The best free graphic design software to create social media posts in 2023

As both a photographer and writer, I’m very aware of what gets me likes. Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or TikTok, visual posts, like photos, videos, and graphics, get more engagement.

The good news is you don’t have to hire a designer or spend hundreds of dollars on software to get great visuals—there are some awesome free graphic design apps out there you can use to create incredible social media graphics. I’ve been writing about and using these kinds of tools for almost a decade, so I’m very familiar with what’s good. And what isn’t. 카지노사이트

What makes a great social media graphic design app?

Social media posts have a very short lifecycle, so you shouldn’t spend hours creating them. It’s more important that you get your content out into the world where people can actually see it than you pore over every pixel to get things perfect. This is why a good graphic design app is so crucial: instead of starting from scratch each time, you have a range of great templates and design resources (like stock images, icons, shapes, and text styles) ready to go. Then, all you have to do is mix and match things with your own brand elements to have something unique and powerful. Being able to repurpose the posts you’ve already made is a huge time-saver.

And you don’t need to pay huge prices to get incredible results. What makes graphic design apps free isn’t necessarily a lack of quality, but a lack of some powerful design features. And not the ones you generally need to make social media graphics. I’ve considered close to 40 free graphic design apps and found five great, free resources. Granted, some of these are more limited free plans of premium products, but they’re all up to the job of creating awesome images for your social media marketing channels. I’ll also flag what you get if you’re prepared to pay a few dollars a month—some of these options have great value paid plans.

I’ve relied on Adobe Photoshop for over a decade, and it sets a high bar for paid products. I didn’t expect these free social media post makers to eclipse it, but they had to offer a great service. Even if something is free, I won’t recommend it if it’s awful.

To test each app, I spent a significant amount of time browsing hundreds of themes to get a feel for the quality of each one. I also created at least two test posts using the templates (with most of the favorites, even more). I generally focused on the overall ease of use and professional offerings of each app, but I also had some key criteria that each app needed to meet to be included on this list:

Is this app easy enough for anyone to use? Tools like Photoshop and Illustrator (which I love) are incredible in the right hands, and unusable in the wrong ones. Social media management is rarely done by people with a design background, so any app has to cater to regular people. If you have the chops to use Photoshop and pay for it, you’ll probably get the best results, but it isn’t the right option for the majority of people looking for a free tool. This isn’t to say there won’t be some learning curve, just that it doesn’t require a textbook to climb. 안전한카지노사이트

Is this app suited well for social media marketing? Again, Photoshop and Illustrator can do incredible things, but they’re complete overkill for most people trying to create images for their social media marketing channels. I wanted apps that streamlined the process of creating strong graphics, not offering every tool under the sun.

Is the app experience good? A free graphic design app has the potential to be, frankly, awful to use (looking at you, GIMP). But even if you’re not (yet) paying for a service, you shouldn’t be hamstrung by a slow, janky, and just unpleasant experience. Especially when there are great apps out there you could be using.

Are the design assets varied and professional? It’s easy to find social media templates online, but many of them are awful. You can’t slap some cheesy clipart on a graphic that represents your brand, or keep recycling the same social media post design over and over. I only included apps that had assets that would allow you to represent yourself or your company in a professional light. (To be honest, this criterion cut the most apps.)

Can you use the app in multiple ways? If you create one post for Twitter, it should be easy to repurpose it for Instagram, or even for a flyer. Similarly, you should be able to quickly edit and update last year’s Christmas sale post with this year’s info. Apps that made this list had to be multi-purpose, rather than force you into one way of working.

Best free social media design app for template-based design

Canva is a powerful, but still simple-to-use, template-based free design app. There are over a million templates, graphics, and photos you can use as part of the free plan (that goes up to multiple millions of assets with a Canva Pro subscription).

When you open Canva, you’re presented with dozens of possible templates for everything from posters to Instagram Posts. It’s a lot to navigate, but there’s great search built in. Click the search bar at the top of the screen, and look for something like “birthday instagram stories” to see more specific options. (I got almost 4,000 suggested free templates just for that, although a fair few of them had Pro elements that you have to pay $1 for.)

Once you’ve found a template to work from, the drag-and-drop editor makes it simple to add your own resources. Click Uploads then Upload Files in the left sidebar, add any images or brand elements, and you can drop them straight into the editor. One tip: right-click on any element and click Send Back or Send Forward if you want to move it behind things like the text (which you can double-click on to edit) or the image frame.

Like Google Docs, Canva enables you to share and collaborate with others, so if you want a second set of eyes on your design, click the Share button in the toolbar and then add an email address.

When you’re done, click Download to save your post for, well, posting. If you’ve accidentally included any premium assets, you’ll have the option to pay to remove their watermarks (normally at about $1 per asset). It’s handy if you only occasionally use Canva, but if this happens a lot, you should subscribe to Canva Pro for $12.99/month (or at least check out the 30-day free trial). Pro has heaps of extra designs, and some nice features, like automatic resizing, a social media scheduler, and the ability to upload your “brand kit,” so you can easily add your logo, brand colors, and font to your designs.

If Canva does the trick for you, you can probably stop here—it’s an all-around winner. But if you’re looking for Canva alternatives, keep reading. 카지노사이트 추천

Canva price: Free for 1,000,000+ templates and other assets, and 5 GB cloud storage; from $12.99/month for Canva Pro, which offers 1TB of storage, multiple millions of assets, and more.

Best free social media design app for scaling a side hustle

Adobe is the biggest name in graphic design, so it’s no surprise they have an app designed for making social media and web graphics. Adobe Express (which was on this list previously as Adobe Spark; it was rebranded and updated last year) isn’t as well known as Photoshop or Illustrator, but it’s better for most people who are looking to create graphics to share on social media. And it’s free to get started.

Template-wise, Express still falls behind Canva. It has less to choose from, and the search isn’t as good. Don’t get me wrong: there are still thousands of awesome free templates, but you’re less likely to find that perfect template and more likely to have to spend a few minutes tweaking one that’s close, but not quite there.

For all that, Express is a better editor in many respects. It has Quick Actions on the home screen that can do things like resize images, convert videos to GIFs, and remove backgrounds. They’re powered by Adobe’s Photoshop and Premiere apps operating in the cloud, apparently. It’s a really intuitive way to have access to what can be quite advanced tools in other apps.

In the editor, Express has some pretty powerful features, but it keeps them out of the way. Almost anyone should be able to create a great-looking social media graphic with it, but if you want to drill in deeper and customize things more, there are advanced layer options, blend modes, color toning, and other features pulled from Adobe’s better-known apps. You can generally access them by selecting any design element and checking out the right sidebar. It really hits that nice middle-ground: quick and easy to use for 90% of jobs, but with the more powerful features available for when you want them.

Express is an excellent standalone app for designing social media graphics, but it’s hard to overlook its integration with the rest of Adobe’s Creative Suite. If you plan to scale your business to the point where you need to use (and pay for) Adobe’s more powerful tools, Express is the way to go. You can create libraries (in the Libraries tab of the sidebar) that are available across all your Adobe apps and pull in photos from Lightroom or brand elements from Illustrator. Adobe Stock images and graphics are also available throughout the app.

Adobe Express price: Free for basic features and 2GB of cloud storage; from $9.99/mo for premium features, such as logo upload and placement, branded templates and tools, additional Adobe apps, and 100GB of cloud storage.

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