Probably a bit out of the usual for us but over the last year or so I’ve noticed something amazing. Almost everyone has a side hustle! With a second job or prospering business many people are left scratching their heads when it comes to designing cover photos, invites, social media posts and all that jazz. Hence this review. I’ll be honest, I’m a bit of a graphic designer, in fact my undergrad degree is in Design & Technology so while I know my way around Photoshop, I’m lazy. With both those points in mind I went on a hunt for a free and easy design tool that anyone could use. Most of you would have heard of Canva but recently I found Crello, a free and stupidly easy to use graphic design tool.
What Is Crello?
Crello is essentially a cloud based design tool, similar to Canva. Giving you thousands of free templates to work from, they can be used to create graphics for print, social media, ads, websites and anything else you can think of. It’s available on Apple, Desktop and now Android. As with any of these types of platforms, it’s free and you can get started straight away but of course there are premium plans that add extra functionality if you want even more templates and some extras.
Crello lets you do animated short GIF imagery as well as standard static images. The large library and range of templates available makeit ideal for 1st time designers or those like me who just want a quick and easy solution.
What Can Crello Do?
Crello have dubbed themselves a “visual editor” which I kind of agree with because well it helps you make visuals. For a small company or a person starting their new side hustle, the devil is in the detail. The days of just writing blogs are done, now you need images, audio (like The Goosed Podcast), videos and it all has to be consistent. So how do you make consistent graphics that stand above the noise on the internet. Well, Crello say the answer is them.
The platform has been been made by the stock image website Depositphotos, so that means from the start you get a butt-load of stock imagery to use for backgrounds plus there’s a ridiculously large database if you decide to go premium.
Crello tries to make the process of making designs easy, just browse their templates, images etc and when you find a style you like, click and modify everything as you need. Sounds easy right?
What they want to create is a platform you can use on your desktop or phone and not have to be a designer to create something sexy.
Once you complete the free sign up which you can do through Facebook, Gmail or with an email address and password you’re ready to rumble. Keeping with their stupidly easy to use idea, the homepage is also the “create a design” page where you will see some of the example formats as well as a gallery of images to give you some inspiration.
Also on this main screen there is a button for all their formats, under this all 40 options are divided among the different sections:
- Social media posts
- Animated post
- Blog imagery
- Cover and Header photos
- Marketing Material
Now under each heading you get your different format types, lets take marketing material as an example, below this you will find templates for:
- A4 printing
- Business Cards
- & a few others
Basically whatever you want to do or think you might want to do, chances are, Crello has templates.
You will find a number of formats under each section. For example, in the marketing material section you will find posters, flyers, A4 prints, presentations, gift certificates, postcards, business cards, and more.
After this whatever you choose and work on will be saved under the “My Projects” page, it will also include your work in progress. Handy enough for keeping your work together in one handy place.
Other than that the only other page is the settings, which is the same as anything else, email, billing information yada yada yada.
Creating Sexy Graphics
Find the design you like the looks of? Click and get started without a fear in the world because the interface is very very easy. As you can see from the image above everything you need is in plain sight from downloading to uploading your own imagery of selecting a design.
The main are where you work on the design will let you easily undo a mistake, redo something, zoom and all that good stuff. Once you’re happy with the design hit that download button or share your design. Really it’s that easy.
I can go into more detail if people are interested in learning more about graphics in general but I’ll keep this as minimal as possible. Anything you want to do to an image can be done here. Colours, fonts, gradients, transparency, sizing, photo effect ,crop and blur images.
If you upgrade to Crello Pro you can also get access to animations and HD videos which can be quite cool to bring some life to your designs but again no change to the controls, Crello does exactly what it says on the tin.
Should You Go Premium?
So far I’ve really covered the free package, on this we get over 6,000 designs. Why you would want more is beyond me buy hey some people do and there’s an option for a premium service.
On the free package there are no restrictions to how many designs you can make and the only restriction is that animated posts can only be done as 1080*1080 pixels and will contain the Crello Watermark. Personally I can get over not using the animated posts, even if they are very nice. Crello Pro will cost you €19.99 per month and for that you get:
- Animated Posts
- Facebook Video Covers
- Full HD Videos
- Removal of the Crello watermark
- 12,000 premium templates
- Additional templates each month
- Upload 1000 of your own images
- Upload your own fonts (max 100)
- 5 Free Depositphotos per month (available nomally for a euro a piece)
- Upload of up to 100 custom fonts
I’m conflicted and this may because of my design background but I’d rather do all that with Photoshop but I can see for 20quid per month could be useful for website owners who want to go big on social campaigns or online ads with their own branded touch. I think this would only apply to the top 5-10% of users, I’ve seen quite decent sized companies pay for this service but for you, me and the tree it wouldn’t be worth the money.
Being totally honest, I personally feel learning Photoshop and Indesign should be the priority for anyone looking to make super slick custom graphics. However I know that’s not always possible and I was quite impressed by what Crello offers. It’s an easy to use platform that has very few bugs that I have seen.
I liked the level of access that you get for free so if you’re in the market for a basic solution that will do the job then this will do just fine. As with any software like this they want you to go premium, 90% of people won’t need to. I tried premium for a couple of weeks to see what was what and other than extra backgrounds you can get yourself and removing watermarks from animated posts then most really won’t need it. Essentially Crello is a fine alternative to Canva for simple graphics.
If you want to know more about Crello, check out their website.