There are four tools that I use pretty much everyday. There’s Trello for keeping my itinerary organised, Google Docs for writing and managing excel files, SmartMockups for graphic mockups and Youzign for creating the actual graphics. So this Youzign review is long overdue.
In this Youzign review I’ll cover my experience using the platform compared to some of the other do it yourself platforms out there. It will cover the good and the bad parts of the software and if I think you should invest in the platform.
What is Youzign
Youzign is part of a generation of web based easy to use Photoshop alternatives (there’s a list of the best here). It uses a point and click, drag and drop interface. The idea is to make it possible for anyone to create marketing graphics without needing a degree in Photoshop.
The platform was launched in 2015. It’s the centerpiece of a graphics design toolkit that’s been created by YMB Properties. This toolkit currently includes Gifzign, Logozign and Mockzign with other platforms soon to be released. It is aimed at everyone from bloggers through to companies with a small marketing department and graphics design agencies.
Getting Started with Youzign
The user flow for Youzign is very simple. After logging into your account you’re directed to the main dashboard. This is basically your template library.You’ll find all the designs you’ve saved.
From the main dashboard you can access six main tabs. These are:
- My Designs
The most important of these of course are your designs, but the templates come in pretty useful to.
With Youzign you get access to 1,000 ready made templates over 60 format types. This covers things like Pinterest graphics, Facebook headers, Twitter headers and the rest. You can use them as inspiration for your own designs or edit the graphics to make them your own before you download them.
So far this is pretty standard. Basically all Photoshop alternatives offer a template library and preset design formats.
The Best Features
There are three areas where Youzign stands out from the crowd though. First of all there is the Marketplace. This is the place where Youzign members can create and sell their designs. It’s a bit like Fiverr, but it’s only for graphics. It sounds great, and I think this could turn into one of the platforms strongest features for freelance graphic designers.
I really want to say that the marketplace is amazing and it is getting more active thanks in large part to transitioning to a one time payment model. If Youzign launches a freemium model I think the marketplace will get busier. This is great, because it can turn Youzign from an expense to an investment for designers.
Next up are the integrations. Youzign have a lot of integrations with complementary marketing software. There are probably 50 or so integrations. These range from well known software platforms like ClickFunnels through to platforms like SmartMockups. These integrations are useful and can save you time if you plan to use some of these products together.
My favorite Youzign feature though is the background removal tool. This is hands down awesome!
If you’ve struggled to use the ‘magic wand’ tool then you’ll be amazed by this feature. In the editing screen you simply select the area of an image, like a photo, where you want to remove the background. Click the minus tool for areas of the image you want to remove and the green tool for areas you want to keep.
It is really simple and I find it a huge time saver. If you need to crop images, it’s almost worth investing in Youzign just for this feature.
The Editing Screen
The editing screen is where all the magic happens. As previously mentioned the platform uses WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). There’s the usual collection of shapes, fonts and backgrounds to choose from.
Like most of the Photoshop alternatives, Youzign has a host of integrations for users. This includes Iconfinder, Pixabay, StockUnlimited, Pexels, Unsplash, Stocksnap, Icons8 and SkitterPhoto (basically lots of photo and icon sites). Pulled together these integrations give you access to 1,000,000+ copyright free photos and tens of thousands of copyright free icons you can use in your designs.
Rather than take you through the dashboard feature by feature I’ll highlight my favorite bits:
- Ability to add gridlines to your design so you can check everything is balanced.
- Easily change the export quality to fit your needs (72 DPI, 150 DPI and 300 DPI).
- Save your image in PDF, JPG and PNG format.
- Add shadows and borders to text and objects.
- An awesome delete background feature, which is 1000% better than a magic wand.
Combine photos, shapes, and the different fonts and you can create pretty much any type of graphic you want. And I do. I use Youzign to create wireframe designs, for Pinterest graphics, social media and email marketing and more.
What are the Problems
While I like Youzign I have a few issues with the platform. For starters there’s the color picker, which drove me crazy until I got used to it. Say you want to change the colour of your headline, you can hover over any object on the screen and it will automatically copy the hex color. This is really useful, but like I said it took a while for me to get used to it.
Then there’s the problem with objects. If an object is small it can be impossible to select and drag the object. This means you have to use the direction buttons on your keyboard to move objects, which takes longer. It can also be difficult to resize the object in the way you want. There are also issues with lag when you are editing a graphic with more than 6 objects on the screen. Again, this is annoying, but platforms like Canva have the same issue, so it’s not a problem unique to Youzign.
Finally, and really frustratingly, there is the time it takes to save and delete projects. This probably takes less than 20 seconds a time, but it can feel like a lifetime when you’re waiting. This is the number one reason I’ve never tidied up my dashboard – I don’t have 40 minutes to spare deleting 100+ objects.
It might sound like these are major problems, which they are not. The platform is reliable and you quickly get used to the quirks of the system. It’s just I wish they’d do something about these issues.
How Much Does it Cost
You can’t talk about a product in this space without acknowledging that the biggest company in the market, Canva, runs on a freemium platform. Maybe it’s an unfair comparison as Youzign is more like Canva Pro, which costs $120 a year, and it comes at a one time price, but…
Canva has a great freemium model and Youzign doesn’t. The software currently costs $75 for lifetime access as a single user. It isn’t going to break the bank and it’s a good long term investment. Yet it’s still money and you will question if it’s worth spending when there are freemium alternatives.
Still, the pricing is not 100% set.
Youzign are constantly changing their pricing model. At the moment, for a one time price Youzign is definitely worth the money. Plus there are the features I mentioned earlier, which you don’t get with Canva. Which brings us nicely into the final review…
Youzign Review: Final Verdict
As I mentioned at the start, I use Youzign everyday. There’s a good reason for this; I think it’s one of the best graphic design tools on the market. If you do create a lot of graphics or manage a graphics design team then Youzign is a good investment. It’s a good platform and offers many features that are better than competitors like Canva (as I mentioned I love the background removal feature is amazing). You can give the platform a whirl and make the purchase.
One final thing to note, Youzign is part of a kit of graphics tools. There are currently six tools available. They range from logo creators through to gif makers. You can purchase each of these tools for $75 or the whole toolkit for around $500.
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