With the advent of in-cloud computing, many companies provide free software on their web-based platforms.
The area of graphic design is no exception. There are literally hundreds of companies offering free graphic design services online.
Professional graphic design software is available, but this usually is prohibitively expensive for most people who simply want to design things for themselves. Therefore, a professional design package is not warranted, nor are the costs involved.
Most free service providers make a free version available, requiring an upgrade to use some of the more professional features. They make their money when customers upgrade to the paying version.
Let’s take a deep dive into what you should look for in a free graphic design software suite.
Compare Apples With Apples
Whenever comparing service providers, it is always important to compare apples with apples.
This article aims to give you a basis for comparison. So whichever software you consider using, you can check its functions and features against this list.
If any software offers you most, if not all, of these critical features, then you are probably looking at a good option.
Of course, there is nothing more important than your own individual needs. First, however, you should assess what you need the software to do to assess the options in that framework.
The Benefits of a Total Graphics Suite
Perhaps you only need a simple photo cropping service right now. However, as you get bitten by the graphics bug, you will likely design a logo here and there, want to design an Instagram post for yourself, and so on.
It is a great benefit when a graphics suite provides as wide a range of services as possible. The operations within a suite follow the same procedures. Once you learn these procedures, you don’t have to go and re-learn them to perform new tasks.
Contrast this to where you use one service to crop your photos and then another to insert music into your photos – each time, there is a whole new learning curve.
Features and Functions You Should Look For
The following section outlines any good free graphics software service’s features and functions.
Ease of Use
Software should be easy to use with a nominal learning curve. If the look and feel appear simple, it is probably easy to use with not much required to learn the package.
This will save you time and allow you to spend more effort actually designing than fighting with the technology.
Templates, Templates and More Templates
Templates are a great way to start with graphic design. In addition, they save a lot of time.
A lot of the grunt work has already been done for you. You simply need to tweak and customize the design to your liking. This is significantly quicker than designing from the ground up.
Any service provider worth its weight in gold will have plenty of templates for you to choose from.
Check whether templates are available for the following depending on your needs:
|Animated Graphics||Logo Maker||Posters||Display Ads|
|Social Media Graphics||Blog Graphics||Wedding Invitations||Facebook Ads|
|Instagram Stories||Presentation Design||Invitations||Instagram Ads|
|Instagram Posts||Meme Maker||Motivational Posters|
|Facebook Posts||Collage Maker||Card Maker|
|Facebook Covers||Blog Headers||Postcards|
|YouTube Channel Art||Email Headers||Resume Maker|
|Twitch Banners||Mind Map||Proposals|
|Facebook Stories||eBook Design||Brochure Maker|
|Tumblr Banners||Zoom Background||Menu|
|Pinterest Graphics||Mood Board||Flyers|
|YouTube Intro Maker||Mobile Presentations||Real Estate Flyers|
|Twitter Post||Podcast Cover||Business Cards|
|Twitter Header||Letterhead||Gift Certificates|
|Tumblr Graphics||Schedule Planner||Certificates|
|LinkedIn Cover||Concept Map||Infographics|
|Snapchat Geofilter||Newsletter Maker||Invoice|
|IGTV Cover Maker||eBay Store Billboard||Coupon|
|TikTok Videos||Album Cover|
|YouTube Thumbnails||Photo Book|
Photo Manipulation and Photo Library Bank
Look for a provider who can assist you in manipulating your own photos. You should also have access to their own photo bank so you can use photos in your designs that you have not taken.
At the very least, you should be able to perform the following:
Crop your photos
Remove the background of the photo – preferably a 1 click process
Animate your images
Add music to your photos
Add sound to your videos
Add text in a variety of fonts
Add frames to photos
Add speech bubbles to photos
Apply photo filters
Resize your images
Blur the background
Make images transparent
Vector, Photo and Video Library
It is always frustrating when you need to go to find images at a different source to pull them into your project.
Images need to be sourced, saved and then copied into your project, all of which costs a lot of time.
It is easier when the images are already within the project folders and simply be brought in – simple, quick and easy.
The best graphics service providers contain large banks of vector art, photos and videos for easy import into your project.
Even better if the libraries all contain royalty-free material, so you don’t have to pay every time you use an asset.
Design Objects Available to You
Optimally, you should be able to access the following objects:
This should cover all the design assets you will need.
Space, Space and More Space
Since you are working in the cloud, you will need a lot of space for your projects. For example, video, music and high definition photos all take up oodles of space.
Make sure that the service provider you use provides you with at least 10 GB of storage to prevent you from running out of space just when you need it.
Video Manipulation and Animation
The best software services even provide video manipulation, going well beyond the typical graphic design packages.
Functionality can even include the following:
Trimming the video
Resizing the video
Creating animated logos
Applying animated effects
Adding audio to your pictures and videos is always a winner and makes your visuals come to life.
An accompanying royalty-free media library is always a huge bonus.
Cell Phone Functionality
Having access to your designs means you can even be designing when you are on the go. If your service provider provides a cell phone app for iPhone and Android, this is a nice benefit.
An Ability to Upgrade
Usually, you can upgrade to a more professional option that offers more and sometimes unlimited storage space, access to larger library banks, and additional features.
This will ensure that you can be catered for if you start taking your graphic design more seriously or your needs increase.
To Sum it All Up
Choosing the right service provider the first time is essential.
The time spent learning how to use the software, becoming familiar with procedures and libraries and the services offered is time well spent.
Very few providers offer all of the above functions and features, including even the best-known free service providers.
We analyzed and assessed many free offerings.
Check out VistaCreate for the highest scoring software in our in-depth analysis.
Good luck in choosing your software and happy designing.
From one creative to another.