Do you follow brands with boring photos, graphics, and videos? Probably not. Then why would your potential customers follow your business on social media if you don’t post high quality visual content?
Luckily, you can use the following free tools (or super inexpensive) to add your logo to images, crop, add filters, and design posts with pleasing templates. Here are a few of our favorite free tools for creating engaging social media visuals that pop.
Our Top Tools for Creating Better Social Media Graphics, Visuals, and Videos
1. Canva: Stock photos, videos, music, design templates, and photo and video editing
Our #1 go-to for making social media visuals is Canva. While we mix it up with some of the tools you’ll see below, Canva is the easiest to use for the social media novice, and packs a serious punch with hundreds of free design elements, templates, and a handy sizing tool that allows you to create designs the right size for most social platforms.
If you’re into design and have a good understanding of color theory, the elements Canva provides with its free membership include all you need to make eye-catching images. But, if you have no clue what you’re doing and can’t figure out what looks good to your audience, try Canvas pre-made templates to simply drop in a photo, edit text, and get on your merry way to grow your social media following.
You’ll find templates for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Instagram Reels, Pinterest Video Pins, blog headers, and so much more. Bonus: if you end up loving this tool, Canvas’s paid memberships provides access to a large stock video and image library. The only complaint we have about Canva is that it sometimes glitches out when downloading your design—a real time-suck if you’re on deadline.
We weren’t paid to say any of this. Scouts honor. We just really love this tool!
2. Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash: Stock photo library
We have a few favorite free stock photo libraries we use when we need to source high quality social media visuals: Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplash. Using other photo editing tools and social media design tools, we add effects and design elements to make these original for our clients. When layered with fun graphics, an attention-grabbing text overlay, and a filter, your audience would never guess that your designs use stock.
If you’re feeling kind-hearted, these sites allow you to donate to the photographer who shot the photo you’d like to use. Good karma is a win, in our humble opinion!
3. Vista Create: graphic design tool
Vista Create, formerly known as Crello, offers tools similar to Canva. It has plenty of free templates, but it isn’t as easy as Canva to customize the template to your liking. This tool is also not as intuitive to use, so it may take you a bit longer to figure out how to manipulate images and text.
That being said, Vista Create is still awesome! We find that it has more crisp, minimalist designs that some of our clients prefer. It also has much cooler “background” options that are great backdrops for text, like quotes—but they’re only available to paying members. All-in-all this tool has some great basic options but is much more appealing to the paid tier.
4. Adobe Spark
Like Vista Create, Adobe Express has its limitations, most of which you encounter as a free user. Its templates are impeccably designed, as you would expect from Adobe. The catch? You have to upgrade to remove their logo from your designs. If you’re not concerned about removing watermarked logo, there are plenty of options for designing sleek, professional-looking social media visuals with this tool.
It’s only $9.99 to upgrade and add your logo, colors, and plenty of other bells and whistles. If your needs are simple and you just want to add a logo and brand your images, Adobe Spark may be perfect for you.
5. Gimp Photo Editor
Gimp is a powerful image manipulation tool that is useful for resizing, retouching, enhancing, and transforming images. It can be used to design icons and create artistic visuals, but it’s not for the faint of heart. The GIMP interface, while easy to learn through online tutorials, can be overwhelming for the beginner.
GIMP is open-source software that can be used from your desktop after you download it. As far as we know it does not feature an accompanying mobile application, which is not ideal for digital nomads who want to post on-the-go. It has many of the features you would find in pricey options like Adobe Photoshop and a similar learning curve. If that doesn’t scare you, this is a truly amazing free tool that can take your images from amateur to enthralling.
No matter how amazing your images are, adding design elements and branding can take your social media to a whole new level. For engaging social media visuals that keep your audience coming back for more, try these free tools! However, if you’re too busy to make your own visuals for social media (or just hate doing it), we’re here for you! Reach out to us for help.