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social media toolsDo you want to present visual messages in new ways?

Are you looking for new design tools to help you create visual content?

Social media is nothing without images. From simple blog graphics to memes and videos, visuals help us communicate with and engage our audiences.

In this article I’ll show you eight design resources and tools that can help you create visual content quickly and easily.

8 visual content apps

Find 8 apps to create stunning social media images.

#1: Find Images Without Copyright

If you’re looking for photos to use in your images, I have two resources for you: Unsplash and New Old Stock.

Unsplash is a free photo archive that prides itself on offering “do-whatever-you-want, hi-res images.” According to their licensing information, the images on the site are not copyrighted, which means you have free rein over how you use them.

unsplash

Use copyright-free images as a backdrop for your primary message.

Unsplash’s subscription service gives you 10 new images delivered straight to your inbox every 10 days.

It’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for on Unsplash. You can view images by month of submission, but there is no way to browse by topic or any other category.

New Old Stock provides “vintage photos from the public archives” and promises that no known copyright restrictions exist on them.

new old stock image

You can find photos from times past at New Old Stock.

Like Unsplash, you can’t browse images by theme, topic or any other categories. Nonetheless, New Old Stock features some incredible vintage photography. If that’s what you’re looking for, this is the place.

#2: Attract Attention With Animated Video

Video has taken content marketing by storm—audiences love it. If you’ve shied away from video because it’s too time-consuming or expensive, you should probably take a look at PowToon.

PowToon is a super-simple app that helps you create animated videos that will truly engage your audience.

powtoon video on google+

Use PowToon to create videos and presentations with a big “Wow!” factor.

PowToon features many templates and a well-stocked library of shapes, objects and effects you can use in your animation.

If you’ve ever thought about creating product overviews, presentations or even instructional videos, you can use PowToon for those and more. Whatever your message, an attractive video can probably enhance it.

#3: Choose a Color Palette

Adobe Kuler is a service that lets you create your own color palette or choose from thousands of existing ones. Why is that important?

Colors affect our perception, our emotions and our behavior. We associate colors with different concepts and respond to them in various ways.

adobe kuler

Use Kuler to find just the right color for your message.

With Kuler, you can find the right color balance for your visual content. Once you find your perfect palette, grab the code for each color (RGB, HEX, LAB, CMYK, HSB).

You can type the code into just about any design tool to make sure your color is always exactly right.

#4: Create Simple Graphics Fast

Canva is a true delight for any content marketer. You can use this free tool to create a multitude of different images for web and print—blog graphics, buttons, social media images and business cards are just a few of your options.

canva

Canva is an easy way to create good-looking graphics quickly.

Your first visit to Canva may take a while as you explore its features and test out all of the banners, images and fonts. The interface is intuitive and with a little training, you’ll be creating graphics in no time.

#5: Make Data Pretty

If you’re looking to create an infographic, Piktochart is one tool you can’t ignore. It features a set of themes and templates you can use as the base of your infographic—all you have to do is add your data and text.

piktochart

Building infographics doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

You can edit each theme to your liking, and once you’re done you can share your infographic across social media and/or embed it on your website. It’s that simple.

#6: Add Emphasis to Screenshots

Sometimes the best way to emphasize your point is to use images to back up your words. In these cases Awesome Screenshot is priceless.

Most screenshot tools take the shot and if you want to add anything else, you have to open it in another application to make changes. Awesome Screenshot is different because it lets you add graphic elements right in the tool.

Whether you’re giving a presentation or writing a blog post, adding screenshots with arrows, circles and other shapes can clarify your point and have a larger impact on your audience.

However, I have to tell you that this tool is a browser extension and only takes pictures of whatever is in your browser window.

#7: Enhance Words of Wisdom

Call me silly, but I love quotes. They almost always inspire or affect me in some way, and I’m not alone.

Quotes are a great idea for viral content, especially on social networking sites like Pinterest. But for quotes to catch on, they need to look intriguing.

That’s where QuotesCover comes in. This tool helps you turn words of wisdom into awesome looking e-cards, social media profile images and even prints.

quotescover

Quotes usually strike a chord with audiences and are very shareable.

When you want to inspire your audience with a powerful statement, this tool can prove invaluable. QuotesCover offers good-looking fonts and also lets you add drawings and modify your finished design.

#8: Show Online Product Flexibility

If you have a website, app or other online product, I think you’re going to like Placeit. The app allows you place your own video or picture in a template so you can show others how your product or image will look on different devices.

placeit

Show users how your product will look on their device.

