Are you looking for the best graphic design app on the internet? In my previous post, I talked about free graphic design apps out on the web. Those were completely free. No free version with limited features and paid plans that include increased features. The free ones may have required an account for logging in or for the purpose of saving your work, but you did not have to pay anything.
Now let’s start looking at those apps that have a free version with limited features and paid versions for more advanced features. You may ask, “what is the best graphic design app?” Well, I can’t just give you one. I go out and look for them and bring them back here to my site to share with you. Some may be ones I personally use and some may be ones I like but only use the free version. There may also be some I don’t like. So let’s jump into the first one.
The first of the best graphic design apps is an app called Snappa. Snappa is a simple but effective graphic design tool. It has some really cool features that allow you to quickly create some awesome designs. The interface is user-friendly and does not have a long learning curve. When you arrive at the site, you will have to click on the blue “Get Started Free” button and create an account. Once inside, the magic can start to happen. Please note that this is NOT a tutorial for Snappa, but rather a quick guided tour to provide you with a broad overview in order to give you enough information to determine if this app is a good fit for you.
Once you are inside and have your account created, you will notice at the top of the screen that you have two choices, “Create A Graphic” and “Saved Graphics”. We are going to start with the “Create A Graphic” choice.
The “Create A Graphic” selection allows you to create a pre-sized graphic for many different social media posts, blogs, banners, ads, and more. These “already sized” graphics have been set to the correct image size needed for the particular social media platform. This one, simple step saves you TONS of time. If you are like me, I used to have to go and try to look up the optimal image size needed for the different platforms. Believe me, none of them are the same, and keeping track of them was just a nightmare.
Once you choose from the already sized design, you can start with a blank slate or pick a design that is already set up for you with text and graphics. The designs that are pre-made can easily be edited and customized to your needs. The choices are abundant.
Design Page and Tools
After choosing my design, I am taken to the design page that allows me to customize the design by changing images, colors, fonts, and text. The Design Page has a type of toolbar that gives you a few tools that can be used to make changes to existing elements or to add elements to your design.
By clicking on a tool, you activate that tool and its components. You can add a background or change the one you have. The Effects tool gives you the ability to adjust images or backgrounds and change the darkness, amount of blur, contrast, and a few other effects. The text tool gives you options to add or change the text in your design. The text options include font, size, color, shadow, blur, alignment, and much more. The graphics tool has options for inserting photos, illustrations, and icons that are pre-installed or that you upload yourself. Finally, the shapes tool provides a variety of shapes that can be inserted into your design and then manipulated to adjust color, size, opacity, as well as several other features.
The Design Space is the area where you see your design as you create or customize it. This area also has a toolbar with several tools that provide options for undoing, duplicating elements,
changing layers, etc.
Two important tools that are also on the Design Space area toolbar are the grid toggle and snapping tool.
The grid toggle just turns a grid overlay on and off to provide a way to align design elements on the graphic. The snapping tool auto-snaps elements in your design to the center or aligned with other elements in your design. The snapping tool defaults on.
Create From Scratch
When choosing the design size you need, you get the option to “Create From Scratch”.If this option is chosen, you are taken to the same Design Space area as when you choose an already created graphic. The tools and options are the same, you just don’t have elements already in your design to customize. Sometimes a blank canvas is less confusing and intimidating.
If you start from scratch, you will begin to add elements to create your design. If you want a background, you will click on the background tool and you will get a choice of options.
The photos option provides images that are pre-loaded or images that can be searched based on a keyword you type in. The patterns tab provides colorful background patterns that are also pre-loaded or searchable. The uploads tab can be used to upload your own images and the color tab allows you to choose a plain color background.
Once a background is chosen, the image can be repositioned on the canvas, flipped either vertically or horizontally, or removed.
Adding text to your design is very easy. Click on the text tool and you will get 3 options, You can add a heading, a subheading, or a body of text. Clicking on one of the choices drops a text box into your design and brings up all of the text tools in the toolbar. The text can be edited and customized by changing the font, size, color, and alignment.
It is rare to find a free graphic design app that has this feature and has made it so easy to use. Line height, letter spacing, and text opacity are additional options that give you the ability to create some very professional graphics. A feature for upgraded accounts is the “Add Font” option which allows a user to upload their own fonts.
Adding Graphic Images and Elements
Once you have chosen the background and added some text, you probably want to add some images, icons, or illustrations. Clicking on the graphics button brings up the graphics options. Just as with the backgrounds, you have choices of pre-loaded icons, vectors, and images, or you can search for those elements using a keyword.
The uploads tab is used to upload your own images and photos from your computer into your design. Clicking on the desired icon, vector illustration, pre-loaded image, or an image you have uploaded drops the element into your design and brings up a toolbar for making simple changes to the element.
Finally, you can add shapes to your design by clicking on the shapes button on the toolbar. There are only a few basic shapes available, but those shapes can be manipulated and customized. The options include filled and unfilled shapes.
Clicking on a shape drops that shape into the design and changes the toolbar into an options panel. The fill type and color, border type and color, and opacity can be adjusted and customized.
Saving Your Design
Saving your graphic design is usually the culminating activity in the process. There are three choices provided, and they include saving, sharing, and downloading. The Save option saves your design inside your account in the cloud. The Share option allows you to send your design to a social media platform.
The final option is the Download option and it gives you several file format options to use to obtain the type of image file you need.
The choices are perfect for print, digital, and web design. I personally love the optimized jpg format to use on web projects and the transparent background png format for both print and digital projects.
A small hidden option that is directly related to saving your design is in the upper left part of the design space area. It indicates the current dimensions of your current design. The Resize button allows you to take your current design and resize it so that it can be used in a different project with different image dimensions. You may have to adjust your design to compensate for the dimension change.
If I had one complaint, it would be that the place to name your graphic design is not close to the place where you choose your options for saving. It sits next to the area where the current image dimensions are shown.
Click the pencil icon and you can provide a file name for your design. I think I would have put it on the right near those save options. I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten to name the design before downloading it to my computer.
Back on the main Snappa screen, you have the option to pull up the images you have saved in the cloud.
Clicking on the “Saved Graphics” link will take you to the screen with all of your saved designs. Note that this does not show designs that you downloaded but did not save to the cloud.
You can click on the thumbnail of your design to reopen it to make changes. The down arrow provides choices for renaming, duplicating, or deleting the graphic from the cloud. To the left, you have options for organizing your designs in folders.
Well, that was a quick tour of the free version of Snappa. The app itself is a powerful tool, even at the free level. The upgraded option provides some features that are worth the fee. Paying the fee using the yearly option gets it over with, but starting out paying the monthly fee might give you the chance to try it out and cancel if you are not satisfied.
As you can see, the Pro version unlocks a ton more re-made templates, photos, and graphics. A big plus is the fact that the free version only allows you to download 3 designs per month. That is not much, especially if you end up using this tool on a regular basis. Notice that another great feature in the Pro package is the ability to remove the background from images you upload. I have used that tool feature more times than I can remember.
Hopefully, you have seen why I have this app on my list of the best graphic design apps. I use this app almost every day, and multiple times a day. I have not found an app that lets me quickly pull up a blank canvas set to the exact dimensions I need for the project I am working on. Get the free version, play with it for a few days, and then make your decision. You won’t regret it!
If you have used Snappa or have a comment about Snappa, leave it in the comment section. Your opinion is valued and I would love to hear from you. Check out my other reviews.