How to create stunning Visual Content in Minutes
An all-in-one free program for fast and unique image creation: BeFunky
What comes to your mind when you think about essentials of successful Social Media Marketing?
Correct, two of the main pillars are STUNNING VISUAL CONTENT and CONSISTENCY.
Both are crucial, regardless whether you are a Large or Small Business, an Entrepreneur or a Startup. Click here for a related article.
Although utterly important, visual content is often neglected by Small Businesses, Startups, and Entrepreneurs. The reason for this is twofold; they expect it to be time-consuming and financially challenging. It sometimes seems to be an overwhelming task to create professional looking images with the right dimensions for each Social Media platform plus a consistent, unique branding across your various profiles. And to hire a professional Designer is out of the scope of the marketing budget.
The good news is that it does not have to be expensive or time-consuming.
Today I want to share with you a great tool to create your visual content fast and for free: BeFunky
A free web-based, all-in-one graphic designer program
You can use BeFunky Graphic Designer without signing up, just right from your browser. The advantage of creating your own [free] account is that you can store images to BeFunky and access them from other devices than your computer.
The program consists of three main parts: Photo Editor, Collage Maker, and Designer
BeFunky Graphic Designer is a free, all-in-one graphic program which allows the creation of professional looking visual content in a matter of minutes. The screenshot shows the homepage of the program featuring the three parts of BeFunky; the Photo Editor, the Collage Maker, and the Graphic Designer.
A ‘Plus’ version which offers some extra features can be purchased for a small monthly fee. A fantastic free mobile app is also available. I will come to both in a minute.
Note: As a first time user, you will certainly find the ‘Help’-pop-ups very useful. The BeFunky Help Center is also a great source for tips and information.
Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into the various functions of the program.
#1 The Photo Editor
Once you’ve uploaded the image that you want to edit, you will find yourself in an interface with all general editor functions. Upload can be done from your computer, webcam, Dropbox, BeFunky, etc..
After uploading an image you can immediately start working with the Photo Editor. The image above shows the Photo Editor interface.
You can now start to improve your image quality using all ‘standard’ Photo Editor features. After that, the fun part begins; giving your visual content a unique branding.
To do so, there is an almost non-ending list of features available, such as:
Touch up: Can be used for retouching of faces, deleting unwanted objects from the image, etc..
Effects: Various types of photo filter, such as Old Photo, Sunburst, Lomo Art, Motion Color.
Artsy: A way to create absolutely unique images, by applying e.g. cartoonizer, impressionist style, oil color or underpainting.
Frames: I guess that speaks for itself.
Graphics: Choose graphics for different occasions, from Halloween to Thanksgiving, from Summer to Winter. You can easily create an image that fits a seasonal promotion of your business. You can also add your own graphics.
Overlay: Choose the overlay that fits your needs and brand; from numbers, sports, St Patricks day, to simple pattern.
Text: Tailor text to your needs. You can use all Google fonts and also add your own [fonts downloaded to your computer will automatically be recognized by the text editor].
Textures: Applying a texture [e.g. grunge, bricks, metal, fabric] can convert an image into something extraordinary. Textures can be a great final touch to your image.
Every effect comes with various variations. Here is an example of the 'Artsy Effect: Impressionist', where you can choose from different 'Impressionist' styles.
All of the above are cool features, and I highly recommend to take some time checking them out. You will quickly see what matches your brand’s voice.
A very handy feature is that you can also work with layers.
To show you some of the above features, I used the photo you saw in the image above and applied some simple effects. I took the photo during a lovely vacation in Mexico. First, I cropped the image, applied the Funky Focus and two other filters. As the final touch, I used the Metal texture feature.
Can you believe that this is the result? I think it looks stunning already and the result comes in less than 2 minutes. I just used the basic functions without any fine tuning adjustments.
This image is the result of applying just some simple effects without fine tuning. It is created in a couple of minutes.
