I tell you that Canva also has a directory of over 1 million stock images?
The Webbys dubbed Canva The easiest to use design program in the world and I think they are right.
Canva is the easiest to use design program in the world – the Webby [tweet this quote]
Canva also has a blog that features useful tips on topics like font pairing, color selection and much more. Definitely worth checking if you want to learn more about visuals!
Along with Canva, PicMonkey is one of my favorite tools for crafting amazing visual content.
PicMonkey is a free alternative to Photoshop, which doesn’t even require any type of sign up process. This online service gives you the opportunity to quickly edit or touch up your images, as well as create designs and collages.
Using PicMonkey is ridiculously simple.
You go to PicMonkey.com and upload your picture from either your computer, Facebook, Dropbox or OneDrive. And then you can do many of the things you can do on Photoshop.
Resizing your photo, change the canvas color, apply a frame, add overlays, text… you name it! The only things you need are a computer, a picture, an Internet connection and a touch of creativity!
Over & WordSwag
Over is a mobile app that lets you add text & artworks to your images. Available for both iPhone and Android devices, it gives you the opportunity to turn your pictures into amazing designs people will love.
WordSwag is my #1 choice for creating awesome designs on the go. What WordSwag does is enable users to apply cool typography to your photos. You can also create design quotes by using some of the default templates available. WordSwag only works for iPhone devices though.
I included Instagram in this article, not really for its powerful features, but mostly because it is the tool I use to actually publish my images online. By now, you probably know that this social media allows you to add filters and effects to your photos and lets you share them on major social media like Facebook and Twitter.
While I still use Instagram for sharing images, I now use it more as the actual publishing tool rather than as photo editing tool. What I do is I use Instagram to share (on Facebook and Twitter) the amazing visual content I’ve created with some of the apps I mentioned earlier.
Instagram is growing and if you are not using it, you are missing out on great opportunities to connect with people and grow your fanbase.
Now you know about some amazing tools you can use to create designs people love, and how to share them online to grow your fanbase in a creative way. Whether you are sitting at your desk at home or are on the go, you can quickly create amazing visual content. Have fun!
There’s no limit to your creativity! [share the inspiration]
What tools do you use to design quality images? Let us know in the comments section below.