Tools that help you to design powerful social graphics easily
A picture says more than a thousand words—and can easily be distributed on social media as snackable and sharable content.
Social media is fast—often too fast for processes in companies and agencies to keep up with. It is therefore commonplace in many companies to create graphics for social media posts with little effort using corresponding templates. Cloud services such as Canva, Crello or Express are good alternatives to costly production with Adobe Photoshop or other graphics programs. These cloud services allow you to easily create social media images with the appropriate aspect ratios and resolutions, and customize them with colors and fonts to match your brand’s corporate identity. Ideally, you simply design a single variant of a motif and can then generate the appropriate graphics for other social media portals with just a few clicks and corrections.
Best of all, unlike with Photoshop and other professional tools, you don’t have to be a designer to do this. With a little practice and within a reasonable amount of time, you can create your own beautiful graphics or have them created for you. In the following we will show you which of the services could be best suited to your team and your requirements.
Canva: an amazingly versatile team player
Probably the best known service for quickly and easily combining images with effects and font elements is Canva. The Australian tool was originally developed as a graphics editor for print projects and advertising materials, but is now popular among web content producers. Unlike Adobe Express, however, Canva is not suitable for video content or moving image advertising. In addition to the free version, which can only be used by individuals and has numerous limitations, there is a subscription (12.95 US dollars per month or 119.40 US dollars per year), which pays off in most cases due to the options it offers for quickly and easily transferring finished graphics into other formats. In addition, the paid version also provides simple animated graphics and team features for project collaboration. Companies with their own CI will also appreciate the ability to integrate their own fonts and colors.
Crello: a Canva clone that includes cheap use of stock photos
Whether creating different versions of social media posts, instagram headers or Facebook ads, Crello can help. The tool resembles Canva in many ways, but is even better suited for everyday social media use due to its detailed features. Crello also provides various templates and the possibility to define your own dimensions. The service operated by the stock photo provider Depositphotos also offers a somewhat limited range of features in the free version. The paid version Pro for $16.67 per month, on the other hand, provides access to thousands of video and animation elements as well as free images, and can integrate your own fonts and CI elements. A total of around 60 million graphic elements and images are available, which can be purchased for 99 cents each. This is significantly more expensive than what Canva offers, but is also based on a different business model. One’s own images can also be integrated in the free version. All in all, it is sometimes a bit too obvious that Crello is all about selling photos.
Adobe Express: the all-in-one tool from Adobe
Express is an extensive graphics package in the cloud that is provided by Adobe and therefore boasts a powerful set of features. As the elements Express Post, Express Page and Express Video suggest, the user can create social media posting elements, presentations and moving image content using simple templates. The applications intended for the purpose described are part of Adobe Express Post. The user interface is more reminiscent of an app, which is because this tool did not originate as a cloud service for desktop browsers, but as a mobile app. This is in fact also a real key feature that allows users to create graphics comparatively comfortably on their mobile devices.
In principle, Express is very intuitively designed and can also combine a variety of graphics and elements. However, users who have expectations based on their experience with other Adobe graphics products will quickly realize the limitations of this service. For users with less design training, the suggestions the tool makes are a great help. In the extensive paid version (11.89 US dollars per month or 118.90 US dollars per year), the designs can be adapted much more than in the free version and you can remove the Adobe Express watermark indicating where the graphic was created. Tip: Anyone who has already subscribed to the Adobe Creative Cloud in any form has access to the premium version of Express Post anyway. An existing Adobe ID suffices.
The bottom line: Design for (more than just) everyday use
True designers will turn up their noses at all three tools, but they are simply not the target group for these services that represent more than just a “quick and dirty” solution for social media graphics. For all non-designers, however, these tools offer a surprisingly easy way to develop professional-looking graphics. Those who also want to create social graphics on their mobile devices should take a look at Adobe Express. Among the other two, we especially liked Canva because of its easy handling and simple conversion features. In all three cases, the price for the paid version is worthwhile if you plan to work with it in a professional capacity.