Let’s face it. There’s nothing better than seeing content you’ve written that’s been professionally designed. The impact of professional design never ceases to amaze me. Some days I sit back and imagine what it would have been like as a teacher if every lesson I created could have been turned into a masterpiece by one of the designers I’ve come to rely upon for much of the design work for directselling.me and our family of sites.
Last year I published a little book called, “Social Media Savvy: 10 Fundamentals Every Direct Seller Needs to Know.” I think it’s quite a useful book full of great info — but when it was just a lowly Word Doc, it didn’t have the same pizzaz as it does now, as a professionally designed book. Even something as simple as the workbooks that come with each of our courses look and feel much more amazing because a pro handled the design.
BUT … there are times, especially as a direct seller, when the budget or resources don’t allow for hiring a professional. However, you still want your graphics, images and documents to look polished, right? That’s why I’m sharing our 3 top tools for simple graphic design.
Luckily, there are lots of resources online that are making creating simple (and sometimes not-so-simple) designs without the aid of a seasoned professional. We use these resources quite often. (We typically start with a design created by a pro and then copy key elements of our branding to try to match the “novice” design as close as possible to the professional one.)
I’ve personally tested dozens, and FOUR of them stand out well beyond the rest. The key here is SIMPLE. But, simple is a relative term. When I say that something technological is simple, I am typically comparing it to one of its more complex counterparts. So, when I think of design, I think of Adobe’s suite of applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator and such. My four favorites below are WAY more simple to use than either of those.
Oh how I love Canva … let me count the ways! Canva was a gamechanger for me personally. It’s a company headquartered in Sydney, Australia that launched back in 2013. They hired Guy Kawasaki as their Chief Evangelist in 2014, and in 2016 they have more than 10 million users.
Canva is a drag and drop design tool for making graphics and documents look totally awesome! They have a complete tutorial section for those who want to learn how to do it all, and their online design school provides lessons that walk you through everything from choosing colors to fonts to filters. They even have lesson plans for those who want to teach Canva to others. And … they’re building out some pretty sweet courses that walk you through the finer points of design.
One of the things I love most about Canva is their template library … you can simply pick what you want to make and they’ve taken the guess work out of sizing – for things such as Facebook Cover images or Twitter post or Pinterest graphic.
Canva is free for their basic model – perfect for most independent consultants. They also have a paid version for businesses that allows you to upload custom colors, fonts, logos and all of your brand assets. Depending on how much you use the service … it’s worth it.
Oh, and Canva is available as a desktop app and available for ipad — and as of July 2016 is available as an iphone app.
Snappa calls themselves “the easiest design tool you’ll ever use.” They’re similar to Canva in many ways, and different in others. I’ve personally used Canva much more than Snappa simply because I started using Canva first. Some of the things I like about Snappa include the fact that their interface seems easier to use.
Snappa has a free version that allows you 5 shares and 5 downloads per month. If you want an unlimited plan you pay just $10/month. Both the free an unlimited plan give you access to an immense library of images. So, if you’re just starting out, I recommend trying both Canva and Snappa to see which one works best for you — there’s likely some psychology behind which one people like best depending on their learning style and preferences.
New and hot off the press, Adobe Spark is potentially a game-changer. AND IT IS FREE!
The application includes 3 different tools – Post, Page and Video. Post is for creating graphics. Page is for making these incredible web-page like creations (which could be awesome for recognition, tips and timesavers or team news!) Spark Video is super for making quick videos with voiceover (think Powerpoint with a voiceover) to tell a story, teach a lesson or share an idea.
Adobe Spark Post used to just be an iOS app. But, now you can use all 3 on desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile.
Everything syncs online —- AND IS AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE YOU GO TO ACCESS IT. You can literally make something on your computer, then run out to the ball game and finish it on your phone. That’s what I like to call easy peasy using the corresponding App.
With Adobe Spark Post, you can create incredible social media graphics in minutes. It’s really designed to be SIMPLE. You can pick a template, then with a click, change the template which instantly puts your same content (words, quotes, etc.) into a whole new look. When you drag things around, they resize automatically, and it has automatic resizing for various social media platforms. You really do not need any design expertise to use Adobe Spark Post.
Page and Video are super cool, too. I’ll be talking about them in an upcoming post.
As you might expect from Adobe, their inspiration gallery is … inspiring and their blog is super informative.
Have fun with these cool tools! And, remember … first determine what you want to accomplish – the purpose of whatever you’re creating. THEN, choose the right tool for the job. Marketing and making are FUN, but when you’re goal is to create sales, recruit and drive growth, you want to make sure that there’s a point in all of it, too.
This post is part of a series of posts included in the online course:
Within the course we include “detours” to explore technology tools, tips and techniques for use in marketing and business as a direct seller.