Looking for the best Canva alternatives?
Trying to find easy design tools?
Let’s face it, we can’t all be graphic designers. But to create winning social media graphics, we need to look like professional designers.
These tools will help!
We’ll compare several popular graphic design tools, so you can find the best alternative for you.
You can do free graphic design online! Most of these tools offer a free trial and/or a free-forever version.
Pay a little more (currently from $8-39 paid monthly) and you’ll get some really great added features. I’ve been allowed to test some for free to bring you this in-depth report!
Disclosure: I’m an affiliate for some of these products, which means I may get a commission if you purchase. You won’t pay a cent more!
Table of Contents
I’ve grouped these graphics creators by easiest, easy, and a quick overview of the pro tools.
Topics we’ll cover (click links to jump to that point in article):
Why are images critical in your marketing? (just below)
EASIEST Graphic Design Tools Click to jump to this section
EASY Graphic Design Tools Click to jump to this section
Pro Level Design Tools Click to jump to this section
Plus a wrap-up at the end.
Why are Images Critical for Marketing?
Humans are visual creatures! You need images to:
- Draw attention to your business.
- Stop the scroll on social media.
- Give people something to share from your blog.
- Create a positive feeling about your business.
Visuals are memorable and effective, because they help people process, understand, and retain more information more quickly.
Here are a few stats:
- The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than any other information.
- 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.
- 40% of people respond better to visual information than text.
- When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later, but if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (source)
- Blog articles with images get 94% more views. (source)
- Tweets with images receive 18% more click throughs, 89% more likes, and 150% more retweets.
Convinced yet? Get ready to try some design apps!
What’s the EASIEST Graphic Design App?
I’ve tried a lot, and these 5 are all super-easy Canva alternatives. One of these may be the best option for harried small business owners.
The benefits to these easy design tools are:
- They’re as fast as it gets.
- No learning curve or tutorials needed.
- Design templates by pros – no design experience needed.
- Stock images with CC0 rights included at no extra charge.
- Resize your graphics for multiple platforms with a few clicks.
- Save your design to rework later.
- Organize your designs into collections / folders / circles.
- Fonts included.
- Upload your own logo and fonts.
- Dozens of social media sizes, ready to use.
Note: Some features may only be part of the paid plans.
Stencil Online Design Tool
The fastest way to double your social engagement is with this ridiculously simple image creation for social media marketers, bloggers and small businesses. Use it on your web browser.
Unique features of Stencil:
- Built-in quotes library. Search 100,000+ quotes right in Stencil to make inspiring quote images in seconds.
- Browser extensions to create images on the fly (Chrome and Firefox).
Watch this video for an overview, or read the details below.
More Stencil features:
- 4,400,000+ background photos, hundreds added weekly. Or upload your own.
- 1,125+ design templates, ready for you to edit.
- Upload and store every logo you need to create visuals for different brands.
- 3,150+ Google web fonts let you find the perfect font for your image.
- Or, match your brand perfectly by uploading your own fonts directly to Stencil
- Font styling includes shadow, outline, background color, and clone (duplicate).
- Vector icons are right at your fingertips, royalty-free and safe to use however you want.
- 75+ pre-loaded sizes for social networks, ads, blog posts and more. Or create your own!
- Magic resize to optimize for different platforms.
- Undo / redo and history, so you can change your mind as you design.
- Live preview before you post to your social networks – or schedule via Buffer.
The free version of Stencil includes 10 image downloads per month, limited backgrounds and icons.
Upgrade to Pro and create 50 images for $12 per month paid annually, or $20 billed monthly. Or pay a little more and upgrade to Unlimited!
With either paid plan, you can save your designs in Collections.
Want to know more? Learn about Stencil vs Canva.
Snappa Online Design Tool
Another easy browser-based tool, Snappa saves you time every step of the way.
Unique features of Snappa:
- Infographics templates.
- One-click background remover.
Watch this video for an overview, or read the details below.
- Create highly engaging images in minutes with drag-and-drop.
- 4,000,000+ photos and graphics – royalty-free and licensed for commercial use.
- Or upload your own photos into Snappa, and they’re available for you to use.
- In addition to the 200+ fonts pre-loaded in Snappa, you can import your own custom fonts to keep your branding intact.
- Choose from hundreds of pre-made templates, available in multiple sizes and suitable for a wide range of niches.
- Image dimensions for social media, display ads, blogs, emails, and infographics are available as clickable presets.
- In two clicks, you can magically resize your graphics into any other size. Turn your Twitter header into a Facebook cover, your Instagram post into a Pinterest Pin, or a Facebook ad into a billboard ad.
- Brand your images by uploading your own company logos and graphics.
- Save all your custom designs and organize them into folders. Edit a previous design in seconds.
