Adobe Social Media Tools

Get started with social media tools from Adobe .  Social media is a great way to communicate more personally with your customers, which can have a positive impact on your business. Pages you create on social media sites, such as Google+, can help you share news about an event, webinars, or contests to your community of fans. Create pages for each product you sell, and share the information that’s helpful to your customers. This blog post details how you can create pages for each of your products or services.

The 5 best free design apps to create social media graphics in 2022

A hero image with the logos of the best social media design tools

As both a photographer and writer, I’m very aware of what gets me likes. Big, bright photos, graphics, and other images just grab our attention in a way no amount of words can.4 workflows to better market your brand on social media

The good news is you don’t have to hire a designer or spend hundreds of dollars on software—there are some great free graphic design apps out there you can use to create incredible social media graphics. I’ve been writing about and using these kinds of tools for almost a decade, so I’m very familiar with what’s good. And what isn’t.

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Here are the best free apps for creating social media graphics.

The best free graphic design apps for social media

What makes a great social media graphic design app?

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who’ve spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it’s intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We’re never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

Social media posts have a very short lifecycle, so you don’t want to spend hours creating them. That’s why graphic design apps are crucial: instead of starting from scratch each time, you’ll have a range of great templates and design resources (like stock images, icons, shapes, and text styles) ready to go. Then, all you have to do is mix and match things with your own brand elements to have something unique and powerful. 

And you don’t need to pay huge prices to get incredible results. What makes graphic design apps free isn’t a lack of quality. I’ve considered more than 30 free graphic design apps and found five incredible, free resources. Granted, some of these are more limited free plans of premium products, but they’re are all up to the job of creating awesome images for your social media marketing channels. 

To evaluate each social media post maker, I spent a significant amount of time browsing hundreds of themes to get a feel for the quality of each one. I also created at least two test posts using the templates (with most of the favorites, even more). I generally focused on the overall ease of use and professional offerings of each app, but I also had some key criteria that each app needed to meet to be included on this list:

  • Is this app easy enough for anyone to use? Tools like Photoshop and Illustrator are incredible in the right hands, and unusable in the wrong ones. Social media management is rarely done by people with a design background, so any app has to cater to regular people. This isn’t to say there won’t be some learning curve, just that it doesn’t require a textbook to climb. 
  • Is this app suited well for social media marketing? Again, Photoshop and Illustrator can do incredible things, but they are complete overkill for most people trying to create images for their social media marketing channels. I wanted apps that streamlined the process of creating strong graphics, not offering every tool under the sun. 
  • Is the app experience good? A free graphic design app has the potential to be, frankly, awful to use. But even if you’re not (yet) paying for a service, you shouldn’t be hamstrung by a slow, janky, and just unpleasant experience. Especially when there are great apps out there you could be using. 
  • Are the design assets varied and professional? It’s easy to find social media templates online, but many of them are awful. You can’t slap some cheesy clipart on a graphic that represents your brand, or keep recycling the same social media post design over and over. We only included apps that had assets that would allow you to represent yourself or your company in a professional light. (To be honest, this criterion cut the most apps.)
  • Can you use the app in multiple ways? If you create one post for Twitter, it should be easy to repurpose it for Instagram, or even for a flyer. Similarly, you should be able to quickly edit and update last year’s Christmas sale post with this year’s info. Apps that made this list had to be multi-purpose, rather than force you into one way of working. 

With that said—on to the apps.

Best free social media design app for template-based design

Canva (Web, iOS, Android, macOS, Windows)

A screenshot of Canva, our pick for the best free design tool for create social media graphics from a template

Canva is a powerful, but still simple-to-use, template-based free design app. There are hundreds of thousands of templates, graphics, and photos you can use as part of the free plan (that goes up to millions of assets with a Canva Pro subscription).

When you open Canva, you’re presented with dozens of possible templates for everything from posters to Instagram Posts. It’s a lot to navigate, but there’s great search built in. Click the search bar at the top of the screen, and look for something like “birthday instagram stories” to see more specific options. (I got more than 1,000 suggested templates just for that.)

