social media toolsDo you include shareable images with your articles and updates?

Can you create them yourself, or do you think you lack design skills?

It doesn’t make sense to hire a graphic designer every time you need an image.

In this article I’ll show you three online design tools to make your own shareable images–no formal design skills necessary.

3 tools to create social media images

Find 3 tools to create social media images.

#1: Create Reusable Images With Layers

Canva is an online tool built by designers who had non-designers in mind. When you open your account, Canva offers a quick tutorial and five Starter Challenges to get you going. You can also check out the other design tutorials on the home page–each one takes about three minutes.

This particular design tool is an excellent choice if you want to create a template and then switch out the background, text or other elements as needed. And because Canva saves your work in layers, you can go back and make changes hours, days or months later.

If you need inspiration for a new image, take a look at Canva’s Editor’s Picks on the home page. When you get going, don’t worry about making a mistake. Canva makes it easy to experiment and change things as you go along. When you’re done, you can save your work right on your home page.

canva image tool

Canva home page with design inspiration under Editor’s Picks.

You’ll find lots of flexibility with Canva. They offer free and paid options for backgrounds, icons and pictures—or as with most design tools, you can upload your own images.

Canva’s paid options are only $1. Once you buy them, they’re only available for 24 hours and for one project only. Canva’s inexpensive photos are a great time-saver and can make the difference between ho-hum and amazing.

To find an image, click in the search box and choose the type of image you’re looking for. For example, to find the Twitter icon below, I chose Buttons and searched for Twitter. If you’re doing an article on Pinterest and creating your image in Canva, you can search for ‘Pinterest’ and you’ll get other icon options.

canva created image

I created this image in 10 minutes. Fast and easy!

Want to change the color of something—your text, perhaps? Click on the text and then click the color circles to change colors easily. Canva doesn’t have a color picker (a dropper to select colors already in your image), but they do have a color wheel under the +.

My favorite thing about Canva color is that it saves your recent colors, which is nice when you know you’re going to be using your company colors often.

font color in canva image tool

Making changes to the text color.

Like any new-to-you tool, there is a learning curve, but you get through it pretty quickly. Once you get used to it, you’ll find the Canva process that works best for you.

I use Canva when I’m collaborating on an image or creating a template I’ll be reusing. I also use Canva for their fantastic photos and basic structure.

#2: Add Interest With Fonts

PicMonkey is known for its fun, user-friendly interface and its huge collection of fonts. This tool is free, but if you get a paid account you can get the ad-free version that includes premium fonts and layouts.

picmonkey home page

PicMonkey home page with tips from experts and information on new features.

For many people, PicMonkey’s selection of fonts is a huge draw. There’s even an option for adding specialized fonts, meaning if your business uses a specific font, you can upload it and use it in PicMonkey.

With PicMonkey, changing background and text colors is a snap. You can choose a specific color if you know the hex code, use the color picker or use the dropper tool select a color right from your image.

In the example below I used the dropper tool to duplicate the color of the liquid and used that color for the middle row of text.

picmonkey eyedropper tool

PicMonkey makes it easy to manipulate font colors, size and placement.

PicMonkey makes it simple to try out fonts and colors, but it’s usually a good idea to stick to one or two fonts and one to three colors for your overall image.

There may be times when you need to create an image and make duplicates in different sizes. No problem. You can open another tab for PicMonkey and simply copy and paste your text from the original image to your new image in the new tab. PicMonkey copies the colors and fonts, enabling you to recreate another image quickly—and you can resize however you like.

The downfall of PicMonkey is that you have to save your work to your computer. When you close your work in PicMonkey, it’s gone forever! If you upload and open your saved image in PicMonkey it will be flattened, which means you can’t change colors, fonts or move the text around.

When you save your image to your computer you can name the file, choose either .jpg or .png, set the quality and resize as needed.

save options on picmonkey

Saving an image in PicMonkey is simple. And you have resolution options, too.

Few can resist the lure of PicMonkey’s font library, and many love how fast the interface is.

I use PicMonkey when I’m doing one-time images, working solo or using my own photography.

#3: Make Quick Images on Mobile

WordSwag is a mobile-only tool that’s perfect for making quick quotes.

You can upload your own camera picture or use their set backdrops. Either way, backgrounds are easy to swap out later, so go ahead and experiment. I often use WordSwag’s library of photos, but it’s somewhat limited.

wordswag home page

WordSwag app home page (left frame) and a sampling of backdrops (right frame).

After you choose your backdrop, you can add text. You can use pre-created quotes or select Custom from the menu and make your own.