- If you get stuck, you have unlimited access to video tutorials, help docs, answers to FAQs, and in-house email support.
- Snappa makes it easy to collaborate with your team. Share designs, folders, fonts, and other brand assets with ease. (Team plan only).
- Share your graphics to the popular social media platforms without leaving Snappa – or connect your Buffer account to schedule your posts.
- Play with photo effects until your graphic is perfect – no design experience required. Effects include color overlay, darken, blur, saturation, hue, brightness, and contrast.
New and cool! Remove image backgrounds with a click.
A free Snappa account includes 5 downloads per month so you can try it out.
Pro gives you unlimited downloads, templates, and social accounts for $10/month billed annually, or $15 monthly. Includes saved designs and folders. Plus there’s a Team account for up to 5 people at twice the Pro price.
Stencil vs. Snappa Easy Design Tools
Both are browser-based tools, and offer a free-forever version.
They’re quite similar in the way they work. Which to choose?
Well, you can try both for free, and decide from there. But here’s a rundown of the main differences I see:
Love quote images? Stencil has a searchable database of over 100,000 quotes. Learn more about using Stencil for quote images.
Want to make infographics? Snappa has several options. Stencil has none.
Highlight text on any web page and it instantly appears in Stencil with the Chrome or Firefox extension.
Want to organize your designs into folders? Both now offer this feature! They’re called “Collections” in Stencil (and GoDaddy Studio has “Circles”).
Adobe Creative Cloud Express
Adobe CC Express (formerly Adobe Spark) differs from the other apps in this section in several ways.
Unique features of Adobe Express:
- It includes BOTH an online and a mobile app.
- Edits video clips’ size, shape, and length, plus converts to GIF.
- The Premium version comes FREE with an Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps subscription.
A lot of CC subscribers are unaware of this, so if that’s you, check it out and see if it’s what you’re looking for.
If you’re not a CC subscriber and decide to buy Express, you can buy it as a standalone product for $9.99 a month.
This fee also includes Premiere Rush, Photoshop Express, Adobe Spark Video, and Adobe Spark Page.
Why choose Adobe CC Express?
Get started in seconds
Create attention-grabbing graphics, videos and social posts, at any skill level, with intelligent design guidance from Adobe.
Stand out from the crowd
Remix thousands of images, templates, animation effects and stickers, and personalize them with your brand’s assets in one tap.
Share anytime, anywhere
Work across web, iOS, and Android, and instantly share to social media, your website or blog, via text, email, or print.
Adobe Express + Spark Video is how I create my videos.
Typically I’ll create the images in Express because it gives me a lot more options. Then I can quickly compile them into a video with Spark Video.
You can use Express for free, but the Premium version includes:
- Choose from the trendiest premium templates – over 31,000!
- Access millions of free images, icons and GIFs.
- Get the complete library of beautiful Adobe Fonts. Not the same old free Google fonts!
- Remove the Adobe Creative Cloud Express watermark – forever
- Personalize! Apply your logo, colors, and fonts in one magical tap.
- Brandify! Create from branded templates and themes.
- Teamwork makes the dream work – invite others to collaborate.
- Easily switch between brands while editing projects to boost your productivity.
Seriously, the variety of templates will blow your mind. A small sampling is shown below.
Wepik Online Editor
Here’s Wepik, a very intuitive photo editor that allows you to customize and edit your photos for free. Wepik also has hundreds of simple-to-edit templates for social media posts and numerous types of business documents.
Unique features of Wepik:
- Templates for logos, flyers, business cards, and more documents.
- AI image generator based on prompts provides four unique images each time.
Check out this video for a general introduction, or read for additional info.
More Wepik features:
- Templates that are ready-to-edit and user-friendly.
- Exclusive tools for your business under the Brand Kit.
- Flaticon and Freepik resource libraries embedded in the editor.
- Easy background remover for pictures.
- +100 formats to customize and chose from.
- Connect your Social Media and share content directly.
- Start from scratch to build up your own designs.
- Plenty of fonts, vectors, shapes and forms to choose from.
- Color Variant feature changes your color palette with one button.
Wepik is Free for all users — simply sign up to enjoy all its features, and keep your creations under the “My Projects” section.
GoDaddy Studio Mobile App (formerly Over)
But you only want to create on mobile?
There’s certainly no lack of graphics apps for that. It’s hard to even know where to start!
I’ve tried a lot of them, and have found them to be pretty limited. Many only create square images, which isn’t going to help you if you need a cover photo or blog post image.
But Studio includes plenty of preset sizes for most all your graphics needs.
Unique feature of Studio app: Create a social site for your “link in bio.” Find mine here (just a quickie test).
Designed with mobile creatives in mind, GoDaddy Studio features standard and custom-made fonts and well-crafted artwork overlays, combined with a sleek design, easy-to-use functionality, and immediate sharing ability.
