Before we discuss how to create professional graphics for your social media pages we should first have a look at what you’re up against. As of January 2021 Facebook had over 1.6 billion users, Twitter over 300 million, Instagram about 1 billion, Pinterest around 450 million – that’s a lot of competition!
To give your posts a better chance of being seen in a vast sea of digital information you’ll want to make your graphics as professional and eye catching as possible.
To make things fun we’re going to rank 10 graphic design applications from hardest to use to easiest and most convenient.
Another thing we need to understand before getting started is the difference between raster and vector graphic editors. The main difference between vector and raster graphics is that raster graphics are composed of pixels, while vector graphics are composed of paths. Vector graphics can be resized without losing image quality. Popular raster image formats are JPG, GIF and PNG. Popular vector image formats are SVG and EPS.
Alright, now that we have that out the way here are 10 ways to create professional graphics for your social media pages.
QuarkXPress is a powerful desktop and digital publishing application. It is mainly used for laying out the design of multi-page documents like magazines or newspapers but it does have some impressive graphic design capabilities. QuarkXPress is used by designers at IBM, HSBC, Emirates and thousands of other companies. QuarkXPress is one of the most expensive graphic design programs at a cost about $565 for a 1 year license.
CorelDraw is a powerful vector graphics editor. Vectors graphics are mathematically designed images meaning they can be designed once and then scaled to any size without losing quality. So the same image will look great on a mobile phone and also on a billboard. The most popular vector graphics format is SVG. CorelDraw is available on windows and costs around $380 for a 1 year license.
Adobe InDesign is the industry leading layout design and desktop publishing software. Its ease of use and clean interface make it extremely popular with illustrators and graphic design professionals all over the world. InDesign is often used to create posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, presentations, books and ebooks. Adobe InDesign is available on windows and Mac and costs around $275 for a 1 year license.
GIMP is a free raster graphics editor which is available on Linux, Mac and Windows. Its user interface can be a bit confusing and it takes some getting used to but there are people who can create beautiful graphics with this software.
Inkscape is free vector graphics software which is available on Linux, Mac and Windows. Its interface is not as good as Adobe Illustrator and it can be a bit confusing. However, there are people who can create some excellent professional graphics with Inkscape.
Affinity Designer is a vector graphics editor which is available on Mac, Windows and iPad. It supports all the major image and vector file types including PDF/X4, EPS, SVG and PSD. At only 6 years old it is one of the newer graphic design programs on the market. Affinity Designer costs $24.99 for a lifetime license.
Adobe Illustrator is the industry leading vector graphics software which is used by millions of designers and artists to create web and mobile graphics, logos, icons, book illustrations, product packaging and billboards. Adobe Illustrator is available on Windows and Mac and costs around $239 for a 1 year license.
Adobe Photoshop is the undisputed king of graphic design software. This powerful and flexible software is used for the design of everything from magazine covers, billboards, website and social media graphics, logos, icons and everything in between. Photoshop is available on windows and Mac and costs around $239 for a 1 year license.
PicMonkey is a web based graphic design service so does not have to be installed on your computer. This software comes with over 9000 graphics and textures, hundreds of fonts, graphic design templates, stock photos and videos. All these resources will help you to create brilliant social media graphics in no time. The basic version of PicMonkey costs $72 for a 1 year license.
Canva is a web based graphic design software which is used to create social media graphics, banners, presentations, posters and documents. Canva is free to use and offers 2 paid subscriptions – Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise which contains additional features. Canva was developed by an Australian company in 2012. Canva Pro costs $119.99 for a 1 year license.