To add text, double tap in the center of the image to bring up the text box. I usually turn off the Auto Line Breaking option so I can choose how my text wraps. You can create your own line breaks by tapping the Return button.

In the example below you can see where I moved the word ‘others’ to the next line because I want that word to start the second line of text.

wordswag line breaks

Turn off WordSwag’s automatic line breaks to have more control over your text.

When you’re done, click Save and Close to move on to text color, style and transparency. The fun really begins when you swipe and click on different font styles! If you’ve ever manipulated text layouts manually, you’ll appreciate this feature!

font management in wordswag

Select font color (left frame). Select font style (right frame).

When everything’s ready to go, click Done and you’ll have the chance to share your image to Facebook and Twitter right then and there. You can also email the image to yourself or save and download it into your social scheduler to post later.

finished wordswag image

Social sharing options (left). Finished image as it will be seen on social channels (right).

If you decide you want to make changes to your current WordSwag, click the back arrow and make changes. You should know, though, that WordSwag only holds one image and its layers at a time. Once you start working on a new image, the old one is gone.

Wrapping Up

Whether you have a background in design or not, Canva, PicMonkey and WordSwag are useful tools that let you create and share social media images quickly. You don’t have to take a college course or watch lengthy YouTube tutorials to figure out how to use them. Just dig in and experiment.

What do you think? Do you make your own social media images? Have you used any of these tools? We’d love to hear what you have to say. Please leave your comments below.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been changed to reflect the fact that WordSwag is now a paid app.

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  • Excellent list! I love Canva, but haven’t tried the other two yet. Just as a sidenote, on my Android phone and tablet, I’ve used TextGram to create simple quote-style graphics like you did on WordSwag. It looks like WordSwag has a larger font selection, but the tradeoff is that TextGram automatically submits to Instagram along with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and anywhere else your phone can share to.

  • Hello Kristin! Thank you so much for sharing Canva in your article! Much appreciated!

    Peg – Head of Social Strategy @ Canva

  • @PegFitzpatrick:disqus Love your product!

  • Robin Moody

    WordSwag may have been free but it’s $2.99 today. 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing one of your fav quote apps, Justin! WordSwag is enabled to submit to 3 social channels (FB, Insta & Twitter) and email. But, not all the social channels. Great to know there’s another good option out there!

  • Thanks for saying “hi”, Peg! Canva is the everyday graphic tool that anyone can learn in a weekend. It’s an accessible program that anyone can learn to use with a little time and eye for design.

  • Thank you for the update, Robin! I started with the free version (when it was free), but I ended up purchasing every font … that’s how much I love WordSwag ;). I remember when my friend, Donna, first showed me WordSwag. I about fell off my chair because I would spend hours doing what WordSwag created in seconds! I hope it helps you, too!

  • Jennifer Pierno

    I have been experimenting with Canva lately, and I’m really starting to love it for social media graphics. Excellent recommendation.

  • Canva is awesome! I use it all the time and most recently to design my blog’s business cards. Big thumbs up!!!

  • I use PicMonkey and Photoshop. Although, I sometimes find working in PicMonkey frustrating. It’s not like Photoshop where you can easily move text around on an image and superimpose images.

    Thanks for the tip about Canva! I just created an account and like what I see.

  • I found that experimenting was a great way to learn the capabilities of Canva! I’d love to see something you create!

  • Thanks for the post…strange but Wordswag (the only one I haven’t tried) doesn’t come up on my mobile. I wonder why?

  • I’m glad you’re giving Canva a try. I hear that many people drop their Photoshop and only use Canva for quick images. You’ll pick it up in no time with your Photoshop background.

    Strange you’re having trouble with layering in PicMonkey. Bummer! Putting layers in usually goes smoothly with PicMonkey because it doesn’t have to save each element as a layer. Usually one of the benefits of PicMonkey is how easy the layers are to create (and a bummer they can’t be saved like they are in Canva).

  • Ugh! I’m having trouble with Canva. All I want to do is Save my image. It’s kind of a bummer because the images and texts are cool.

    I tried creating layers in PicMonkey but it never works, at least it doesn’t for me. I’ll take a look at it on the weekend when I have more time.

  • Kristin, I totally agree with you on using images. Do you have any recommendations on how to get our selected images to appear in our posts, as opposed to random ones?(Especially using WordPress) I know it has something to do with og images, but I’ve had no success with any plug-ins so far. Thanks!

  • Canva should auto-save…look in the upper right hand corner and the blue half circle (with the “B” next to it) and it will say “Saving…” when it’s saving or “Canva” when it’s not. However, I have occasionally experienced when there is a lag between saving changes and actually having them saved. Also, you will be able to go back to your Canva homepage at any time and you’ll see that image in “your designs”.