This app lets you type in any text you like, and change the font style, size, alignment, and more. It even lets you change the color with a clever color picker to match text to an existing color in the image, or specify your brand color by hex number.
You can rotate the text, and nudge it until you get your text exactly where you want it.
Studio isolates each design element on separate layers, giving you complete design control.
There are design templates in the Pro version – several new ones daily. See one you like?
- Open it and work on it so it saves to your Projects. Edit it again later!
- Tap the + sign and save the template to your personal Circle. Access and edit it any time.
- NEW! Search for a template by keyword (at the top of the templates feed).
Easily import the photos from your camera roll, or search Unsplash or Pixabay right in the app.
There are some filters and photo editing options, as well as some very creative Photoshop-worthy blending modes.
Or just tweak one of their templates and post!
Free to download, with a number of paid upgrades. For full functionality, you’ll want the Pro subscription at $14.99 monthly or 99.99 per year (in the US) on iOS. Be aware that this is an auto-renewing subscription.
For the more limited Android app, the cost is $29.99 US.
If you only want to design on mobile, this may be all you need.
Download the GoDaddy Studio mobile app for iOS here.
Download the GoDaddy Studio mobile app for Android here.
And if you want more mobile app only choices, check out these apps to add text to photos.
EASY Design Tools Provide More Options
The tools in this section have a lot more features and options than the ones above, but they’re still fairly easy to use.
They also have big differences between them. Once you know what those are, it should be easy to pick the one that will work best for you.
Here, we’ll talk about Canva itself, plus two distinct alternatives.
Each of these easy tools includes:
- Design templates by pros – no design experience needed.
- Save your design to rework later.
- Fonts included.
- Upload your own logo.
Note: Some features may only be part of the paid plans.
Canva Graphic Design Tool
No roundup of design tools would be complete without mentioning Canva. It’s seemed to dominate the market by having a pretty generous always-free version. Be aware though, many photos, templates, and design elements are only available for the Pro plan.
Many people just love Canva. If you’ve tried it and don’t, no worries. There are many other options for you!
This video will give you a quick overview of Canva basics.
There’s also Canva for iPad and iPhone!
Unique features of Canva:
- Design almost anything, including multi-page documents to export as PDF.
- Huge variety of infographics templates.
- Save your designs to edit later or reuse as templates.
Its photo editing options are very limited (you’ll want PicMonkey for that), but are probably all most people will need. They include 19 filters, brightness, contrast, saturation, crop, and flip.
There are also some new effects like Duotone and Color Mix that are fun but of limited usefulness.
FREE Canva includes:
- 250,000+ free templates
- 100+ design types (social media posts, presentations, letters, and more)
- Hundreds of thousands of free photos and graphics
- Invite members to your team who will get the same free plan benefits
- Collaborate and comment in real-time with your team members
- 5GB of cloud storage
There’s an upgraded version called Canva Pro that includes everything Free Canva has, plus:
- 100+ million premium stock photos, videos, audio, and graphics
- 610,000+ premium and free templates with new designs daily
- Create up to 100 brand kits for your business, for clients, or even for hobby projects
- Remove image backgrounds instantly with Background Remover
- Resize designs infinitely with Magic Resize to easily transform your designs or make multiple versions in different dimensions (really great for social media)
- Add up to 5 users within the single monthly price
- Save designs as templates for your team to use with shared team folders
- 100GB of cloud storage
- Schedule social media content to 8 platforms with the built-in social media scheduler
Learn more about how to use Canva.
Canva Pro is 9.95/month paid annually, or 12.95/month (per user).
PicMonkey Online Photo Editor
PicMonkey is hands-down the best and easiest online photo editor.
But don’t leave just yet if you’re only looking for a design tool. PicMonkey has some pretty fun features there, too. Including some new ones you may not be aware of!
For instance – 1,000s of design templates! And a storage feature called Hub.
PicMonkey recently added millions of stock photos from Unsplash + iStock by Getty, so it’s not just for editing your own images any more.
More recent additions:
- New stock video library
- New 1-click background remover
- A new, smarter resize feature
- New Brand Kits to keep your brand looking consistent and professional
- Mobile app
Can I use PicMonkey for free?
The PicMonkey mobile app offers a completely free way to edit photos and create designs on the go. It’s available for Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as iPad.
As far as the desktop app, new users may try out all features, but you’ll need to start a 7-day free trial to save your designs to Hub, create custom effects, and share and export your work.
After your trial, you have a choice of the two reasonably-priced plans.
A Basic membership gives you storage for 1GB of your designs, so you can edit and reuse them. Access them both on your computer and on your iPhone.