Placeit has a number of options—you can find photos of people using different devices while they are at home, in a corporate meeting, on vacation and so on.

Placeit is free to use, but it adds a watermark to each photo. If you don’t want the watermark, you’ll have to pay $8 per photo.

Wrapping Up

If you’re going to spend time creating visual content, it makes sense to choose tools that make your job easier. The resources in this article offer options for just about every marketing need you’ll come up with. Plus, they’re easy to learn and use to produce quality images.

What do you think? Have you used any of these tools? How do you create your own visual content? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Evandro

    Great tools. thanks Olga!

  • Evandro

    Great tools. thanks Olga!

  • Olga Andrienko

    Happy you found them useful, Evandro! 🙂 Would love to know what tool you are using on a daily basis! Maybe, there are some useful free tools that I’ve missed 🙂

  • Teresa

    This is my first year blogging and managing Social Media for our website. I’ve used Canva but love the suggestions of QuoteCover and Piktochart. Can’t wait to try them out. Thanks for great information.

  • Olga Andrienko

    Teresa, I love Canva and use it on a daily basis. Now started to use it together with Pixabay. I take a vector image from Pixabay, download it to Canva. choose background and nice text font. Designs are simple, nice and easy to make! 🙂 Hope it helps! 🙂 glad you liked the post! 🙂

  • What was the application used to create the leading Image in this article? “Create stunning videos…” … thanks!

  • Thank you for talking about these visual media tools, I’m excited to use them to create infographics and buttons for our Newsletter. I think it will help our site and newsletter look more professional.

  • startupninja

    A nice collection of awesome tools… thanks olga

  • Maralene

    Thanks for the info…always looking for new resources…

  • LisaDSparks

    Olga this is cool. Thank you. The animation caught my eye for sure; so did the copyright-free option. Useful list.

  • Thanks for these great tools!

    I started using Canva (read about it in the SME September 9 post by Kristin Ammerman) and love it! I’m always on the lookout for free images and will check out Unsplash. PowToon sounds cools, so I’ll check that out too. 🙂

  • Pam Fernicola

    Thanks! I’m going to try Every Single One and let you know what happens!

  • This is great, now I won’t have trouble finding good quality pictures. Thanks!

  • Olga Andrienko

    Jeff, this image was done by Social Media Examiner, but looks a lot like Canva to me 🙂 well, even if it’s not, you can do the same one in Canva 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Jim, happy you found the post useful and hope it helps you create amazing visual content! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    thank you for the feedback! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    my pleasure! 🙂 we all are looking for the best easy to use free resources! 🙂 I had some recommendations already in response to this post, so will be making a new collection of awesome tools soon! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Lisa, thank you! hope the tools help you supercharge your visual marketing! Do let me know the results and please tweet me the link to the animation to @olgaandrienkoo 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Amandah, thanks for the comment! Unsplash is great, images are so nice and you can download them to Canva and blur a bit (click ‘Filter’ on the image toolbar and then click ‘advanced settings’). this will make them unique and if you add semi-transparent layer onto the pic, the text would look absolutely great! 🙂
    PowToon is cool indeed, an awesome tool if you have to create a good quality witty visual presentation. It will do the job much better than PowerPoint or Prezi.

  • Olga Andrienko

    Pam, happy you found the post useful. I’d love to hear your feedback! Please contact me on Twitter (@olgaandrienkoo) or on Google+ (+Olga Andrienko) and send the links! thank you so much! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Will, thanks for the comment! I’m happy you’ve found some tools useful! I still recommend editing images (putting some text on it, blurring, adjusting the transparency, contrast, etc) so they wouldn’t look as photos people have already seen on some other blog 🙂

  • Simon Williams

    I’ll be straight onto Powtoon, Olga. Where do see visual content heading in the next 12 months from where we are now?

  • Olga Andrienko

    Simon, glad you found the post useful! I think we’ll see more and more short video content in the upcoming months. Images are better than text and videos are better than images 🙂
    YouTube is growing like crazy with 1 hour of video uploaded every second, Twitter playing GIFs, Instagram introducing videos already a while ago and the list goes on.
    What’s your opinion on the future of visual marketing?

  • yvonne

    Very helpful… thanks.

  • Olga Andrienko

    Yvonne, thank you so much! happy you liked the post! 🙂

  • Mrs Mac

    I thought I was so brilliant discovering Canva & Pixabay! I have to do a lot of graphic/marketing content work every day with no designer software. These programs makes me look awesome without trying hard! Another handy tool I just discovered is ColourPick Eye Dropper as a Chrome app. Also Photoscape is a free program I use regularly that does screen shots within it’s program.