    You can tweet me over the weekend if you try it and I’ll help you 🙂

  • Thank you!

    I see “Saving” in the right-hand corner, but I’m not sure if it’s saving. Hmm…

    Thanks for the offer for help. 🙂

  • Yay, K!!!! Great article! Thanks for sharing all your tips and ideas. Congrats on getting published in the big kids pool 🙂 -Jen

  • Amie Leadingham

    Thanks so much for this I just downloaded wordswag.. it is so inexpensive but delivers high value memes.. love it!

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  • Grete tools I did not know about them. Thx for sharing. I really like Canva tool.

  • Thanks for the great tips as usual. I can’t wait to try them out to create images for my ministry blog and Facebook pages.

  • Thanks, Jen! What can I say, I’m spoiled with great editors 😉

  • It really is one of the hot go-to tools right now. I’m so pleased to get to be the one to tell you about it! Have fun trying it out!

  • I love these tools because they don’t require a college degree to use them. Thanks for reading the article and I hope one of the tools helps you meet your goals!

  • Elaine – I wrote to you hours ago, but SME blocked it…I’m guessing because I put a link in the post? Oops! Maybe it will show up later, but I want to answer your question (again). Okay…so yes, you’re on the right track. SME has a great article on this very thing by Andy Crestodina (who is a very smart guy). Go to the Social Media Examiner search box and look for “How to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog Posts from Social Networks”. There is information there for getting your open graph images to work. Of course, you’ll need to create and open graph image (using one of the tools I’ve suggested) so your plug-in for facebook will have something to pull. I hope that answers your question :). Quick Tip! open graph images are 560×292 pixels. Good luck 🙂

  • WordSwag is great for making quotes on the fly. So if you’re listening to a speaker, you can create an image quote and have it out to your audience, looking amazing, in 60 seconds. (& tag the speaker to show them the love) Have fun with these ideas!

  • Many thanks, Kristin!

  • I have used Picmonkey alot , but gotta try Canva and wordswag..

  • Vibha Babbar Wadhwa

    Excellent list, thanks for the post. But the images I choose from Canva have its watermark logo. Any way we can remove that logo?

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  • Elīza Šternberga

    Maybe somebody already asked but can you suggest something similar to WordSwag for android? As i understand it’s for iOS only.

  • Hi, Vibha. My experience with the awesome Canva tool is that some images are free and others you must pay to remove the watermark. So look for a free image or pay the nominal amount, usually $1, to remove the watermark. BTW, you can also upload your own images if you already have something you want to incorporate into your Canva masterpiece. I have used Paint to capture bits of things (that I own the rights to) I want to use. I just create a jpg then upload to Canva.

  • Hi Vibha – Yes, Wanda is right on. Some of the images in Canva cost $1 to use. You can hoover over the image you are interested in to see if it’s free or is $1. When you go to download it, Canva asks if you would like to purchase. If you click “yes” the logo disappears and you can work on your image for the next 24 hours before the watermark returns.

  • I used to use PicMonkey to create my quotes… it was so much more time consuming than WordSwag. After you’ve spent time resizing, resizing, resizing characters to get your quote the way you want, you’ll definitely appreciate the ease of WordSwag! I love PicMonkey and Canva for lots of things, but quotes on the go…WordSwag all the way 🙂

  • Thank you, Veronica! Glad you found the article helpful!

  • Thank you, Paul! I’m glad you liked it!

  • S. Peters

    Thanks so much for introducing me to PicMonkey! I love WordSwag and use it several times a week for work, but this will be so much easier now.

  • Michelle

    Do you use these apps and programs for web use only? Do you also use a program like illustrator or photoshop? Sometimes I just want to quickly make a little image but I have to go to illustrator…. I guess because I have always just done it that way. Would love your input on using Canva for example vs a program like Illustrator.

  • Great round up! These are certainly some of the more popular apps. I’m constantly downloading and testing out new image editing apps. Split Pic is another fun app.

    Psst….”Shareable” is misspelled in the headline and permalink.

  • I don’t have personal experience with other topography apps, but here are a couple that came recommended to me: PicsArt and InstaQuote. If you check these two out, let me know what you think 🙂

  • Hi Wendy – Sorry it’s not working on your mobile! Are you on an iOS phone or Android? I believe WordSwag only works on the iOS platform.

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  • Sweet – I love to hear I helped you streamline work and make things easier. It saves you time to do other things for your business!

