Monday, August 10, 2015

5 Affordable Resources for Graphic Creation

In addition to creating fresh content, a marketer also struggles with finding the right graphics to compliment their copy. Graphs, charts, infographics etc. are all a major component in digital marketing. Interactive media that allures consumers to your brand and services or increases sales is quite valuable. An image that falls flat or lacks quality can be seen a mile away -- sometimes more so than a quality one. To me, it's like putting together the world's greatest salad, only to top it with a horrible dressing.

Unfortunately, all of us are not graphic designers or have an unlimited budget for freelancers and software to do the work for us. I've taken quite a shine to these low cost (some are even FREE!) services online below that help create images or posts for social media and ads at a fraction of the cost and time it would take me to do so otherwise.

1) Canva - I love Canva for social media posts. With a wide array of post templates designed for various platforms and free graphics to choose from, you can create a plethora of posts in a matter of minutes. Premium images are only $1 each, and your photos can be edited right within the program. You can also upload your own photos or graphics to modify.

2) Piktochart - If I'm stuck formatting a report, or in need of an infographic that doesn't bore a visitor to tears, piktochart is my pick. In a basic, standard account there are a series of free pre-programmed themes you can choose from. If you subscribe to a professional account ($29 a month, or $290 a year), you have access to hundreds more, no watermarks and enhanced quality (high res exports). For some projects, $29 a month is surely worth it. Also, if you're a non-profit, they'll show you some love and give you special pricing.

3) Free Vector Download - Are you more comfortable with creating templates on your own and just need access to some icons, vectors or photos to manipulate? Then this site can be of help. I've found quite a few basic vectors or images to use in general infographics or put in place where an icon was needed for a report or graph.

4) Wordle - Ever wonder how people create those "word clouds" or  on sites? Perhaps you're looking for a fun way display search words, topics, or names. Choose your font, color and words and save your image. It can be useful for highlighting text frequency or importance in your content.

5)  FreePik - This site offers free graphic elements and templates to download such as vectors, .psd files, stock photos and more all under the Creative Commons license. They work with designers and create quality content all within protected copyright agreements. One thing to remember with stock photos or images used is attribution. For those with particular copyright rules, be sure to place the attribution next to the image that has been used...or face a hefty fine for not having license to do so!

Free resources for graphics

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