09Apr

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I used to be a graphic designer. Long before I was a nutritional therapist or a copywriter, I went to school for advertising design, and graduated with a BFA from Syracuse University.

Once I got out into the real world, I realized I like the writing side of things (and eventually the health coaching side of things) better, leaving design and ancient programs like QuarkXpress far behind me.

All of this to say, you don’t need to be a design expert to make professional-looking graphics for your health coaching business. And in today’s post, I’ll be sharing online design tools you can use to create graphics for your blog, your social media posts and stories, your marketing materials, and even your logo.

I don’t think I need to tell you the importance of having graphics, but in case I do, here are a few reasons:

  • When information is paired with an image, 65% of that info is typically retained three days later, compared to 10% when it’s just words.
  • Facebook posts with images get 3 times more engagement than ones without them.
  • Tweets with images are retweeted 150% more.
  • And like we mentioned in our post last week, blog articles with images get 94% more views.

If that’s enough proof for you, we’ll move on to the list.

Canva

Thanks to its simple drag-and-drop features and more than a million photos, graphics and fonts, even health coaches who don’t have design skills can easily make professional-level graphics.

Pros: There are tons of pre-designed text layouts to make your image stand out, as well as photo editing tools if you need to crop, rotate, or enhance your uploads.

Cons: Some images cost $1 per use and you can’t filter your search by free options. Canva doesn’t let you do animations and it doesn’t have the ability to embed videos, at least not right now. There’s also a bit of a learning curve compared to some of the other graphic design tools.

Key features:

  • 8,000 free templates
  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • 1GB storage for photos and designs
  • The option to upload and edit your own images
  • Helpful design grids
  • Lots of free elements, plus millions more for $1 each

Cost: Free, except for those $1 per use design elements. The upgraded version, Canva for Work, is $12.95/month ($9.95/month annually).

Stencil

Their website calls it “ridiculously simple image creation for social media marketers, bloggers, and small businesses.” And it really is. Plus, they’re always finding ways to make it better, like adding thousands of new images every week.

Pros: In addition to templates and photos, Stencil also has ready-to-use quotes, thousands of icons, and the ability to upload your own design elements—including your own fonts. If you have an account with Buffer, you can also schedule your images automatically.

Cons: With the free plan, you only get access to 10 images per month, but if you share Stencil on social media, they’ll give you 3 free ones. Of course, you can always upgrade your plan for more options.

Key features:

  • More than 2 million background photos
  • 760+ templates
  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • 34+ pre-loaded sizes for social posts, ads, and blog posts
  • Undo/redo options for easy editing
  • Ability to preview your post before it goes live

Cost: It’s free as long as you won’t need more than 10 images a month. If you do, upgrade to Pro for $15/month ($9/month annually), or get the Unlimited Plan for $20/month (12/month annually).

Snappa

On the surface, Snappa isn’t the fanciest-looking graphic design tool. But once you get past the home page, you’ll find sophisticated features that make it even easier and faster to create graphics for your health coaching business.

Pros: Snappa has one-click functionality (versus drag-and-drop), meaning you just click on an image, background, or text block and it appears on your design. If you have a Buffer account, Snappa also lets you schedule when your designs get shared.

Cons: There are literally 60 photos and a handful of backgrounds you can choose from on the free plan. The rest are locked until you upgrade. And while you can customize text, there are no pre-designed options.

Key features:

  • One-click functionality
  • More than 5,000 templates
  • Very limited photos and graphics
  • Only 5 downloads per month
  • Integration with Buffer
  • You can upload your own photos and images

Cost: The starter plan is free, but as you can tell, it’s really limited. For more options, upgrade to the Pro plan for $15/month ($10/month annually), or if you have multiple people making graphics, get the Team plan for $30/month ($20/month annually).

Over

This might just be the coolest design app I’ve seen. Over is on a mission to help people build their business, grow their brand and stand out in the crowd with videos, graphics, and font collections that are updated daily, plus super easy-to-use tools. Head over to their Instagram page to get inspired.

Pros: When you first log in, Over serves up articles you might find helpful, specific to what you’ll be using the app for (like growing your health coaching business). There’s also an upgrade called Over for Teams that lets you collaborate on projects and get instant feedback.

Cons: It’s an app, so it’s only for phones and tablets. And there’s no free option. You can get a free 7-day trial if you commit to a full year, but after that it’s a whopping $99.99 annually. That may seem like a lot, but remember, it’s one of the things you can write off on your taxes.

Key features:

  • Easy-to-use slider tools
  • A huge library of curated, pro-level templates and layouts
  • Ability to upload your own logos, fonts, and images
  • Full access to stock photos on Unsplash, Pixabay, and Google Images
  • Advanced tools for blending, layering, and masking
  • New design elements added every day

Cost: Get Over for about $15/month or $99.99 annually.

GIMP

If you really are a graphic design pro, or if you want the kind of features you’d get with Photoshop but without the price, give GIMP a try. This free cross-platform image editor lets you fine tune photos and images, play around with layers and gradients, and tons more.

Pros: The biggest benefit is that GIMP is free. Even the updates are free.

Cons: This is the real deal, so you won’t find templates, pre-sized social media posts, or pre-designed text boxes here.

Key features:

  • Customizable interface
  • Professional-grade photo editing tools
  • Advanced options like filters and customizable brushes
  • Allows for multiple layers of text and textures
  • Supports a variety of file formats
  • Plug-ins are available for even more features

Cost: 100% free.

In Summary

With these tools, even non-designers (and former designers) can make professional-looking graphics, whether you’re posting about your smoothie bowl or promoting your next online challenge. Most of the ones on our list have a free plan, so play around and see which ones you like best.

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