I have to be honest: Among my friends, I have a pretty strong reputation for being a Photoshop wiz. Whether it’s helping someone tweak her birthday invitation, or building a portfolio website for a budding photographer, I’m the one people go to for straight-forward design advice that gets the job done.
But simply getting what works visually—and what might look like a Microsoft Paint fiasco—doesn’t come naturally to most people. We all know that one co-worker who has a killer eye for design . Her presentations are always on point, and her resume basically radiates. Meanwhile, you’re trying to hide how much effort you put into making your Instagram posts look even half as nice.
We’ve all been there, and we’ve all had that moment—shaking our fists at Adobe for being, well, less than affordable, and silently envying the people who know it well. But the good news is: Adobe just launched Spark , a series of design tools that even your grandmother could figure out. Best part? It’s free.
All you have to do is sign up for an Adobe account. From there, you’re taken to a screen where you can choose to create a Post, a Page, or a Video—basically the full range of visual content the average person would ever be dealing with.
I signed up for an account to try it out:
I tried the Post feature first, which offered a surprising amount of differently sized templates for social media and other digital images. It has preset dimensions for any of the popular platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more—there’s even one for a LinkedIn cover photo .
Once you type in the text and select the template you want, there are preset themes, colors, and stock images to make your graphic beautiful, with little effort on your part. Here’s an Instagram-ready post I put together in only a couple minutes:
Next, I tried out the Page feature and made this fake portfolio page in a matter of five minutes . I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical about how they would simplify a webpage to handle complex content and still be intuitive, but Adobe made it happen. You hover where you want to add something, choose what kind of content (text, image, link, and so on) you want there, and you’re done. Here’s the header that the page loads on:
Finally, there’s also a Video feature, prepared with all sorts of themes and templates to help you make a video, e-invitation, presentation, or lesson plan. Not an award-winning film producer? No problem. Each template comes with a narrative frame that prompts you with what to say. The platform lets you record, upload, and playback your voice instantaneously, and it also has layout and music options to make it look like a professionally produced project. Don’t believe me? Here’s a video invitation to my fake barbecue:
So, whether you have a big presentation coming up, or you’re just looking to revamp your social media profiles , consider using one of these tools from Adobe Spark. I know at least for me, the next time someone asks for a design favor, I’ll point them to this first.
Photo of co-workers courtesy of Shutterstock.
Caroline Liu is a freelance writer, graphic designer, and computer programmer studying at Wesleyan University. She is pursuing majors in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Computer Science in order to bridge her passions for tech, design, and social justice. Learn more about Caroline on her website or follow her on Twitter.More from this Author