From the Editor: As a writer, you can bring a lot of value to clients when you understand how to edit, convert, and shrink images. Even better, you can charge extra fees for any add-on graphic design service you choose to offer. Whether you’re working on a website with graphics or assisting in stock-photo selection for a report, your insight on the content of a project can be a tremendous asset when it comes to selecting, editing, and formatting images. Enjoy Part I in our four-part series on expanding your knowledge of visual communication.
There is a lot to be said about the impact and power of visuals. No matter what kind of idea you are presenting, adding visuals will help you to get your ideas across in a better and more interesting way. Whether you are giving a business or school presentation or you are writing a blog post for your website, using images and visual aids will help you to not only get your point across better, but also to keep your audience’s attention.
Here are 50 excellent and completely free online applications that can be used to create stimulating visuals for anything, whether you are a freelance writer or blogger, teacher, student, or businessperson looking to spice up your ideas with some interesting eye candy.
Image creation tools
Modern technology has made it easier than ever for artists to get their ideas across. Here are some great free web applications that can help you to not only create images, but also present them creatively and get static ideas out in interesting and dynamic ways.
- PiktoChart (http://piktochart.com) is one of the best online tools for creating infographics, which have been all the rage on blogs over the last several years. If you are looking for a way to present stats or somewhat boring information in a way that is interesting and exciting, you should look into creating infographics with PiktoChart.
- Easel.ly (http://www.easel.ly/) is fairly similar to PiktoChart, but represents itself as a visual idea creator, not an infographic maker. Still, it’s a great tool to use to get your information into the form of a sleek and well-designed visual that will present your data in the best possible light and help you to get your ideas across more clearly.
- Infogr.am (http://infogr.am/) is another online service that makes creating nifty charts and infographics easier than ever. Just select a template to start off with, input your data and customize it to get your original infographic that you will be able to share or embed just about anywhere.
- Hohli Online Charts Builder (http://charts.hohli.com/) is a basic but still quality tool for making charts online. The tool is based on the Google charts API and lets you very easily tailor your charts to fit your personal needs.
- Creately (http://creately.com/) is a web service for making all sorts of interesting flow charts and diagrams as visual aids. One excellent feature is that it allows you to work together with a team in real time on projects and collaborate on creating these visual supplements.
- LucidChart (https://www.lucidchart.com/) is a great tool for professionals that either like to brainstorm visually or present their ideas that way. It’s a great service for creating detailed and dynamic diagrams, flow charts, mind maps and much more.
- TimelineJS (http://timeline.verite.co/) is an online service that helps you tell a story chronologically in the best possible way. Using this tool, users can build timelines of events in order to better portray a passage or time visually.
- Photo Collage (http://www.photocollage.net) is a web application that can be used to perform many simple tasks and create all kinds of things with photos. Make collages, create slideshows, put together animations and present for photos creatively as a group with this tool.
- Photovisi (http://www.photovisi.com) is another tool for creating collages. It has a lot of options when it comes to picking the layout of your collage and customizing the way you include your photos into it.
- Picaboo (http://www.picaboo.com) is a great tool for creating gifts for people. It’s a fantastic service for making photo books or putting together cards or calendars with your photos.
- Cool Text (http://www.cooltext.com) is handy when you need to whip up some graphics quickly and you don’t have much experience with design programs like Adobe Photoshop. It’s a great free option for creating cool logos and font types for your projects or websites.
- Funny.Pho.to (http://funny.pho.to/) is yet another tool for creating photo collages. This one is great because there are a variety of fun effects that can be added to these collages once you have put them together. Text can also be added to turn the collage into a greeting card.
- Funnywow (http://www.funnywow.com) allows users to create funny and wacky images with lots of cool effects.
- Fun Photo Box (http://funphotobox.com/) is another web application for creating funny and fun pictures. You can upload your own photos and then add all kinds of funny effects and art to them. It’s great for killing some time or making fun family photos to share with everyone.
- Wordle ( http://www.wordle.net/ )is a tool for creating word clouds. Just input your words and pick a design that you are happy with.
- TagCrowd (http://tagcrowd.com/) is another word cloud creator. It’s very simple, just input the text you want and a word cloud will be created.
- DoppelMe (http://doppelme.com/) is a good tool if you are looking to make an avatar for yourself. You can make a drawn, cartoon version of yourself or anyone else with this tool.
- Pinstamatic (http://pinstamatic.com/) is a tool that is great for people who love to use Pinterest. It is a fast and effective way to make great-looking Pinterest boards out of your favorite photos and share them with the community.
Cindy Pearson is a blogger at the PDF Converter Tips & Tricks Blog. This article is based on one of her posts: http://www.pdfconverter.com/resources/blog/