Some other cool features, which are worthwhile mentioning are the following:
When cropping an image, you can also choose from predefined sizes, such as Twitter or Facebook covers. This way, you make sure you work with the correct size from the beginning.
You can easily apply the filter on only parts of your images. To do so, choose a filter and brush away the region where it should not be applied. I will show an example in the next section.
TIP: If you want to resize an element freely, meaning without aspect ratio, press shift+command (CTRL) for free transformation.
Once you’ve found your ideal filters/effects, just add them to your list of favorites. This is another time-saving option.
All images can be saved as png and jpg.
#2 The Collage Maker
A collage is a great option for e.g. Facebook posts.
The Collage Maker is directly linked to Pixabay, one of the largest image stocks with free images that are courtesy free. Browse through the images and upload them to BeFunky with just a click. Of course, you can also upload your own images.
Some great collage layout templates are available for e.g. Facebook Covers and Pinterest Graphics. You can still change some settings of these templates. But you can also create your own design from scratch.
In addition to adding photos to a collage, there is also the option to include graphics, as introduced above as part of the Photo Editor. Choose graphics to match your seasonal sales or any special deals for a public holiday. Finish your collage by adding a text using the Text Editor.
Below you can see a collage I created. It shows the steps I applied with the Photo Editor to create this blog post header image. I just chose a simple 2×2 grid with customized dimensions, spacings, background color and rounded corners. But as said before, all kinds of fancy layouts are available.
The effects applied are: 1) Original; 2) HDR1 Filter only partially applied [I used the brush to erase the effect away from the bird]; 3) Funky Focus to highlight the bird even further; 4) as the final touch, a Fabric Texture was laid over the full image.
You can see that, for steps 2-4, options for fine tuning of the individual style features are available.
This image was created using the Collage Maker. It shows the features applied to the original image to create my blog post header image. 1) original image, 2) HDR1 filter, applied on only parts of the image, 3) Funky Focus, 4) Fabric Texture.
#3 The Designer
For a Small Business, this is maybe the most attractive option as it offers a huge variety of templates, sized for the main Social Media platforms. Creation of visual content is no longer a time-consuming effort. There is no need to resize your images or to prepare various templates. The templates offered by the BeFunky Graphic Designer also include Facebook Ad, letterheads, Blog images, infographics, invitations and much more. You can also save your creations as projects.
To finish your Blog, Facebook or Twitter image, just grab your image from the Photo Editor, place it in the respective template, add a headline plus other elements you want to add, and off it goes.
As an example, I added my usual blog post image style to the above-seen enhanced bird image. I chose the blog post template, added a box with a headline using my brand font. The matching color for the box comes from an analysis of the image made with Adobe Color CC, also a free program. The color code can easily be copied into the BeFunky editor.
Within the Graphic Designer function, templates can be used to quickly create a perfectly fitting image for the main Social Media Networks as well as for many other occasions.
Some final words
In summary, the cool thing about BeFunky is that it offers everything under one roof. There are other great graphic programs, but if you want to create something unique, the photo editor option is often neglected and you need to work with an additional program. But here you get it, and you can switch back and forth within just one program.
Everything you have created can immediately be shared to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.
The paid version is $4.95/mo or on an annual basis just $35 [$2.91/mo], and it’s worth the investment. It gives you a larger variety of templates and features for unique branding. However, if you are just starting, and your marketing budget is tight, you might want to go for the free version for a while before upgrading.
Mobile App – the awesome bonus
The last thing I want to highlight is the mobile app. To my opinion, this is a point where BeFunky really nailed it compared to other graphic programs. The app is completely free and available for iOS and Android. It covers a large variety of the above-presented features and is easy to use. You can prepare your visual content on-the-go and share it directly to your Social Profiles.
Have you already tried BeFunky? What is your favorite feature of the program?
If not, check it out. By clicking here you get redirected to the Graphic Designer interface.