  • Olga Andrienko

    Mrs Mac, thank you for the heads up! Haven’t heard about Chrome app and haven’t yet tried Photoscape! 🙂
    What is your favorite font combination in Canva? 🙂

  • Nicole Barbato

    Great article, thanks for sharing! I have used a few of these tools before and find them very user friendly.

  • Mrs Mac

    Depends what I am working on. I use Canva for work and 2 other non-profits I volunteer with. I have a standard font I use for work though, usually Arimo. The colour picker is awesome because it gives you a colour code which you can use in Canva! 🙂

    Please keep posting finds like this, I have just added more to my list of resources. I may have also just made a ton of quote images for posting!

  • More interactive and personal is my view. A deeper relationship between people through this visual content delivery. But, like anything in the digital age, 12 months is a long time.

  • Thania

    This was great thank you!

  • Hi Jeff – I created the opening image. I created the whole image using PicMonkey. The backdrop was created using stock fonts, tools & elements…all from PicMonkey. I do have a paid subscription so I can get a few extra fonts (I *love* fonts) but you could create a version very similar for free.

  • Lynn Scott

    Thanks for sharing these. I think I’ve just lost hours of my day trying some of the new ones! 😉

  • Anthony

    very useful! thanks! 🙂

  • mauricio belgrano

    I use Screenpresso to capture screen shots also. 🙂

  • Greta article. I have used powtoon and piktochart. There are awesome. Happy to see other useful tools too.

  • Diana Navarro

    Thank you. I’m looking forward to exploring some of these.

  • Olga Andrienko

    Nicole, thank you for the feedback! glad you liked it)) hope you found some new tools as well as the ones you’ve tried already! 🙂

  • Vivek G Maudgalya

    Thanks Olga, I have used almost all the tools but have’t tried quotes cover. Its really informative stuff.

  • Olga Andrienko

    Thania, happy you found it useful! and hope it makes the process of creating awesome images easier for you! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Lynn, my pleasure! happy to share the knowledge and hope to see more great visual content on the web! 🙂 would love to see the results of your experiments, please do tweet some links to @olgaandrienkoo 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Anthony, thank you for the feedback! glad you liked the post! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Mauricio, thank you for the heads up! will try this one as well! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Suzy, thank you! great to hear you’ve tried PowToon. Haven’t met too many people who did and it was not easy to find some examples on the web. Videos seem more difficult to make than the images 🙂 hope the tools like PowToon will change that! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    DIana, happy to hear! glad you liked the post! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Vivek, thank you! I am happy that you’ve found something new in the post! Any tools from your toolkit you’d recommend me to try? 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Just sent a private message on our Facebook and noticed that now the preview image for the link is enormous compared to what it used to be. visual marketing will definitely become stronger and, as you said, interactive. we’ll see where it takes us! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Kristin, this is actually so funny! 🙂 I tell about 8 awesome tools and skip the mention of the tool that the leading post image was created with 🙂

  • Thanks Olga. For some reason couldn’t download awesome screenshot but will continue trying. My favorite new tool is Pic Monkey.

  • Olga Andrienko

    Dear Richa, thank you so much for the feedback! appreciate it and I am very happy you found it helpful 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Dear Kris, I’m very happy you liked the post! 🙂 Awesome Screenshot works best with Chrome. Had some problems in Mozilla recently.
    PicMonkey is great, love the effects you can apply to images, but Canva’s interface looks easier to me, so I use it a lot more 🙂 It’s great that there are free tools for every taste 🙂

  • Olga,

    What a great list of awesome resources and the best part is that they’ve mostly free!

    Thanks for sharing tihs!

  • Olga Andrienko

    Cynthia, thank you! glad you liked the post! it’s essential to have many free tools in your toolkit))))

  • nani

    Thank you! Helpful.

  • Yeah, sure it is. 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Dear Nani, my pleasure! thank you for the comment 🙂 glad you liked the post!

  • Olga Andrienko

    The image looks great! and thank you for the link! 🙂

  • ktawila

    wooow thanks loads Olga very useful tools 😉

  • Veronica Solomon

    These are great tips. I will be trying most. I currently us pic monkey and word swag for graphics. I am so glad to learn of these other ideas

  • Olga Andrienko

    Happy you liked the post! and thank you for leaving your feedback, appreciate it! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Dear Veronica! I am very glad you’ve found some new tools to try out! and thank you for the word swag mention, Never heard of this tool and will test it for sure! 🙂

  • ameeeee

    I love using “A Beautiful Mess”. It’s an Android and iPhone app that I use for my quotes and image editing on the go!

