Companies like to save money wherever they can and, sometimes, even on the essentials. For social media managers, and just about every communicator, image manipulation and design tools are a must-have. If you don’t have Adobe Photoshop or refuse to pay out-of-pocket, here are four free online resources that can help you create engaging social images.

1. Noun Project

noun-projectThe Noun Project is an online library of vector art that allows users to download and use designs as needed. Vector art can be scaled up or down without losing resolution, which means these images can be resized and manipulated easily. The graphics on Noun Project is built by community members who upload their art to the website for users to download as long as they attribute it to the creator. There is also a broad library of creative-commons artwork that can be used without credit.

You can also sign up for a pro-membership, which enables you to use all of the website’s images without attribution. Vector art for everyone!

pixlr2. Pixlr

If you don’t have Photoshop, manipulating images can be a struggle. (Just try changing the canvas size of an image in Paint and get back to us.) Fortunately, Pixlr is an excellent Photoshop analogue that allows users to create images with layers, replace colours and manipulate design objects. This way you can build and save images in whatever resolution or format you need.

While Photoshop is superior in the number of and depth of tactics it provides for photo editors, Pixlr’s strength lives is in easily-applied filters that are similar to those found in Instagram, which you can use in your browser window.

If you can’t afford Adobe, Pixlr is your best bet for creating custom images.

bake shop3. Canva

Like Pixlr, Canva is a custom design tool, but it is even easier to use. Canva allows users to build infographics, posters, social ads or brochures using libraries of art and templates where you can import design materials like images and copy.

If you don’t know how to use Photoshop, begin your creative journey with Canva!


Not everyone attended an arts college with classes in colour theory, but even if you did, Paletton helps you choose the hues that will get you views.

Paletton produces colour palettes that are complementary, automatically selecting the right colours to match with a chosen shade. It also lets you export the colour codes (numbers that signify colours in design programs), so you can tell a designer exactly what type of blue you want on your logo. Most importantly, it is fun to use.

A great image speaks volumes for the content it promote. After you write your next Tweet, think about the image that goes along with it.

About James Rubec

James Rubec is a data geek, a former public relations lead and journalist with a love of content and advocacy. Ask him anything @JamesRRubec and be sure to follow @Cision_Canada

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