Adobe Tools for content Planning and Design
There are no less than one million options for planning, designing and creating your social media content. I’ve tried them all. (Ok, not all of them but a lot!) If you follow @thebrandvixen on Instagram, you’ve probably seen my Adobe® posts. I constantly rave about their apps because they have so many that are useful, free and easy to use. I’ve replaced all of my design and layout apps with Adobe tools. Here are a few of my favorites that you don’t have to be a design pro to use. Bonus –– Most of them are free!
Let’s get the not-free option out of the way first. I use Photoshop to create/edit most of my content. I’m not a graphic designer, but I know enough to do simple design and retouching. I have a Creative Cloud subscription that I pay monthly that gives me access to the entire Creative Suite. It costs me $53 a month, but you can pay for single subscriptions if you only use one program. (If you use more than one, it just makes sense to buy the subscription for all of them.)
I use Photoshop to create simple designs, enhance lighting, retouch photos, etc. I also use Photoshop to lay out my Instagram feed. Here’s how I do that:
I create my post in Photoshop (usually).
I export my design as an image.
I place the image into a 16 x 12 blank Photoshop canvas that serves as my Instagram feed.
As I design new images, I drag them onto the canvas and move them around to see what is most aesthetically pleasing.
Sometimes I need to deviate from the plan. When that happens, I just grab a screenshot from Instagram and pop it into my Photoshop grid and rework my feed. I’ve tried Planoly and Plann, but I prefer the simplicity of this approach.
Bonus Tip: If you want to learn a little more about Photoshop, I suggest Phlearn. They have some great free tutorials!
ADOBE Spark Post
I’ve discussed my love for Adobe Spark Post previously, but it really is such a useful tool. I create most of my designed content for posts in Photoshop/Illustrator, but I do a lot of my Instagram stories in Adobe Spark Post.
With Adobe Spark Post, there are free templates that are predesigned and ready to go for everything from cover photos to stories and every post type imaginable. If you like a template and want to tweak it slightly, you can “remix” it and you’ll be provided with several different options and formats of the same content. Even better –– you can brandify any template to add in your brand colors and logo or those of your clients.
One of my favorite things about Adobe Spark post is that you can add animations to your images. This is a great feature if you want to add a little more interest to your Instagram stories. In addition to animations, you can customize your graphics in several ways from changing opacity, adding icons and graphics, using stock images if you have an Adobe Stock subscription and choosing several different options for text like outlines and drop shadows.
If you happen to have a Photoshop subscription, you can even send your posts in progress back and forth between the app and your desktop. That’s pretty handy. To sum it up, Adobe Spark Post does everything Canva does and a whole lot more. I highly suggest you check it out!
ADOBE Spark Video
Adobe Spark Video is super simple to use. Even if you’ve never made a video before, I have faith that you could install this app and create one in just a few minutes. To start, there are several pre-made templates that you can edit. If you want to make your own, you can start from scratch. You can input your own photos or videos, overlay text and even do your own voiceover.
There are also foolproof themes you can apply that make the whole process as easy as can be by adding music, complementary fonts and transitions. As with Adobe Spark Post, you can also import your own branding, so your videos look consistent every time. There is an option to import your own music as well, but be careful with copyright infringement or FB/IG will often prohibit the video from being posted.
Another one I’ve mentioned before is Adobe Capture. It’s the most unique of the Adobe apps I’ve come across, but it has some really cool features. You can “capture” things like materials, text, shapes, colors and patterns. See a color palette that you want to emulate? Take a photo and the app will color pick all of the colors in the photo and provide the swatches for you to save. Want to identify some text you’ve found in the wild? Capture it and the app will identify it for you and provide several similar options that you can add directly to your TypeKit. One of the coolest features is the pattern feature. Aim your phone at anything and make a pattern out of it. ( The example on the right was created from a photo of my sheets) It’s great for creating your own unique backgrounds. You can guarantee that no one will have the same pattern as you.
This app may not be something you use every single day, but it definitely sparks inspiration. You can get really creative with your surroundings and that’s what I like most about it.
This app is basically Instagram amplified. You can apply filters, color enhancements and lighting corrections. You can also add text overlay and make simple cosmetic edits such as fixing blemishes and eliminating (both human and pet) redeye from your photos. It also offers a few extra customization option like selective color, duotones and other “artsy” edits. This is great for making your images pop without having to rely on the same few filters on Instagram.
Of all the Adobe apps, this one is the simplest for beginners. Because of the user-friendly interface, you don’t need to be a Photoshop wiz to enhance your photos. You can also export your photos into Photoshop Fix if you want to make more detailed edits.
Honestly, I think that Photoshop Fix and Photoshop Express could easily be combined. Alas, they are two separate apps. Of the two, I use Photoshop Fix more often. It allows you to work in more detail and is especially great for editing photos with people in them. In addition to the common photo editing features like warmth, saturation and lighting, you can smooth photos (the app auto-detects faces), use the healing brush to eliminate wrinkles and other blemishes, defocus backgrounds and paint on your images. I’ll occasionally use the paint brush to smooth out or airbrush certain images, but I mainly use this app when I have a photo that isn’t the best quality. This app has allowed me to salvage photos that are blurry or taken in poor lighting. It’s great for quick fixes.
There are several Adobe apps that I haven’t mentioned here. Do you have any go-to Adobe apps on your phone? If not, I hope you’ll try a few of these out. They’re so helpful to have on hand and you can access most of the features for free, so you really can’t go wrong.