  • What a smashing post and thanks for including my Powtoon tweet 🙂 Feel free to link it to my webiste 😛

  • Matt Young

    I use at least half of these tools already but just reading this blog has inspired me to create fantastic content with them for my awesome clients! Thank you….

  • Olga Andrienko

    Ameeeee, thank you for the tip! wil try it out! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Kate, happy you liked the post, thank you! 🙂 You’re one of the frontrunners in using PowToon, found very few examples via social networks 🙁

  • Olga Andrienko

    Dear Matt, very glad to hear! 🙂 maybe you have some more tools on your list, that I haven’t mentioned and could test?)

  • Yes I love it (and not just because it’s name contains my name)

  • Olga Andrienko

    Adobe Kuler is #3 on the list! I absolutely love this tool! It’s a must-have for anyone who is creating images 🙂

  • Hilary Smith

    Thanks for pointing me towards Pixabay! I just started using Canva, and this will be an excellent source of photos to use.

  • Thanks for great info. I was thinking I must be way behind because the only tool I’m using is PicMonkey, and I just learned that recently! Whew – I’m relieved. But will try others now.

  • Olga Andrienko

    Catherine, happy you’ve found the post useful. And you’re not way behind, you’re right on time! 🙂

  • I use some of these now, but there were some I didn’t know about! Thanks for a great article!

  • Crowley Assistant

    Canva / PicMonkey / Death by Stock Photo / Pixabay = So fun!

  • Olga Andrienko

    Dear Aimee, glad you liked the article! thank you for your comment! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Indeed! The secret of great images that stand out is mixing the tools is making them unique 🙂 and it’s super easy when you mix several tools together! 🙂

  • Christina

    I use Canva and PowToon. Great lists! Thanks Olga!

  • Wow! Awesome list. Just what I have been looking for. Thanks.

  • Pingback: The Top 100 Content Marketing Articles of 2014()

  • Eve Bichetero

    I know, 4 months behind, but still thanking you Olga. I cant wait to try out these tools especially canva, piktochart and quotes cover. I use pic monkey now and then. Probably new tools already out by now.

  • Eve Bichetero

    I know, 4 months behind, but still thanking you Olga. I cant wait to try out these tools especially canva, piktochart and quotes cover. I use pic monkey now and then. Probably new tools already out by now.

  • Julie Young

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am probably going to try all of them!

  • Rebecca Borough

    So helpful! Thanks!

  • Olga Andrienko

    Eve, thanks for the feedback! 🙂 happy you’ve found the post useful. There are a few new good tools for picking the right colors and video marketing is growing rapidly, so I expect we’ll see some new tools emerging soon. Yet my initial toolkit stays pretty much the same 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Julie, great to hear! thank you for the comment! 🙂

  • Olga Andrienko

    Thank you for the feedback, Christina!

  • Olga Andrienko

    Thank you, Rebecca! 🙂 glad you found the post useful!

  • Hi Olga,

    Found some new resources via this article thanks again. I use Pixabay and Canva tool !

  • agnest

    You can also try Visme. It’s a tool that helps you create awesome infographics, presentations, banners, animations in 1-2-3 steps in your browser and share or embed anywhere.

  • Cecilia

    this article is mostly about images and how to make a cartoon video. I was hoping for more about video since is the first mayor word in the tittle.
    anyway, I see some tools that are missing. Even though, Canva is great, I see a graphic and I think “that was created with Canva” (SM Examiner is an example) I prefer to use Picmonkey or even Publisher as it gives me bigger creative freedom. For quotes I use Pablo and use my own photos, then I water mark the quote with my logo, easy peasy! and finally, I use Animoto for creating beautiful videos. The free options for all these are great, but you can Upgrade for more features. (I use the free options, except for Animoto)
    Below quote was created with Pablo, but easily can be done with Picmonkey

  • Thanks for using a snap of my Powtoon video @olgaandrienko:disqus, I only just found out today I’d been featured!!

  • Olga Andrienko

    Cecilia, I only just saw your comment. Pablo was not yet launched when this post was published 🙂 I would’ve included it the post as well as Snappa,io – a free tool that I use daily now 🙂
    Thank you for pointing out that the post had not enough video creation tools, I’ll check some new ones and make sure to send the links your way.

  • Olga Andrienko

    My pleasure, Kate! 🙂 thanks for the comment.

  • Olga Andrienko

    Thank you for the heads up, Agnest!

  • Olga Andrienko

    Thank you for the comment, Niraj! 🙂