  • PicMonkey and Canva are both desktop applications. There are no mobile versions of either of these products (yet). I do know how to use Photoshop and I’ve used it a lot in the past, depending on my clients. Currently, I do not use Photoshop as PicMonkey and Canva have completely surpassed my expectations in ease and style. I found PicMonkey to be so easy, it bordered on ridiculous – which is awesome!

    WordSwag is mobile and is great for creating a quote while on the go. Literally, if you’re standing in a line and reading a great article on your phone. Cut and paste a great line to share with your audience. Done and done!

  • Thank you, Ben! Yes, I did try to go for the simple tried-and-true apps that I know image creators love. As I’m sure you know, many business people want to focus on their widget and don’t want to try out a million apps, so I get right to it 🙂 I’m so glad you shared Split Pic with everyone! I just downloaded it and I’m excited to try it out. (I think my kids will love it)

  • That would explain a great deal, I do indeed use an Android. Thanks for that!

  • Elīza Šternberga

    Thanks a lot. I’ll try both and let you know.

  • It’s really great to see a community out here dedicated towards helping other users! Love the list! Can’t wait to try each of them out!

  • Hey Justin, thanks for sharing an alternative. There’s a few textgram app’s on my phone. Who is the developer for the app you’re using?

  • Thanks for the kids words, Austen! Let’s see what else I have up my sleeve for another post 😉

  • Solid roundup.
    Canva is AWESOME.

  • Hi Wendy – a few people have let me know their fav typography apps for Android. They are TextGram, PicsArt and InstaQuote. I hope one of these is perfect for you 🙂

  • Thanks Kristin for sharing some of my favorites when making Pinnable images for our site! Nothing is worse than landing on a great article and not being able to share because there’s no image. One of my favorite parts of Canva are the preset sizes for the various social media platforms, such a time saver. Need to start making myself use WordSwag when I’m on the go, although I’m loving the newer upgrade on instagram image editing. Can’t wait to see what you share next!

  • I know canva but other two is new to me. Thanks you.

  • Thank you, Nasri! Very cool that you’re going to try out all the products 🙂

  • Thank you, Daniel! I did pick my favorites and I’m glad you approve 🙂 Do you know Photoshop or other Adobe program? Just curious… Canva is popular, especially with those who have some design background.

  • I totally agree, Kim! All articles should have a fabulous, pinnable image. I think most companies (small and large) have figured that out. Yay! And yes, Canva does have pre-made images, but not my current go-to size (for open graph). Perhaps they’re working on it? (hint, hint Canva ;). Annnd, we do tweet each other on occasion, so include me on your first WordSwag tweet!!

  • Of the three, I think that Canva takes the longest to learn. You’ll breeze through the other two programs. I hope you find them useful 🙂 Thanks!!

  • LOVE Canva, but I wish there was a way to open finished projects in different size options. Lately I’ve been using a combination of Canva and Picmonkey to add some effects or finishing touches. Would Bluestacks work for WordSwag?

  • I’ve been using Photoshop but only recently. I think that’s part of what’s great about it. Because it does have layers you can do some more technical things but you don’t get the overkill.

  • Kiyo – You’re a gal after my own heart! I use the Canva+PicMonkey combo often. Oh, so often! One of the reasons is the re-sizing. I wouldn’t be surprised if Canva rolled out a re-sizing feature. I’m not sure if Bluestacks would work for WordSwag. If you try it out, please let us know if it did. (That would be awesome for cropping and then scheduling later on FB and other platforms. And for batching quotes. Who doesn’t love batching?). Also, I wonder if some people use Bluestacks for texting and that’s why they can respond at lighting fast speed?!

  • Photoshop is great for fixing photos taken in poor light, ect. But, if I have a professional photo (or a great amateur one), I skip Photoshop all together, now.

    I took a college course, back in the day, to learn Photoshop. But, I learned Canva in a weekend of playing around. Canva is the best online program, that I know of, that saves in layers. Well put and I totally agree that you get some great technical tools, but not the overkill.

  • Diana C.

    I love Canva, but it sometimes behaves odd. I will give you that!
    If you are modifying a standard layout, it will often show the standard, but when you click to edit, it will be your modified version. You can also rename your design in edit mode. Just click on the text to the left of the Twitter share icon, edit and enter your custom name.

  • Canva does act up, but I’ve been using more than PicMonkey.

    Thanks for the tip about renaming your design. I was wondering how to do that.

  • It’s by Codeadore 🙂

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  • Guest

    These online tools are great for making quick easy changes. I use these for web use only, but I believe Canva has print quality available. When I’m doing a print job, I use a graphic designer who is an InDesign pro. I don’t know Illustrator, but I do know Photoshop. I rarely use Photoshop any more and when I do it’s mostly for portrait photography, not business social graphics. Hope this helps!