11 of the Best Graphic Design Tools We Use to Make Visuals

By Carlyn Bullock |

  | Feb 4, 2016  /  Solutions |

We live in an increasingly visual age. To help you understand the shift to visual, it was reported recently that 10% of ALL photos taken were taken last year. This is a staggering statistic because as we are all well aware, this number is going to go up! According to LifeLearn, people who hear or read information, remember approximately 10% of the information three days later.

When a relevant image is combined with the same information, people recall 65% of the information three days later. Though visual content plays a vital part in our content marketing strategies, at MyArea Network we do not spend a lot of time on creatives. Why? Effective tools.

Today we are sharing with you 11 of the BEST graphic design tools we use to make visuals for content.

#1) Canva 

A favorite since they launched, Canva has grown with demand, adding features, making this platform an indispensable tool! An easy to use graphic design platform with ALL the bells and whistles, including registration guidelines for perfect alignment within your design. You do not need a degree in graphic design to use Canva's platform. You can upload your own images or grab the perfect images and overlays from their extensive library of photos, vectors, shapes, textures and more. The cost is $1 each and your possibilities are endless.

#2) Meme Generator by imgflip

Meme’s are funny, period.  Quickly created with imgflip's Meme Generator you can create something fun in less than a minute. Grab the photo you want to use, type in the text, then they do the rest! This handy tool is the "Fastest meme generator on the planet."  Here is graphic created in less than a minute for Tampa's recent Gasparilla invasion. Our logo was added in Canva.

#3) Adobe Post 

Super quick and easy to use, our team creates interesting graphics using Adobe Post's HUGE library of stock photos with preset graphic templates you easily manipulate into original designs using creative pre-loaded text options, palettes and filters.  The learning curve on this one is a matter of minutes and it is FREE. Available only on mobile. 

#4) Giphy

Giphy is completely free and easy to navigate. GIF’s are short loop (15 second) videos designed to grab someone’s attention. Giphy curates popular gif’s on the main page, or you can search by word or category to find a GIF perfectly suited to your content, tweet or post. A GIF is worth a thousand words. Quickly share humor, emotions, and opinions with a GIF. Not all platforms support the transfer of a gif, we recommend saving them, just like a photo, to your photo library and inserting them into your copy just as you would a photo. There is a Chrome Browser extension for your desktop and an App for your phone. GIF’s should be an integral part of your social sharing.

#5) Pablo 

Also a free image creator Pablo comes from the great minds at Buffer and is the fastest way to use and make visuals to add quote content to your feeds quickly and seamlessly. You can use Pablo’s pre-loaded images and quotes or upload your own, you can even add your logo!  Your creations can be shared directly to Twitter or Facebook or be buffered for later. Pablo is FREE, uncomplicated, easy to navigate and quick to learn. Your choices are limited in terms of overlay, font etc…but that’s the beauty of Pablo. When you need to fill your Buffer with quality quote images quickly turn to Pablo! 

#6) Image Resizer for Windows

This Windows Resizer is a free download installed into your right-click menu to resize your graphics for cross-platform sharing.  The right click resizer dialog box appears on your graphic allowing you to resize your images to pre-set sizes or one you choose.


#7) Studio Design by Overlay Studio, Inc  

According to Mashable, "What Instagram did for photography, Studio will do for design." Warning, this app is addicting!  A free mobile app where you can create an original design or begin by remixing designs created by the Studio community. There is a little bit of a learning curve with Studio Design, play with it and learn all it can do for you and your team.

#8) Clipping Magic

You found the perfect stock photo for your design, but you need to remove the background, making it transparent before sharing. Without Clipping Magic it takes time to remove a white or colored background. Have you continued searching for what you need because it’s too much trouble to make the image you found useful? Clipping Magic makes transforming backgrounds easy. Drop your image on the page, use the green marker to indicate what you want to save and the red to indicate what should ‘be-gone’! With the press of a button this useful tool snaps a border around your image. Your edges will be sharp, not pixelated. There is a small monthly fee to use Clipping Magic, it is worth much more than what they charge, especially if you want to create attention getting layered graphics or infographics!

#9) PicMonkey 

PicMonkey is a free photo editor that works in your browser, there is nothing to download or install with PicMonkey. In the free platform you can fine tune photos, add beautiful filters, text and elements. You can touch up facial features adding color, removing blemishes, and wrinkles, whiten teeth  and create outstanding graphics. PicMonkey offers users a lot with their free platform or choose to pay $4.99 monthly or $2.75 per month billed annually to go 'Royale'. With their Royale package you have access to additional holiday graphic packages and additional editing features. Take your photography and graphics to the next level with PicMonkey.


#10) Word Swag

An iOS app Word Swag has an associated cost of $4. We love the ability to create professional quote graphics for #Motivational Monday on the fly from our phones! Grab a photo from your library, or pick one of theirs, edit the text from quotes they provide, tweak it and you are uploading in seconds from Word Swag!

#11)Image Chef

Like Word Swag, Image Chef adds pre-set layers. You can add frames, tattoos, draw in cappuccino foam (yes, this is how they DO that!) or use one of their text templates, like words in flowers. Want to put your co-worker on the cover of a well-known magazine, or create tomorrow’s headline? Wait till you see the fun you can have in Image Chef! There is a free option using watermarked templates, or you can remove the watermark by opting in for their paid service. They have mobile and desk top options. Our only issue with ImageChef is it's occasional unresponsiveness. Their templates however are worth the wait! 

Put Your Images to Work

People love images, everywhere you look you see people snapping selfies, landscapes, and their food and drinks. With over 220 million users on Instagram and Pinterest alone it is critical as a blogger, marketer or brand ambassador to harness the power of messaging through graphic images. Views increase as much as 45% when content is accompanied by a photo, graphic or video. You can not afford to not be using these 11 best graphic design tools, each designed to make sharing quick and easy!

These platforms and apps will increase your views, increase engagement and brand awareness. We encourage you to give the 11 BEST tools a try.

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