Are you looking for fresh inspiration in relation to creating visual content for your social media posts and online communications?
Then Crello just may be the solution you have been searching for. It is a visual content creation tool that you can use to create images for your marketing communications and is created by Deposit Photos – if you are familiar with Canva, you will have little trouble getting started as the interface is very similar. (I was on the original beta version of Canva and use the paid Canva for Work solution every week for live stream show graphics).
Here is a quick overview of how to get started with Crello which is available in nine languages (English, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Italian and Portuguese).
First you need to create an account if you want to save your creations for later editing and duplicating. Once you do so, you will see a variety of designs already available to customise – you can choose a template or start creating content to your own custom dimensions.
You can explore the templates – at the time of writing this review there are no templates for presentations available. You can find designs for your social advertising not just social media posts, and for posters, flyers, gift certificates within Crello.
There are a vast array of images to select from and many are free to access as you will see in the image below. Once you add an image to your design you can customise it by cropping and adding filters.
When it comes to adding text, it is easy to align it, format the text, and change the details such as font size, line height, spacing and the colour of the text you are adding – you can also move the text across the design to where you want it to appear.
If you have specific fonts you want to use in your designs aligned to your brand guidelines, you will see the option in the left hand menu for ‘Uploads’ – click that to be able to upload your own fonts.
One of the stand-out features of Crello is the great selection of free and low cost images you can access. While these are stock images, there are many that look more natural versus the stock images you find on many sites. You can search by a keyword term to find relevant content for your design and you can use the paid elements for just $0.99 each. You can also upload your own images into the design platform.
As an aside, Deposit Photos have plans you can subscribe to – for example on a monthly plan you can download 30 images for US$29 if you do not want to use Crello to access their stock images for your design projects.
If you do not want to use photos in your design you can also access illustrations, patterns and icons within Crello.
Once you have created the image, or at any stage in developing your design, you can name the image.
Once you have finalised your design you can then save it to your desktop as a JPEG, PNG, transparent PNG or a PDF.
When you have downloaded your design you can visit all your projects from where you can edit a design, duplicate it or delete it. You can also set up folders to make it easy for you to find your previous creations.
As you can see, there are lots of features and if you need some tutorials on how to use Crello you will find access to video tips directly in the platform.
In a recent article on their site, Crello comment that there are 10,000 free design templates, 65 million stock images to choose from, 11,000 free design elements to choose from.
Features The I Wish Crello Had That Would Make It An Even Better Design Tool
I did like the ease of use of Crello.com – you will find it easy to navigate especially if you are used to similar design tools.
There are some other features I think would add value to users. Here is my wishlist of 22 features I would like to see available (in no particular order) on Crello:
The ability to do a one click resize of a design – when I wanted to make a graphic for this article for the blog header and then one for the Pinterest share image, I had to recreate the design from scratch as I could not find a resize tool as you will find in Canva and Adobe Spark. I understand this feature is currently in development.
The ability to easily select a colour from the image to use in your design such as with text overlay – this has been a stand out feature for PicMonkey and one that Adobe Spark has recently introduced. You can however add the Hex code for a colour.
An online chat feature and a better way to contact support – there are limited help resources in the app which resulted in me having to send multiple messages through the support page. It seemed that there is a limit to the number of characters you can add in support questions and no way to add a screen shot. This means that there is no record inside the app of your support history which is often helpful to refer back to.
Responsive and timely support – as this is a product that can be accessed and used by people across the globe, I would like to see faster response times for support. Having said that, their support staff have been helpful in trying to understand any issues I had.
Clarity on the pricing of a design element – it is not clear if you have to pay for a design element each time you download the graphic or just once when you create the design and therefore each time you edit the design there is no further charge – this could be confusing for users. Crello customer support has confirmed that once you make a purchase of an image you can use it in any future creations you make.
The full title of an image to be saved when you download the design – while I could name each design I created, when that was downloaded to my desktop it did not retain the full title, just the first word which meant I had to rename the image on saving which I don’t need to do using similar graphic design platforms. (Update: since first drafting this article, the Crello team have fixed this issue after I raised it with them).
The ability to change the size of an image when you have created it – as an example, when I use the blog template for an image, the template is much larger than I need on my site. It would have been good to have been able to create an image using the blog templates but then change the size so that is can be easily saved to my desktop and then uploaded as a media file to my site without any further steps being needed to be taken to resize it.
The option of creating animations from text – this is availabe in Adobe Spark and is a feature that was released by Canva a little while ago which you can learn about in this video tutorial – video content and animations are becoming increasingly important for digital communications. I understand this a feature that Crello are working on.
More templates and designs such as lower thirds for live streams and videos, Kindle ebook covers, flyers and presentation formats – Crello has a great variety of designs available and their images are refreshing so that you can create content that does not look the same that created using other visual content creation apps. Adding these additional formats will make Crello a ‘go-to’ tool.
A more responsive text feature – I use Firefox as my browser, so it may be related to that, however each time I added text it seemed to be added in black even though I had selected a specific colour – this made it a time consuming step to try to get the text to save as a specific colour.
The option to save defaults of your brand colours and text preferences – it would help speed up your design workflow if you could keep the previously selected custom colours and also your preferred fonts easily accessible when creating future new designs – this is especially important for consistent visual branding.
Connecting your Crello account to your Deposit Photos account to access your previously purchased images – I would have thought that one of the reasons Deposit Photos created Crello was to monetise their stock photo collection. Some people, such as myself, may already have images purchased through deals and offers so it would make sense to have those images available in the app – though of course you can upload them individually.
The ability to favourite photos, icons and illustrations – sometimes we may see images that we want to use in the future when searching, but they are not right for the project we are working on. being able to bookmark content would certainly help workflows
Easily find free photos we have used in the past – when testing the app I found that it was difficult to locate free photos that I had used previously without having to spend time searching, so this would speed up workflows.
The ability to see free photos in the search by key word, not just the paid photos – we can do a free photo search when adding a key word, but that tab seems to be missing when you search by a phrase, so you see paid images as a default.
The option to search and select for free images when using a background image – currently Crello only shows paid options for background images.
Allowing templates for designs to be available for custom image sizes – at this time, when you select creating a custom size there are no designs available and you have to start to design your image from scratch. This would speed up workflows especially as there is no option to resize images at the moment.
Making available image templates that people recognise such as 16×9, 9×16, 4×3, 3×4 – this would be of assistance especially if people are not looking to create content for specific media channels.
Lower third templates for videos and live streams with a transparent png background – these types of formats would make the platform more differentiated and of value to video marketers and vloggers.
Custom thumbnails templates for videos – these are important for YouTube and Facebook video and live video optimisation.
Custom portrait sized image templates that work for Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat stories – adding these formats could also help Crello attract more potential customers.
Custom image templates that work for Snapchat geofilters and therefore have a transparent background – these would of great help to small businesses using Snapchat for marketing.
I definitely recommend bookmarking Crello as a design tool to explore and use, especially if like me you are not a designer but do want to create compelling images for your marketing and digital communications.
Do make sure that you check out the license agreements before you start to use the images in your projects for specific issues – such as the fact that in multimedia presentations and for production of video works for any distribution, broadcast performance and/or display, you can not use Crello designs for more than fifty percent (50%) of the length of finished work.
If you have questions about creating and using visual content for your organisation you can contact me to schedule a meeting to explore how you can enhance your visual content marketing.
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