Once you’ve found a template to work from, the drag-and-drop editor makes it simple to add your own resources. Click Uploads then Upload Media in the left sidebar, add any images or brand elements, and you can drop them straight into the editor. One tip: right-click on any element and click Send Back or Send Forward if you want to move it behind things like the text (which you can double-click on to edit) or the image frame. 

Like Google Docs, Canva enables you to share and collaborate with others, so if you want a second set of eyes on your design, click the Share button in the toolbar and then add an email address. 

When you’re done, click Download to save your post for, well, posting. If you’ve accidentally included any premium assets, you’ll have the option to pay to remove their watermarks (normally at about $1 per asset). It’s handy if you only occasionally use Canva, but if this happens a lot, you should subscribe to Canva Pro for $12.95/month (or at least check out the 30-day free trial). Pro has heaps of extra designs, and some nice features, like automatic resizing, a social media scheduler, and the ability to upload your “brand kit,” so you can easily add your logo, brand colors, and font to your designs. 

If Canva does the trick for you, you can probably stop here—it’s an all-around winner. But if you’re looking for Canva alternatives, keep reading.

Canva Price: Free for 250,000+ templates and 5GB cloud storage; from $12.95/month for Canva Pro, which offers 100GB storage, millions of assets, and more.

Best free social media design app for scaling a side hustle

Adobe Creative Cloud Express (formerly Adobe Spark) (Web, iOS, Android)

A screenshot of Adobe Creative Cloud Express, our pick for the best free social media design tool for scaling a side hustle

Adobe is the biggest name in graphic design, so it’s no surprise they have an app designed for making social media and web graphics. Adobe Creative Cloud Express (which was on this list last year as Adobe Spark; it’s since been rebranded and updated) isn’t as well known as Photoshop or Illustrator, but it’s better for most people who are looking to create graphics to share on social media. And it’s free to get started. 

Template-wise, CC Express still falls behind Canva. It has less to choose from, and the search isn’t as good. Don’t get me wrong: there are still thousands of awesome free templates, but you’re less likely to find that perfect template and more likely to have to spend a few minutes tweaking one that’s close, but not quite there. 

One of CC Express’s best features is Quick Actions. On the home screen, you can select things like Resize ImageTrim Video, or Remove Background to quickly make those changes to your photo or video—powered by Adobe’s Photoshop and Premiere apps operating in the cloud, apparently. It’s a really intuitive way to have access to what can be quite advanced tools in other apps. 

As an editor, CC Express has some pretty advanced features, but it keeps them out of the way. Almost anyone should be able to create a great-looking social media graphic with it, but if you want to drill in deeper and customize things more, there are advanced layer options, blend modes, color toning, and other features pulled from Adobe’s better-known apps. You can generally access them by selecting any design element and checking out the right sidebar. It really hits that nice middle-ground: quick and easy to use for 90% of jobs, but with the more powerful features available for when you want them. 

CC Express is an excellent standalone app for designing social media graphics, but it’s hard to overlook its integration with the rest of Adobe’s Creative Suite. If you plan to scale your business to the point where you need to use (and pay for) Adobe’s more powerful tools, Creative Cloud Express is the way to go. You can create libraries (in the Libraries tab of the sidebar) that are available across all your Adobe apps and pull in photos from Lightroom or brand elements from Illustrator. Adobe Stock images and graphics are also available throughout the app. 

Adobe Creative Cloud Express Price: Free for basic features and 2GB of cloud storage; from $9.99/mo for premium features, such as logo upload and placement, branded templates and tools, and 100GB of cloud storage.

Best free social media design app for quickly making images to share on social media

Pablo by Buffer (Web)

A screenshot of Pablo by Buffer, our pick for the best free social media design tool for quickly making images to share on social media

Pablo is a minimalist tool for placing text over the top of images, from the team behind the social media scheduling app Buffer. It couldn’t be simpler to use or in its design. For me, that’s a feature—but if you need something with more options, check out one of the other great apps on this list. 

