Free Design Apps You Should Have
Published on: July 10, 2021
The technology boom these days has made many aspects of our lives easier. When it comes to photos, we can get professional-looking results by just downloading a few apps. Khun Jeeranan, our wonderful graphic designer, guides us through her favourite design apps.
By Jeeranan Wongwanich
There are many free apps that can help you create a beautiful birthday card or make a collage of your kids’ pictures. But if you have never used them before or haven’t found the right one yet, let me introduce some of my favorite apps. I use them every week, if not every day! They are great apps, and they are free. There is no need to pay for a subscription or buy extra stuff unless you want to—the basic elements that these apps provide will give you plenty of options. So let me introduce each app, then you can decide which one is best for you. Or like me, just use all of them!
I mostly use Fotor to create a photo collage. Every month, I will put together 5-6 pictures of my son in a collage template, adjusting the pictures, and changing the background color. After you save it, you can edit it by adding text, stickers, and other items. I do this every month to share pictures of my son with our family. I feel like this is one of the best ways to keep my family, especially the ones who are far away, to feel connected to him. This app is super easy to use, so it won’t take long to create a beautiful collage to share.
Despite the name PicCollage, I mainly use this app to create invitations and cards—birthdays, Christmas, New Year, you name it. They have many templates that you can choose from, and they add new ones for special occasions, too. Of course, there will always be nicer and more beautiful ones that they tempt you to pay for. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy with the free selections. You can also make photo collages with text and stickers like in Fotor, but I find Fotor to be a bit easier for this.
One of the best functions of this app is called “cutout.” It means you can remove the background and keep just what you want directly from your phone. No Photoshop required! You can draw the line around the object or person with your finger, and it will just cut the background out. You can refine it further, too, if you want. I find it pretty easy to use, and it turns out great.
Canva is one of the most popular apps for graphic design right now. I do all of my design work for BAMBI using Canva, believe it or not! The free version comes with lots of templates, background photos, and other elements like stickers or GIFs. You can create many things with this app, such as Facebook posts, Instagram stories, flyers, presentations, and logos. However, it also means that there are a lot more tools, functions, and elements on the app. I would recommend Canva if you have specific ideas you want in your design that you can’t achieve with other apps. Also, it is much better to use it on a bigger screen.
Developed by Adobe, Spark Post is an easy-to-use graphic design app, mainly for social media posts. It has many templates, though a lot of them are unfortunately not free, such as pictures, backgrounds and stickers. It’s a bit more compact and simpler than Canva, especially when using it on your phone. Spark Post gives you more freedom to create when compared to Fotor and PicCollage. Unlike Canva, it can only create one page at a time. I would recommend this app if you want a single artwork while just using your phone.
Are all these apps really free?
Well, for Fotor and PicCollage, you will see ads that pop up every time you save your design. For PicCollage, its logo is added to the bottom right corner of your design. For these two apps, though, you do not need to sign up.
Canva and Spark Post require you to sign up, even for the free version. Also, keep in mind that their target users are professionals. However, they are simple enough, so you can learn how to use them quite quickly. If you want to use some of their more fancy templates or elements, that’s when you’ll need to pay for a subscription. You won’t ever see any ads in the free version. A note on Spark Post: their logo will appear on the bottom right corner of every design. However, you can simply remove it.
I hope that you find these apps as useful as I do. Since they are free, why not download them and try them all? Creating a beautiful design will be—as my son says—easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Images from iTunes App Store and Google Play.
About the Author
Jeeranan is a BAMBI Promotional Designer. She is Thai and has a 5-year-old son. She previously worked in sales and marketing before finding her passion in graphic design after taking her time to start a family. Besides volunteering for BAMBI, Jeeranan also does graphic design and product photography as a freelancer. You can see her work on Instagram – @GnanDesign.
The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects. BAMBI welcomes volunteer contributors to our magazine. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.