If you’re looking for a way to take your brand’s online presence from appearing average to professionally crafted, utilizing a graphic design program is a must.
While graphic design can be daunting, the basics can be adapted for anyone, even for you writers with no interest in design!
No, I’m not telling you that you need to be creating GIFs, logos, or emojis. By graphic design, I simply mean creating infographics, social media posts, flyers, wallpapers, and more with a software or program. Any of the text overlay images you see on my site or Instagram feed have been created with a graphic design program. And no, none of them required a professional designer.
The first step in implementing graphic design into your brand is to choose a software or program with which you feel comfortable. While the possibilities here are endless, popular softwares include Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Indesign, Gimp, and Canva. Now, depending on your graphics needs, experience level, and budget, the advantages and disadvantages of these programs will vary.
But because I’m all about creating simple but high-quality content on a tight budget, I’m going to be honest here- I’ve primarily stuck with Canva and LucidPress.
I discovered LucidPress about a year ago and it has been an absolute lifesaver. If you’re familiar with Canva, it functions the same way; both programs offer several templates to choose from, including social media, flyer, newsletter, menu, and report templates. Both Canva and LucidPress are hosted online for easy access, have free versions that offer several templates without any payment required, have several fonts to choose from, allow image uploads, and have great customer service. Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with either software.
However, I personally prefer LucidPress and within the past six months have found myself using it exclusively for my graphic design needs.* While I pay for the premium version of the program, I was able to do quite a lot with the free version before I decided to upgrade (a decision that was based more on the needs of my last employer’s design requirements, not my personal freelancing needs). With LucidPress, I’m can customize designs by brand, colors can be altered by hex number, designs can be measured in pixels, image upload is easy and quick, I can implement video, and the social media and web templates are extensive. I mean, LucidPress offers Tumblr templates. That’s a big deal for my design needs.
If you’re looking for phone apps that can get you started in your Instagram branding, I absolutely love Over, and I’ve also used Phonto and RhonnaCollage. These apps function largely in the same way as Canva and LucidPress and can do quite a lot in terms of design. The only drawback here is that because they are phone apps, they can feel a little more restricted than if you were to design on a computer.
So how can these different tools improve your brand quality?
Take a look:
In the first image, I don’t have any branding on the image. There’s no “ESN” logo, no text, just an image. The photo got 67 likes and no comments. In the second image, I have text overlay on the image in my brand’s color. The photo has 580 likes and 17 comments.
Graphic design, even in its simplest form like the examples shown here, takes your brand’s images and content from amateur to expert. And it really is that easy!
*This post is NOT sponsored by LucidPress; it’s just a software that has been so helpful in taking my brand from mediocre to clean, sharp, and beautiful and I want to shout it from the rooftops! 🙂