Seriously, Pablo is a barebones post maker app. Open the website, and you’re straight into the app. There’s no need to create an account—because there are no accounts. In the center of the screen, there’s a preview of your image. On the left, you can search for an image through Unsplash or click Upload Image to add your own. At the top of the screen, click Templates to choose from one of the six defaults. On the right, you can choose the size and shape of the canvas, add a filter, position the text, and insert your logo or another graphic. Click on the text to change its formatting, double-click on it to edit it directly. Oh, and click Reposition to change the position and crop of the background image. That’s literally it. 

Once you’re happy with your post pic (and it won’t take long for you to be), click Share & Download to save your image or post it directly to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram (or queue it up with Buffer). If you do queue it up with Buffer, you can also connect it to any of the other apps you use with Zapier

For all the lack of options, Pablo is still on this list. It makes it beyond simple to create basic-but-good-looking social media images, and by stripping most features, it makes it impossible to create ugly ones. 

Pablo Price: Free

Best free social media design app for making your own designs

Desygner (Web, iOS, Android)

A screenshot of Desygner, our pick for the best free social media design tool for making your own designs

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Desygner has some of the most advanced features of any of the apps we tested—while still being simple to use. If you don’t want to go the template route (although it does have thousands of great templates to work from), additional features like a free-drawing pen tool and the ability to import from PDF, PSD, and SVG files give you a lot more creative freedom.

One of Desygner’s best features is that you can upload and save your brand assets for use in every design, even on the free plan. When you log in, click Assets in the top bar. You can then create a color palette (I like lots of pink), upload images, create custom text snippets, and more. 

Then, when you’re working on your design, you can access them at any time. For example, if you select Image > My Assets from the sidebar, all the images you’ve uploaded are available to drop into the design. It’s the same for logos, text, and other elements. Similarly, when you select the color of anything, you have the option to choose from your brand color palette. 

If you create a lot of different designs every week, having everything ready to go in Desygner can really save you a lot of time. It means you can grab a template, and within seconds, have all the colors and graphics ready for your needs. Then, it’s just a matter of posting it.

Desygner Price: Free; from $9.95/month for more templates and assets, as well as features like saving your own designs as templates.

Best free social media design app for creating occasional images

Snappa (Web)

A screenshot of Snappa, our pick for the best free social media design tool for creating occasional images

Of all the apps on this list, Snappa is the only one whose free plan has access to the exact same templates, graphics, images, and other design resources as the paid plan. The catch is that, instead of having to carefully check what template you’re using, you can only download three designs a month. 

If you only occasionally need to create images for your social media channels—or just want to create a one-off banner for your Twitter account or Facebook page—it’s really nice to not constantly be running into upgrade notifications or selecting themes only to be told they’re only available on the Pro plan. As good as Canva and Desygner are, the free plans do make you very aware that there’s a paid plan they’d love you to be on. Snappa is a lot less pushy—but no less useful.

The other mild difference with Snappa is that its templates—while excellent—aren’t as thoroughly themed as some of the other options, nor is there an easy way to search through them. You need to look at the defaults as a base you can customize and build from, rather than something ready-built where you’re simply adding a photo and changing the words.

If you want to make a birthday post, for example, you should look at the templates and pick one that has a layout you like. Then, open it and add your own picture with the Bkgrnd tool in the sidebar—either by uploading one or finding one of the included royalty-free stock images that works for you. You can customize it further by clicking on Effects and adding a color overlay, blur, or other adjustment—most of which serve to make any text on top of the image more legible. 

Of course, you then need to add balloons. Because every birthday post has balloons. To do that, click the Graphics tool and then Icons. Use the search to find a balloon you like, and click to add it. To make sure everything lines up nicely, you can click the Toggle Grid option in the top toolbar and use it to position things perfectly. 

When you’re happy with how things look, click Download to save your image or Share to push it directly to your social media accounts—so long as you haven’t maxed out your free posts. If you have, you’ll need to upgrade or save it to keep the file until the monthly limit resets.

Snappa Price: Free for 3 downloads or shares per month; from $15/month for Snappa Pro with unlimited downloads, shares, and integration with Buffer and your social media accounts.


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