Five Free Resources (and one very affordable program)
As a seeming defense of years of piracy, which is an age-old tradition for tech geeks, outlaws, the poor but talented, and just greedy, Adobe implemented their newest policy of not being able to outright purchase the newest version of Photoshop, and instead offer a new option in form of a subscription to use the newest versions, on a service called Creative Cloud. So some folks may be in need of some other design programs.
Bad news for thieves who are looking to capitalize on the newest technology the industry demands for the best quality graphics, great news for poor designers making a living from their home office.
However, if you are not a graphic designer, but seek the ability to create images, graphics, infographs, online shop ads, and any other digital creation that help promote, brand or market your business, you may be in need of an affordable solution. More accurately and desirably, a free solution.
So I found some.
Let’s start of with the most used among popular bloggers.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Adobe, which means I receive monetary compensation if you make any purchases from the links I provide regarding Adobe products.
Canva Browser-based, no download
Canva seems to be the go-to for a lot of bloggers recently. It has very simple functionality, allows use of transparent files (PNG) which opens the creative doors a bit wider than some free alternatives. Canva offers drag-n-drop, upload of own images, free fonts, designs, patterns, etc. but also a pay-as-you-go option for graphics, fonts and images, typically $1 per image, which is quite affordable. Canva saves files in JPG, PNG, and PDF.
Canva now has an option to optimize your image for printing.
Image uploads are limited to 25MB. Canva also offers some beginner tutorials and design tips for optimal aesthetic for design, which is a cool little bonus especially if you are just starting out and are unsure of certain things when it comes to creating images.
Canva has an upgrade called Canva for Work. The price is $120.0/year or you can pay monthly at a reasonable $12.95 per month. Canva for Work offers the ability to have teams of people work on a project together, save, share and work together, using the same templates, colors, files, etc. Create a personalized template, save and share with team members. Also a fun and time-saving feature is the ability to save one image in the size of any social media banner, right away with the quickness. Great for branding!
Snappa.io is a newer, free option with upgrades also available. Similar to Canva with pre-sized templates for all social media images, some customization, and ability to upload your own content and offering an array of free shapes and other personalizing options. A downfall would be, the only way to save a project is to pay the monthly fee, $10.0, which also enhances all of its other features. Very simple to use, would be ideal for very non-tech-savvy individuals.
SumoPaint Browser-based with option for upgrade to downloadable version(PC, Mac, iPad app)
Another browser-based graphics option, Sumo also has an upgrade available for more features, I believe it is a little over $20. Sumo allows layer-based images which is almost becoming indispensable. The ability to layer images provides another world of design possibilities with the ability to use transparent images in .PNG format. A smudge, text, and blur option are the top features appearing to be most helpful to bloggers and other creatives, features not always supplied by free editors.
The format and features of SumoPaint have been likened to Photoshop itself, which may be explained by the fact that it is created by the folks at Adobe.
SumoPaint also has broader options for use, one being the free in browser option, no sign-in required, create, save, and move on, the download which requires a sign-in and payment, but offers use of the program to both PC and Mac users, and an app for tablets and phones, which is pretty cool.
Save files in .JPEG, .GIF, .PNG and an optional .SUMO format
Ribbet Browser-Based; Upgrade Version Available
Once again, an editing program which boasts no download, but offers an upgrade in tools. The basic Ribbet appears to offer crop, rotate, text, layering of images, uploads of .png, a few photo effects and a couple other basic functions. The paid version is a 29.99 per year which offers quite a few more options, similar to other pro editing or higher-end editing programs, such as dodge/burn, clone, HDR, collage maker, and a ton of photo effects. You can directly link it to your Picasa, Flickr, or Facebook and edit those photos. So again, free is cool, quick and easy, but throw down a little cash and voila, the photo editing world is your oyster.
So while a couple of these programs are great for editing images to the max, Canva may still be the go-to for creating blog images, and seems to be the bloggers’ standard.
And finally, I can not go through this promo of free software without advising looking into GIMP.
Free Photoshop-esque software that allows a ton more flexibility and design options for free, including tutorials and a super supportive community of developers and GIMP familiars. I support GIMP, and I wrote a little blurb and what I think of it but why I do not use it. You can read that blog post here: Why I Choose to Support Gimp but Not Use It
There’s these resources also, from my free DIY Brand Creation Guide available by subscribing!
Of course, as a designer, I must still say that if you are trying to establish your branding and seamless look across all social media, it is always best to be able to create that for yourself, using professional Adobe products, if you can not afford to hire a professional graphic designer.
Photoshop is 19.99 a month
You can get it for 19.99 a month as well through Adobe’s subscription plan.
and Adobe has now jumped on the tutorial train and offers some pretty great options for learning the software. It is a great tool for creating branding designs and images, has more flexibility with formats, sizes, resolutions, compression and enlargement, and is so much fun to create photomanipulations with.
The other option for keeping continuity and originality with your branding would be Adobe Illustrator.
It is the perfect program to create logos, watermarks, decorative features, and patterns & backgrounds for your website to achieve the solid, established, and professional look that the best bloggers have.
Adobe offers tutorials, forums and support with that subscription also.
Adobe has a killer deal for students, up to 60% off of the already affordable $50.0/month for ALL ADOBE PRODUCTS!
Check it out here:
Learn to Use Adobe
YouTube is the perfect resource for learning both of these programs, and I recommend searching for a few quality videos to learn more about them and how to use them correctly.
Lynda.com has a free, 10-Day trial and is 24.99 a month afterward and has much better, in-depth, high-quality courses on specific subjects, and I recommend using this resource if you intend to learn any Adobe programs.
Ok, I am gunna go ahead and link to this dudes post about other free options, because it is such a great resource and I could not not show this post guilt-free, Salman found some seriously great options.
Good luck, go get some work done!
Looking for Great Quality Stock Photography?
Head to the post 20 Free Stock Photography Sites & download the free digital, clickable resource sheet: