Best Picture Designing Apps

Designing On The Go

The combination of a good copy and an appealing picture is the (open) secret to an engaging post! As it isn’t always possible to have access to Photoshop, one sometimes has to rely on mobile photo editing.

There are several good apps on your phone that help you create stunning content without having to open your laptop, and that too free of cost! Being spoilt for choice, however, isn’t always a good thing. There are so many of these apps that it becomes difficult to choose the best and the most versatile one. So here’s something to make your job easier – a checklist of things to consider while choosing a quick editing app, and a list of our top recommendations.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind to decide which app to opt for:

  • Usability – The app should have a user-friendly interface that’s simple to navigate, so that even if you have no experience in editing, you can still master the app and edit images with ease.
  • Features – It should provide basic as well as some unique features so that one can rely on it to create different varieties of content. For e.g., If the app has only a few filters and limited fonts, one might exhaust all its features after using it for a few times and need to move to another app relatively quickly.
  • Sharing – The app must make it easy to share the edited content without a hassle.
  • Upgrade – It must be able to deliver impressive results with the filter trends, font choices and features it offers. An app which regularly renovates its templates, filters and fonts is a good go-to app.
  • Video + Picture editing – 90 percent of the apps do either photo editing or video editing. An app which does both efficiently, is a clear winner. (We are yet to find a good one, suggestions, please!)

Here are the apps that made it to our list of on-the-go editing apps:

1. Canva

It’s amazing how simple Canva makes designing. Its simple drag/drop format surely scores very high on the usability front.

Pros

  1. Its minimal design, incredible fonts and thousands of templates make it a favourite.
  2. It has a website + an app, so one can switch as per convenience.
  3. The drafts that you are working on are saved on your account and you can continue designing them as and when you desire.

Cons

  1. The only con is that the templates are easily available for everyone to use. If you are editing for a brand, you don’t want your posts to look like someone else’s. One needs to customise them to avoid repetition.

2. Snapseed

Snapseed strikes a good balance between amateur and professional photo editing. There’s your typical level adjustments for exposure, contrast, highlights, etc. but there’s also a bunch of filters for quick adjustments.

Pros

  1. It’s intuitive and suggests good edits for your pictures.
  2. It has a minimalist interface which makes editing easy.
  3. It has a great selection of photographic filters.

Cons:

  1. It requires a little bit of photographic expertise for optimum use.

3. Unfold – Create Stories

One simply cannot deny the growing importance of Instagram stories! Unfold helps you create beautiful stories with its minimal design templates on the go. When Instagram fonts and filters get boring and you want to create minimal yet appealing Insta stories, unfold is your go-to app!

Pros

  1. It has easy-to-use, beautiful templates for your stories. There are a number of fonts, layouts, and designs.
  2. The design interface is user-friendly.

Cons:

  1. Sharing from within the app isn’t available. The edited stories have to be saved on your phone and then shared.

4. 9square FOR INSTAGRAM

Firstly, let’s talk about why we need Instagram grids:

  • Grids make your Instagram feed look great.
  • They give you 3X,6X or 9X times the engagement.
  • They are best used for product reveals and introductions.

If you don’t have access to photoshop, 9square works as a good replacement to get a picture cut into a grid.

Pros:

  1. It gives you high-resolution grid images.
  2. It doesn’t stamp its own logo on your pictures.
  3. The interface is simple to navigate.
  4. The sharing option is available within the app.

Cons

  1. The customisation is limited. You must cut the pictures in the pre-defined format which is available on the app.

5. PicsArt Photo & Collage Maker

Pics Art is your all in one creative suite! With its collage maker, drawing tools, picture editor, camera and more, it becomes a convenient on-the-go editing app.

Pros

  1. It offers a variety of editing tools and filters.
  2. It has a bunch of creative user controls.
  3. There is a robust collage feature available.
  4. It has a wide range of picture import options

Cons

  1. Its interface is cluttered with too many ads.

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Please note, none of these apps have the power that something like Gimp, Lightroom, or Photoshop has. So for complex picture editing, you’ll still need Photoshop and a graphic designer! Having said that, these apps make on-the-go picture editing quite easy and quick. So take your pick, and go for it!

Influencer Marketing Workup

If there’s anything that can surpass a brand’s love for consumers, it is its affinity towards influencers! And why not?- Recent studies show that on an average, businesses earn $6.50 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing. With new influencer accounts mushrooming all over Social Media, however, identifying the appropriate ones for collaboration can be quite a challenge. Here are a few things for businesses to consider:

1. Relevance

Narrow down your search to the category relevant to your brand. Several content creators have a large following, but if they aren’t relevant to your brand, they aren’t valuable to you. Choose an influencer who your target audience can relate to. For a business selling kids’ toys, for example, it’s worth choosing a ‘Mom Blogger,’ so that your target audience (kids’ parents) find the endorsement credible.

2. Content

Influencers need freedom to create their own content (within the framework of your brand guidelines), for the communication to come across as organic storytelling as opposed to product selling. It is therefore essential to shortlist only those influencers whose sensibilities are aligned with the vision and ethos of your business. So if your brand sells organic health food, don’t think twice before crossing out an influencer who endorses (or has in the past endorsed) aerated drinks or junk food!

3. Legitimacy

The number of followers is not always the best metric to go by in picking a collaborator. There are a whole lot of tools available today that enable the purchase of follower accounts. Have a look at the person’s followers to make sure that they are genuine as well as representative of your target audience. If you find that most of the followers are inactive or don’t seem authentic, that’s a definite red flag.

4. Engagement

Engagement is a sensitive indicator of an account’s credibility. In many instances, as reported by Forbes, micro-influencers (niche influencers with a relatively lower following) tend to have a more concentrated loyal follower base, with higher engagement levels vis-à-vis the big guys with a massive following. An engaged audience is a testimony not just to the influencers’ reach, but also to their content quality.

5. Commercials

Assess the scale of your campaign and budget before approaching an influencer. A monetary engagement may not necessarily yield optimum results. Social Media offers a space for influencers to voice their sentiments about brands in a variety of ways; research these. Sometimes, influencers agree to post a review in exchange for a product sample, if they do like your brand. Explore such alternatives, especially in the case of smaller businesses.

None of the above factors can vouch for the reliability of an influencer in isolation. They must all be reviewed collectively to get the best out of your influencer marketing initiative. And yes, it looks like a lot of work, but when you do ultimately strike that perfect brand-influencer fit, it’s all well worth the effort!

Home Fire

Rating: 4/5

Kamila Shamsie’s seventh and most recent novel, Home Fire, is nothing short of a literary masterpiece. A contemporary retelling of Sophocles’ celebrated Antigone, Home Fire is a remarkable rendition of conflicting loyalties explored against a backdrop of violence, terror and politics.

Shamsie confers the role of the eponymous Antigone upon Aneeka Pasha – a vivacious, willful British-Pakistani nineteen-year old who shares an inseparable bond with her twin, Parvaiz. Abandoned at a very young age by a radicalized father and orphaned by the death of their mother, the twins have been raised by their elder sister, Isma, who is now a PhD scholar in Massachusetts. The family’s association with Eamonn Lone, the son of Britain’s newly elected Home Secretary of Pakistani descent, brings the story closer to the Greek myth it is based on, drawing fascinating parallels between the ancient Sophoclean characters and their adapted, modern-day counterparts.

Not that the Pashas have ever had a simple, stable life- the siblings have grown up learning to say they never knew their father- but while Aneeka has internalized this reality, Parvaiz gives in to the lures of Islamist propaganda in trying to acquaint himself with his deceased father. When he absconds from home to join the ISIS, his sisters are faced with the excruciating dilemma of choosing between the voice of reason and the ties of love.

This premise plays out in a volatile turn of events that drag you to the crossroads of citizenship and home, state and family, duty and loyalty, begging you to ask yourself how far you would go for the people you love. Despite the plot’s inherent sense of pathos, the author does not resort to any superfluous drama. Her narration is understated and wonderfully honest. There are parts of the story that may seem a tad unconvincing or even abrupt (and which cannot be discussed in detail without giving out spoilers.. so we wont!), but on the whole, Shamsie’s refined writing takes centre stage, relegating these peccadilloes to the periphery.

