12 Free Resources for Creating Visual Content for Yourself and for Clients
Today I wanted to talk to you a little about visual resources and adding visuals to your content, your blog posts, and anything else that you might be creating for your website or for your client’s websites.
No matter what industry you’re working in right now, or what industry your clients are working in, everyone seems to be talking about visuals — adding visuals to blog posts, using visuals in reports and presentations, on slides -visual this and images that all over the place. So today I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you 12 free resources for adding visuals to your content, or of course for helping your clients to incorporate more visuals into their content.
Free Resources for Creating Visual Content
The first one is Jing. This is a Techsmith product, so it’s similar to what you might get with SnagIt or Camtasia, but this is a free version of those tools. This is a good way to share your screen and create instant short videos to share with other people or to better explain a process that you’re working on.
If you wanted to send someone a quick, short three-minute video on how to add something to their website or how to change something, you could do that with Jing. You might also use it to create what I sometimes call “enhanced screenshots” where you need to add a bit more to the screenshot, like an arrow pointing to something or a box around a particular portion of the screen.
Our second resource is Greenshot, and you can find this at GetGreenshot.org. This free tool is very similar to the Jing tool that we just talked about in that you use it to take screenshots of what’s on your screen and then you can edit, make annotations, add highlights or arrows to help show an example. These are good to use in presentations or in blog posts, just to show what you’re talking about when you’re not about to include a video or other type of visual.
Since we’re starting off with screenshots and screen captures, I definitely want to recommend Loom. This is going to capture video of your screen. It’s great for things like short tutorials. You can record your screen, your camera, or both with picture-in-picture. The free version allows for videos up to five minutes long, but you can get a lot done in five minutes!
Next up on our list is Pixlr.com. This is actually a photo editing graphics type of software. It’s web-based and it’s free, you can edit your photos without having to go into an entire Photoshop class and learn how to change the lighting and things like that. It’s quick, it’s easy. It’s a handy tool to have if you need to clean up a few photos from an event or something like that.
There is also a mobile app from Pixlr that you can use on your phone to quickly edit your phone photos on the fly, again that’s helpful if you’re at an event or if you’re taking pictures for your blog and you’re out about using your phone, that way you can edit them really quick and have more professional looking photos for your blog posts.
Next up is Canva.com — canvas without the S. This tool is best known for creating banners, buttons, Facebook profile covers, presentations, and other types of graphics that you’re going to use for your blog or for social media. It’s completely web-based, everything is drag and drop and click, it’s really easy to use. It’s grown into a surprisingly powerful tool for something that is free and this easy to use.
A resource I don’t hear people chatting as much about is ChartGizmo.com. This is a software application that lets you create charts, diagrams, pie charts, graphs, etcetera… pretty much anything that you want to use to visualize data. This is good for presentations, for showing financial numbers or percentages, things like that.
Next on the list is CreativeDocs.net. This is a vector-based graphic design tool that has support for rich text, so it’s designed to be used with documents. You download the little bit of software and you can use it to create documents with a little more oomph. It works with Windows and of course it’s a free download. You can insert shapes and just do all sorts of things that make your documents pop a little bit more.
That brings us to Draw.io. This is a software program that allows you to create diagrams and drawings and save them either to your computer, to your Dropbox, or to your Google Drive. This is good for creating a process diagram to show the steps for something. It’s a great tool to create an info graphic to add to a blog or to use for pinning to Pinterest.
The next free tool that I want to tell you about is Flowchart.com. It’s free to use to create your flowcharts and to collaborate with other people on them. This is good if you need flowcharts for presentations, reports, or whitepapers, etcetera. The cool thing about Flowchart.com is that it’s collaborative, you can invite your team or your clients and you can work on the same projects at the same time.
The next one I want to talk about is Tableau Public version. If you do any type of slide presentations or PowerPoint presentations for your projects or your client’s projects, you’ve probably heard of Tableau. It creates much more visual interactive graphs and makes for interesting PowerPoint presentations. There is a public version that allows you to do a few things, it’s not as much fancy stuff as the paid-for version, but it’s a handy tool to have and to play around with for your visuals.
We’re getting close to the end of the list here. Next is Quozio.com. This is a quick little web-based app that you can use to create fun quote images with just a few quick clicks. Quote images are good for highlighting points in a blog post or for sharing to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. When you use them in your blog posts they’re really good for highlighting an idea or a specific quote in the content that would otherwise just be text. Then it also gives you the added bonus of having an image that is pinnable and sharable to Pinterest and other visual websites like that.
Before we go, I want to give you one more resource. You probably already know about it, it’s been around for ages and it’s pretty well known, but just in case I’m going to mention it anyway. That’s Gimp.org. This is software that you download to your computer and use, it’s very similar to graphics editing programs like Photoshop. If you want to be able to create and edit graphics on a regular basis, this is a great open-source software to have in your toolbox.
A lot of people will tell you that if you can use Photoshop, you can use Gimp for the same actions and creations that you would use in Photoshop. So it’s also a great backup program if you have more than one computer and you want to have something lighter that you can use on your laptop on the go, it’s great for that. And it is free, so if you just want to try it and play around with it, it is kind of fun to get to learn how to do the graphics yourself.
All right, that’s it for today. I hope that these tools are helpful for you in your business for creating visuals for yourself and for your clients as services. I hope that maybe you learned a few new tools and tricks today. Thank you again for visiting us today.
Originally published at www.vahelper.com on April 28, 2014, updated and moved to Medium in 2021