Graphics are an important facet to our blogs to add that visually appealing aspect. Not to mention they can convey their own message or summarize a point you are making. There are a lot of resources for a blogger to utilize when making graphics without a lot of complications or cost. We want that visual image to capture attention. To say something about the article. To draw people in further.
These are the three online programs I use to create graphics that keeps things simple, effective and looking great. These are in the order of my general usage.
Canva: I prefer Canva for my graphic design because I can get all the font choices I desire, do frames within frames, tint effects and align everything perfectly. There is a selection of free images to use in product. Not to mention a collection of features for shapes, grids, frames, illustrations, lines and charts. It is designed to have alignment perfect for objects and text formation; it will tell you when everything is aligned in various areas. You can make objects and text variable levels of transparency. You can move objects to the background and foreground. It has various backgrounds and free designs you can begin with. It is pretty versatile when you play around with it and it will do the job well.
PicMonkey: Pic monkey has a great selection of effects that you can apply to select areas or the whole picture. It has a few free touch-up options that are generally for photo alterations and not graphics. Decent typeface options but placement is eyeballed, as it does not tell you when you are aligned. However it does allow for transparency factors to objects and text. I have always liked its selections of frames as the simple ones can make certain images pop out in different ways. You can add different texture overlays to your image. It does also have a selection of illustrations you can add to an image and even themes (themes for example you can Zombie-fy a face).
Pixlr Express: This one reminds me of an app you will have on your Smartphone. It does effects, overlays and you can do touch up adjustments (contrast, saturation and so forth). As well as stickers if that is what you are looking for. It ha a great selection of typefaces as well, but harder to get the perfect layout of it due to how it is formatted; so again no alignment feature. In a sense this one is the most basic, but it does allow for basic functionality for what you need for an essential graphic when starting out. I have also, for example, heard people use this one on their tablets and smartphones when they cannot use a computer… there is also that option (However, people have done the same with Picmonkey, so if you have no regular access to a computer then either would work.)
If you are unfamiliar with graphic design I would start simple. Start with Pixlr Express. I would start with a simple support quote over an image you can find in Pixabay. Then jump in there and see what you can create with Pixlr Express. Once you have done what you can. Jump into PicMonkey and see the difference and the nuances that are PicMonkey. See what sort of things you can create there. Finally after messing around in both of them give Canva a go. By then you can really see the nuances of all three then. One of them will likely work better for you than the others. Pick the one you are most at ease using. That gets you the results you want. Just ask is it simple to use, does it look great and is it effective. If yes you found a fit. Mind you, I vary and use the others from time to time.
For images, there are great free image sites out there to use for any creative idea you have or for just a header for your post. Here are the ones I always have bookmarked;
Pixabay: I use this image site all the time. Broad in scope and the greatest selection. It is my go-to for images. Then when I am looking for something specific, narrow and unique I follow to the others.
Morguefile: It really depends here on who is uploading but you can sometimes find something interesting if you dig. People upload their pictures for use. As long as you plan on altering them for Social media you can use them without crediting them. If you don’t alter them, then you credit the artist of course.
Mimimography: This is a specific site if you are looking for minimalist pictures of specific things. If you want a picture of a boot… it is a picture of just a boot. That sort of deal.
Gratisography: When you are looking for something weird and unique but just do not know what. Try checking here. I found some interesting ones I made some fun designs with.
Kaboompics: I tend to check here for unique landscapes and cityscapes. They have select categories and a search.
My base for free images is Pixabay. The others are areas I go if I am looking for something off the wall, of specific in the case of the minimalists, or alternative to the regular stock set in pixabay… just want a different image so will look in my other two for general image and see if I find anything I can use.With the three graphic creation sites you should be able to design any graphic you need for your blog or social media. In general you can always find something that works in the 5 image sites as well.