Here’s what you get in Basic:
- Hub storage for 1GB of your graphics
- Download images you have created in JPEG or PNG
- Add and trim videos
- Primo effects, overlays, fonts
That’s only $7.99 monthly, or pay $72 for a whole year (which works out to $6 per month).
Upgrade to Pro at $12.99 monthly or $120 for the year, and get all of the features included in Basic plus:
- Unlimited Hub storage
- Added options to download as a PDF
- Smart resize
- One Brand Kit
- 1-click background remover
- Animate one or all elements of a design
- Premium stock photo library
- Upload your own fonts
There’s also a Business tier that adds things like real-time co-editing and in-editor feedback for people with teams.
Learn more about how to use PicMonkey.
PromoRepublic Social Media Content Builder & Scheduler
Have you heard of PromoRepublic? It’s rather unique.
It’s all about a holistic social media plan, one part of which is making graphics.
You can create stunning posts in seconds with 100,000+ designer templates, ideas and visuals.
When you make those graphics and schedule them to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, you’ll see them laid out in a calendar format. Now you can see where you might have some gaps to fill in!
Not only do you create graphics in PromoRepublic, you also get hundreds of pre-made post ideas, in various categories like engaging, educational, and promotional.
It’s similar to the concept behind Your Social Plan. PromoRepublic might be a good option if you’re on a tight budget.
This video will give you an overview:
How it works:
- Find customizable professional templates that fit your needs.
- Publish with one click, or schedule to be published on 4 social networks.
- Keep scheduling visual in a week or month scale in one interface.
- Schedule with time slots suggested by AI for different types of content.
- Recycle successful posts within a year, just preset the repeating period.
- Sell more through engagement with your existing audience, and new customers.
It’s very business-minded. You’ll be served up ideas pertinent to the industries you set up in your profile. Plus all the social media holidays content, and ability to search for any ideas you want.
Your work is saved after you schedule or post it, so you can easily edit it to crank out more content! You can literally make a month’s worth of content in a couple hours.
You can try it for free with no credit card required. After the trial, the cost is $9/month (paid annually) for a basic version that doesn’t include scheduling posts.
There’s also a Small Business plan that offers a lot of features! It’s $59 paid monthly, or $49/month when paid a year in advance.
- 1 user
- 10 social profiles.
- Automated posting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest.
- Posting to Instagram including Carousel posts and First Comment options
- Link shortener
- Social media statistics
- Graphics editor and brand kit
If you need more social profiles, and team members, there’s an Agency plan at $99 per month or $79/month if you pay annually. You’ll also get features such as content approval workflows and greater analytics. This package is great for social media managers.
PromoRepublic includes hundreds of templates and ideas in 10 sizes of graphics, which are optimized for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram posts and Stories.
Resizing your graphics for different uses? Horizontal to square works well, but you may need to tweak your design if you convert to a vertical Pin or Story.
If you love the idea of a push-button content plan, give this one a try!
Pro Level Design Tools
I’m just going to give these a brief mention.
If you want full photo editing functionality and don’t need pre-designed templates, these are your top options.
Pixlr is a robust browser photo editor, for all your editing needs. With Pixlr Editor you have full control over your images, including layers and effects.
It’s browser based and works similarly to Photoshop – with limited features. And, it’s free! You’ll find it here.
GIMP: GNU Image Manipulation Program
GIMP is a cross-platform image editor available for GNU/Linux, OS X, Windows and more operating systems.
Also similar to Photoshop, this one you download and run on your computer. It’s available to download here.
If you’re ready for the real deal, Photoshop is it.
You get Photoshop plus Lightroom and Lightroom Classic for $19.99/month with 1TB of cloud storage. You also get Photoshop Express to make quick edits on-the-go.
Want Adobe Illustrator to create vector graphics, and/or Adobe InDesign for page design and layout? Get one for $20.99/month, or the complete collection of creative apps for $54.99/mo.
Photoshop will force you to use your creativity. It does not include a library of templates like you get with the 6 tools mentioned in the Easiest and Easy sections. You’re on your own to whip something up.
These Adobe tools do include the full library of Adobe Fonts – 1,000’s of fonts! No more same-old same-old free Google fonts.
By the way, Photoshop and InDesign are my fave design tools – but when I want some quick inspiration, I grab one of the easy-peasys 😉
Canva Alternatives Wrap-Up
There are hundreds of graphic design tools, apps, and software available now. Many are free! But their functionality is limited.
I’ve given you an overview here of 7 easy design tools (click to try):
Adobe CC Express online design and video tool (with mobile app)
I find these to be not only easy, but provide the best features for the money.
Which one or ones sound like a fit for you? Try a couple! All are free to try.
Consider upgrading your favorite, though. What’s your time worth? I find the time-saving features of the upgraded versions to be worth a few dollars a month!
I’d love to hear what you’ll choose after learning about these Canva alternatives – easy design tools for non-designers.