The book powerfully underlines what it means to live as a Muslim in the world we inhabit today, to have your allegiance questioned on the basis of your religious faith, to be demanded validation for the only identity you’ve ever called your own and to be rejected by the only place you think of as home. Irrespective of whether you like Fiction or not, whether you’re familiar with the original epic or not, if you enjoy reading, Home Fire is a must-read.

– Mitali Bapat

Image Courtesy: www.goodreads.com

 

 

Beyond Words

Content writing is like a long distance relationship- everyone thinks they can do it, until they have to.

Writing- the backbone of most creative ideas- is somehow seen as a low-hanging fruit attainable by anyone venturing into the digital space. Amid the glitz of flashy visuals and hashtags, the quality of writing often takes a back seat in the mind of the client and sometimes even in the office of a creative agency. So if you’re looking to up your content game, here’s the ABC (and D and E!) to start off with.

Aim
Semantics means nothing unless backed by a lucid thought process.

Before you start writing, clarify the purpose of your piece to yourself – What does it aim to do? Who is it for? Individual interpretations of readers may vary, but as a writer you need to be decisive about what you wish to convey. Frame a precise, one-line response to the question “What is the objective of this write-up?” for your own reference. This will serve as a reality check each time you find yourself drifting from the central idea.

Brevity
Verbosity is kryptonite to content; it can suck the magic out of even the most intriguing story. (And yet, ironically, there’s a lot to say about it!)

In the digital realm, economy effects eloquence. Ditch those weather-beaten tropes like “Content is king!” They add length without adding value. Similarly, resist the temptation to use ornate language in every instance- fancy vocabulary isn’t always the most fitting. Be it a fictional account, a biographical episode, a think piece, or even a Social Media post, the goal is to make maximum impact in the least number of words. Try this exercise- Articulate your point in the shortest possible (grammatically correct) sentence. That will help you shelve all those mildly suitable words and retain only the ones that nail the meaning of your message.

Continuity
There’s a fine line between succinct and staccato; make sure you don’t cross it.

Brevity need not interfere with the flow of your story – both structurally and in terms of ideas. Aim for a seamless transition, from one sentence to the next, one thought to the next. What can help is, putting your work away once you’re done with it and revisiting it after a couple of hours, rather than reviewing it right away. In the midst of writing, you tend to become blind to even obvious errors and breaks in continuity. Switching off for some time puts you in a headspace that’s more conducive for critique. You can also put your writing through this fun vocal test to gauge how smooth it is – Read it out aloud. If the sequence of words flows off your tongue with ease, you’re good to go; if not, you know you need some edits.

Distinction
A good narrative hinges on a clear point of view.

There’s almost nothing you can say today that hasn’t already been said by Google (or whatever your favourite search engine is). What you can offer is a unique perspective, be it on behalf of a brand or your own intimate musings. There are a million ways to look at the same thing, but the one you choose defines your story. Take a moment to reflect, to find your viewpoint. Now this doesn’t mean you have to be intense or melancholic. Even humour (good, original humour!) stems from incisive observation and depth of thought. Regardless of genre, let your writing style emerge from a distinct vantage point.

Experiences
Experiences are important, but an eye for them is more so.

Beware of those wanderlusty memes that make you believe you’re worth nothing if you’re not a “traveller,” or those movies that tell you only dark moments can kindle creativity. A trek to Machu Picchu or a tryst with heartbreak could very well be life-changing events, but you don’t have to drain your bank account and you definitely don’t have to subject yourself to torture, to find inspiration. Seemingly mundane scenarios like a drive to work, a chat with a stranger, or an interesting line in a book can also be stimulating. Engage with your environment, look for layers, turn everything you possibly can into a storytelling opportunity.

Syntax cannot make up for a lack of substance. Invest as much effort in developing perceptive views, as you would in transcribing them. A writer’s job may take up a few hours of the day, but a writer’s vision is a permanent state of mind.

The Postcard Effect

If you grew up in (or before) the 90’s, you’re familiar with the thrill of peering through the little slits of your letterbox, in the anticipation of finding a personalized note inside. (And if you didn’t..

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