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Jazz up dull Instagram photos with Adobe Post, no design skills required

Update on March 10, 2016: Adobe has updated Post to version 2.0. The core functionality of the app remains the same, but with additional features. (It’s still iOS only.) The app now supports multiple sizes in addition to square; the app shows a variety of standard sizes (2:1, 3:1, 16:9, etc.), as well as sizes for use on social network profiles (Facebook cover, Twitter header, YouTube thumbnail, and LinkedIn banner) and posts. There is also an “auto resize” option that automatically alters the graphic to any custom size, including text alignment.

And, within the filters, tapping on each multiple times will rotate through variations of that filter. Finally, Post has line break support that lets you control how text flows and highlight text.

Original article published on December 17, 2015: Do you lack the design skills to make things pretty? Or do you sometimes need to mock up a quick graphic without having to go through photo-editing software? Adobe just launched a new iPhone app, Adobe Post, that helps you create what it calls “social graphics.” Whether it’s adding text to a photo or designing an ad, Post lets you quickly create professional-quality images that are ideal for social media.

As part of Adobe’s free “storytelling” apps that include Slate and Voice, Adobe says that Post is designed for the next generation of mobile users who value good design but may not necessarily have the tools, skills, or time to build snazzy graphics.

Related: Edit your photos in RAW with Adobe Lightroom Mobile, now free to use

“Mobile is an extension of themselves,” says Thibault Imbert, Adobe’s principal product manager, referring to the type of person who benefits from Post. They are users who revolve around social media, whether a small business that uses Instagram to market its company, a non-profit that wants to promote a cause on Twitter, or an “influencer” who has a large following in any network. “They want to stand out from the crowd, they want to be heard, and do it in a beautiful way that’s more social.

“We want to provide them with simple tools [that] communicate with impact,” Imbert adds. “Post lets anyone create eye-catching social graphics.”

Apps like this aren’t new, but Post is connected to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, so you can download photos or other designs from your cloud library. However, you don’t need to be a Creative Cloud subscriber to use it; Post works as a standalone app, and the 1,200 x 1,200-pixel, square-shaped graphics are saved to your iPhone’s camera roll. Imbert emphasizes Post’s ease and speed in mocking up a graphic.

“There’s no design degree required, you could be using it on the bus, during a commute,” Imbert says. Besides the usual social networks, Post graphics can be used in text messages or email.

Imbert points to a “visual revolution,” created by social media and mobile devices, as the reason for Post’s existence. He says social graphics can help increase a user’s or a business’ visibility because they are more impactful than static images.

“Networks like Instagram and Pinterest are about social graphics and visuals,” Imbert says. “Even Facebook and Twitter, with a social graphic, you’ll get more engagement, likes, retweets, etc.

“Being social savvy is really hard — you need to create really social graphics but with a high caliber,” Imbert adds. “There are studies that show the perfect picture on Pinterest is complex; it’s hard for the rest of us [to create].”

Creating impactful designs in under a minute

Using the app is simple, and although you could slap together a graphic in a minute, there are enough customization options to keep you busy for much longer. When you first launch the app, you’ll need to enter your Adobe ID (or create one) or Facebook login. From there, you’re presented with Remix Posts, which are templates in various designs. Adobe says the designs will be updated regularly; for example, as of this writing, the “seasonal” templates lean toward winter and Christmas.

Adobe Post has several pre-made templates to get you started. Here, we simply changed the text to fit our mood.

Adobe Post has several pre-made templates to get you started. Here, we simply changed the text to fit our mood.

But the template designs are just suggestions for getting started. Once you pick a style that matches the type of message you want to convey, you can then change the background photo, edit or add text, apply a filter, or alter the color palette. You can also change the color, font, shape, alignment, opacity, and spacing of the texts. Color matching is difficult for many people, but Post can suggest complementary colors by pulling them from the photo you use. What we wish Adobe included is a “back” button in case you make a mistake, and the ability to layer graphics like stickers.

Even after you think you’re done, you can always edit. You can save your creation to your camera roll or share it to your social network of choice. Being that it’s a high-res square image, it’s Instagram-ready (Imbert says a square image “plays well” across all networks).

But Adobe does do something weird: a hashtag, #AdobePost, is added to the graphic as a watermark. To get rid of it, you have to share the graphic once. We’re not sure why Adobe did this, other than to get the word out about the new app, but it’s a minor inconvenience.

You can use Adobe Post to add context to your images.

You can use Adobe Post to add context to your images.

If you’re in full designer mode, Post lets you start from scratch. You can choose a photo in your camera roll; take a new one with the camera; search for free public domain images; or pull from Lightroom and Creative Cloud. Once you pick a photo, Post automatically suggests a font and color palette that matches (or what it thinks matches) the photo. Like the templates, you can edit everything to your heart’s content.

Related: Knock together a video masterpiece with Adobe’s Premiere Clip editor for Android

Would you use it?

If you’re a small business or organization that’s trying to build up your social media presence, and you don’t have the budget to hire someone to create impactful ads, Post is a handy tool.

Small business owners can use Adobe Post to mock up designs for ads or promotions.

Small business owners can use Adobe Post to mock up designs for ads or promotions.

The app is easy and fun to use, and even if you have nothing to sell or promote, anyone with a creative spirit could certainly use Post to create original, funny meme images, or virtual holiday cards to share with friends and family on Facebook. For those without design skills, the app does a good job at creating pro-looking graphics, but you definitely should tinker with the options.

While Adobe highlights the social aspect of the app, the resolution of the graphics is good enough to permit them to be printed as flyers or readapted for use in a PowerPoint presentation, provided you can work around a square image. We think that’s one of the unsung benefits.