Photoshop is the ultimate designer’s tool. When you master it you’ll be as confident as Mr Miyagi waxing a sports car. The problem is you don’t need all that power for simple design jobs. Sometimes you just want a nice point and click solution. A simple alternative to Photoshop.
Luckily there are plenty of these to choose from. We’ve shortlisted the six best Photoshop alternatives for online designers. We’ll start with a short summary of just what’s available. Check out the table below for the key facts about the software.
|Software||Starting From||Best Thing About It||Biggest Problem|
|Canva||Free||Great all round design tool.||None.|
|Youzign||$87 lifetime||Part of a suite of design tools||None|
|DesignBold||Free||Decent freemium plan. Clients can preview and edit designs.||No transparent backgrounds.|
|Stencil||$9 a month||Create up to 10 images a month on the freemium plan.||No team feature.|
|PicMonkey||$6 a month||Nice all round design tool.||None.|
|Snappa||$10 a month||Good range of templates.||None.|
It might seem like a novel idea, but we took the time to review each of the products on this list. We do this, because we’re always on the lookout for great software products that we can secure lifetime access to for our audience (you can get access to these deals here).
Obviously the article took more time to write than it would have if we’d just summarised the reviews of other content creators, but unsurprisingly we’ve found if we do this we miss things. With that said, let’s get started with our review of the best Photoshop alternatives.
Canva was the first online graphics design software to hit the market. It has an easy to navigate interface with a learning curve your grandma could master. The software was created as a simple online alternative to Photoshop that allows anyone to create designs without having to turn to a designer. Access is free and probably always will be.
While you can use Canva without paying a penny, the best features, cropped images and designs, behind a paywall (think a dollar an image or so).This is handy if you’re happy to pay the odd bit of money to spruce up your designs. There’s also a premium team feature for you guessed it, teams.
Youzign is my favourite alternative to Canva. It’s a graphics software with bells and whistles (or should I say coloring pencils and drawing paper). It comes with a library of inbuilt social media templates and hundreds of ready to edit designs, which is pretty standard for this type of software. Cool features include the image cropping and the integration with a number of photo sites that provide copyright free photos.
One of the best things about Youzign is the graphics marketplace where you can order custom made designs or sell your own designs. At the moment you can get access to Youzign and a suite of graphics tools that include Gifzign, for creating gif and cinemagraphs, Logozign, and more, for a one-time price. Click the button below to find out more.
If you’re entering a crowded marketplace you need a unique selling point. For DesignBold it’s the ability to invite people to view and edit your designs. That’s a pretty useful feature for small teams or if you’re designing for a client. The other funky feature is the ability to upload your own custom fonts (it’s a pretty essential feature if you want your designs to stand out).
DesignBold has two tier pricing. It starts with a free option which gives you access to the core features. Unfortunately you can’t upload custom fonts on the free platform. The paid plan starts at $18 a month, which is more than the competitors. For this price you get the ability to upload custom fonts, PDF and PNG download formats and access to a color style guide.
Stencil is a good alternative to Photoshop. You get a sense of how good when you talk numbers. Stencil includes 560 templates, 1,000,000+ copyright free images, an equally large database of icons and graphics, 2,200 Google fonts and 100,000+ quotes. The number of quotes is kind of special as it makes creating those ‘easy to share’ social media graphics a breeze.
You can use Stencil for free to create up to 10 designs a month. The paid service starts at $9 a month, for a single license, with the option of creating up to 50 images a month. It’s a very small number (you might find yourself needing to pay $12 a month for unlimited designs). In addition there’s no team feature, which would have been a useful touch for the kind of small businesses they’re targeting.
PicMonkey is a photo editor and graphics design tool. On the photo editing side the tool is like pixlr, but with better filters and funky features like the ability to turn a photo into a sketch. You also get the option to export your finished photos as framed prints, fridge magnets etc. It’s a nice way to keep your memories fresh and as a present for friends and family!
On the graphics design side, PicMonkey makes it easy for you to create social media graphics, posters and other graphics. There are some nice custom fonts that run alongside the standard Google fonts. Everything is wrapped up in a nice user interface. A single license costs $9 a month.
Snappa is a solid all round design tool. It’s integrated with various social media platforms and social media management tools like Buffer, which is pretty handy given most people use these tools to create social media graphics (surprisingly none of the other Photoshop alternatives have done this).
Snappa has three pricing tiers. The first is the free ‘tester’ plan which allows you to create and export 5 graphics a month. Next up is the $10 a month plan with this time unlimited exports as well as the ability to import custom fonts. Then finally you have the team plan for up to 5 users that costs $20 a month. It’s all very logical and well thought through.
A Few Thoughts
Everyone has a favorite design tool. Mine happens to be Youzign. While it’s not free, I feel it’s worth the money. You get a bunch of templates and some really useful integrations and features, like the eraser tool, which is about a million percent better than the magic wand. Of course if you don’t want to pay for your software then Canva is the ‘no brainer’ option.
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