Social media: 7 of my favourite tools to create engaging designs

Here’s a series of easy apps, software and tools which I tried and that I hope will help you create all the designs you need for running your social media strategy across channels efficiently.

Since its launch in 2013, Canva has truly changed the way people design. To date, its design tool has attracted over 15M happy users across 190 countries, who have collectively created more than 1B designs. How does it work? Its integrated marketplace provides both free and paid stock photography, fonts, illustrations, and thousands of templates.

Since 2016, Adobe Spark has been an alternative, mobile-friendly solution to using its powerful editing and creation software for free and solve piracy. While Spark remains free to use, Adobe is adding a new paid feature to help SMEs create branded media content. The feature, called Branded Stories, lets users design graphics, web pages, and video stories and can set one consistent template or theme to be present across every piece of media.

Founded in 2012, PicMonkey helps people create standout visuals that make a point, express a view, and leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re making Insta posts, Facebook covers, YouTube thumbnails, web pages, holiday cards, posters or just about anything with a visual, PicMonkey can help. With thousands of graphics and templates, unlimited stock photos and cool features, users can make their creative process enjoyable, inspiring and productive.

Developed by Kaleido, an Austrian-based AI startup, remove.bg was built to make workflows simpler and faster, to foster creativity, rethink photography and design, and to enable others to build the products of the AI Century. By making complicated tech simple the experts aimed to enable everyone to benefit from the recent advances in Visual AI, from individuals to businesses of all sizes.

Headquartered in Vancouver, Lumen5 uses machine learning and AI to help create impactful, engaging videos from existing content so users can make video a regular part of their marketing strategy. The Lumen5 media library gives easy access to millions of photos, video clips, and audio files, to always have the elements needed to create the perfect video.

Multi-awarded design expert Piktochart is an easy-to-use visual communication tool that helps you tell your story whether it’s in the format of a presentation, a report, a banner, or an infographic with the visual impact it deserves. The company aims to pioneer the future of visual storytelling so that anyone can do it and is passionate in delivering stories that are more powerful, more engaging, and more enjoyable when told visually.

Born in San Francisco, Figma is the first professional-grade online tool created specifically for interface design. The design expert helps the entire product team create, test, and ship better designs, faster.

Article an era of desocialised screen junkies

An era of desocialised screen junkies

As you are stuck in your digital comfort zone (so am I), you probably won’t enjoy what follows. To be fair, I hesitated writing this article because it’d make me get on the screen again after a full week spent at working on… writing articles (this is part of what I do for a living). The reason why I write this is because I want to plug off some bad habits for good. I need screen rehab.

Yes, of course, digital devices are handy and transformed our lives in some positive ways (I’ll pass on the zillions of data privacy breaches). However, as I was delightfully remote-working on a sunny terrace this afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice the sadly laughable truth: we are so overwhelmed with screens that we can’t escape from them. They’re everywhere – even dogs have them!

Smartphones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, headphones… we’re facing a relentless shitstorm of gadgets that clearly replaced our brains and decide for us. Yes, these were invented so we create dopamine enough to never conceive leaving them too far from us.

Humans, it’s time we acknowledge it. It’s too much. It’s time we admit that we are desocialised screen junkies. We’ve enough dopamine overdose. Even Steve Jobs didn’t want his kids to get on screens!

Stats show that it sucks owning a smartphone, too. On average, Brits spend 2 hours and 34 minutes on their smartphone every day. Damn, people, do you realise how serious this is? Every day, we dedicate almost three hours of our precious time to check our notifications when we should probably use this time to do something else. Life is so short!

Although I wonder, is there any way out? How many times did I commute last month without talking to anybody? People don’t talk anymore. Well it’s not as if they were engaging in London transport either, is it? They’re busy, okay? Head down, looking at their devices. Lucky black mirrors, getting all the looks, the smiles, the attention…

If I commute twice a day five days a week, it’s a good forty trips a month with my headphones on that cut me from the outside world. Weren’t we supposedly social animals or did I miss something? Oh my, we’re actually missing out more than we think!

The global digital addiction makes me increasingly nostalgic. I was born in 1990 and I remember being super creative with simple stuff at home and outside. Today I realise more than ever that being raised in the countryside presented some benefits. Even if I couldn’t stand it for too long, it’s quiet and seems like a much healthier option than London.

In my childhood, being from the last generation born before the digital revolution, I could let my mind go. I could set up a friend meeting using a simple landline and stick to the plan. I could use the family computer for one hour every day just to save our Internet connection data. I could call instead of texting, and exchange so much more than emotionless lines. I could write letters to my friends even if I was seeing them the next day in school.

Last fifteen years though, technology made me become someone else. Like everyone, I use my smartphone for everything but the primary function of a phone: voice calls. Silly! I hear everyone say « I hate phone calls ». Duh. And texts are outdated, who uses them today? All of our interactions go through social media. Basically, we wouldn’t know how to use a classic phone anymore. What an irony!

And you’re aware of the impact of blue light on our sleep, right? The blue light emitted from our multiple screens delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock to a later schedule. The consequence is being sleep-deprived or poorly rested with a feeling of jet lag. Zombies!

Obviously, I’m not going to replay the speech about the disastrous impact of the energy being used to run our digital lives on our planet, because you know about that, right? It’s all over the news.

Considering these aspects, I do want to be better at spending time on screens. I know we can’t give up on our screens for good, they’re part of our system. But we can do better for ourselves, our health, our life, our environment.

So here’s a tip I’m willing to test.

As I need my smartphone for work, I can’t plug off during the week and need real-time checks. So starting with weekends, I’d like to build a screen routine. One half-an-hour session in the morning, same in the evening, it’s enough for what we realistically have to do on our phones. Then I can plug off for the rest of the day, relax my brain and stop wondering where is my phone when it’s actually in my hand. Ridiculous! That dopamine vicious circle. Screw being a digital junkie. Hell yes to #screenrehab.

Thanks for reading all the way.

Now I’m interested to hear from your experience, do you feel like we’re overwhelmed with screens too? Have you tried to get off your smartphone for a limited period of time? Did you feel a difference on your mood or your sleep? Share your thoughts in comments below.

Bienvenue

Audrey Langevin

_DSC8137

Photo by Square A Lot Photography

I’m Audrey, a French artist in freelance with a comprehensive in-house & agency five-year experience – and a generous dose of creativity!

My areas of expertise include:

  • Illustration & Caricatures
  • Design & Creative Content
  • Public Relations & Influencers
  • Social Media & Paid Social
  • Content & Localisation

I can support companies in:

  • Arts, Entertainment & Sports
  • Luxury Travel & Travel
  • Beauty & Lifestyle
  • Education
  • Tech

Find out more here.