Design social media graphics with 5 awesome tools

June 7, 2016
 

It was about two years ago that the requests began piling on.

Can you design our wedding program?”
“Any chance you could mock up a postcard with a map of Chicago for out-of-town guests?”
“What about the menu? Can you design our menus?”

Oh, Canva. How you’ve changed my life.

You see, two years ago I wouldn’t have had the foggiest idea how to create a custom map of Chicago and overlay icons to represent the bride and groom’s favorite places. I’m not a designer. I know nothing about InDesign. When I heard someone use the word “kerning” the other day, I had to Google it.

While my design skills and training may be lacking, I do appreciate good design. I know it when I see it. And on social media, it’s always a good idea to get visual. Great graphic design isn’t something you should take for granted, and when you’re running an integrated marketing campaign, there are many projects best left to a professional. However, in recent years, we’ve seen an influx of tools, resources and websites that can help non-designer design fans like me create and discover visual social content (or, in my case, wedding collateral). If you’re looking for a simple way to get visual on social media and give your audience engagement a boost, here are five of my go-to resources:

  1. The ultimate guide to social image sizes (Buffer)

First things first: whether you’re updating your Twitter header photo or posting a Facebook update, you need to know the ideal sizes for the images you want to create. The specs are constantly changing, so this always-up-to-date resource from Buffer is a great one to keep bookmarked.

  1. Canva

Canva bills itself as “amazingly simple design software for everyone.” The description’s right on. While you still need to have an eye for what looks good and what doesn’t, Canva’s templates, graphic elements and drag-and-drop functionality make it incredibly easy to create designer-level social content from scratch.

  1. Over

If you manage your company’s Instagram or Twitter account, this app is a must. It lets you edit photos on your phone and add graphic text or artwork to the shot. The result: an easy way to take photos of your team, neighborhood or lunch to the next level. Pro features are available, but the free version works just fine.

  1. Unsplash

If stock images hurt your soul, get yourself to Unsplash.com. In place of staged businesspeople gesturing emphatically toward generic charts, you’ll find a library of beautiful, original, free (!) photography that can add some pizazz to your posts. Use the shots alone or upload them to Canva to overlay custom text.

  1. GIPHY and Twitter’s GIF search

Perhaps you’ve noticed an increase in GIFs on your Twitter feed lately. That’s thanks to a new feature that lets you browse a library of GIFs from GIPHY and Riffsy while composing a tweet. You can also head directly to GIPHY to find content. The right GIF can enrich your posts (we think this one was pretty good, if we do say so ourselves) and give you a fun new way to connect with audiences.

With that, we’ll let you go, explore and start creating your next social media masterpiece.

 

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