No Adobe Photoshop subscription? No problem. No advanced designing skills? No problem.
I love how things have advanced to a point where anyone can create beautiful images and other designs at the click of a few buttons, some typing, and some drag and drop agility. Websites like FotoJet that allow for everyday non-professional individuals like me to dream up creative projects and then see them emerge beautifully on-screen are a delight to use.
I have been using FotoJet for a few months now. The folks at Fotojet offered me a Premium membership in exchange for my honest review and I have to say, I am really impressed. At the outset, I have to say that the Free Version is somewhat limited in the number of options you get and you also have to deal with annoying ads but that is a small price to pay for being able to use a pretty cool platform.
You are greeted by the following options when you visit, www.fotojet.com, . The little orange crown to the right side of the screen is their notification for what in-design templates are premium so when you pick your project, you will be able to immediately tell if an option is available to you as a free user or if you need Premium access.
Using Fotojet allows you to create designs from your own imagination or from templates; make collages, including 3D images; or simply edit your own photos.
They offer hundreds of free templates to nudge your creativity when needed. Just take a look at their gorgeous templates. Anybody would have a tough time picking the perfect one for their project because they are all so beautiful. The following are some social media templates. These are preset dimensions for use with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and others like flyers and invitations. I find this really convenient. I do not have much use for these in my everyday life but for those who need to promote their brand, either personally or professionally, these neat little templates are really useful.
Social Media Templates
Below, I will take you through my experience creating a Facebook Cover. I picked a standard template (see that on the left side of the screen) and replaced the words, ‘New York’ with ‘Chicago’. Next, I clicked on the “Save” icon at the top middle of the page, changed the name to what I wanted it to be, and hit ‘Save’. Then, I got the ‘Saved’ Message along with the option to download and/or share it.
My download did not start automatically so I had to click ‘Download’. Instead of the image downloading, it took me to a full-page screen with the image embedded in it which made me have to Right Click and Save the image. This process did not save the image in any of the popular extensions like *png or *.jpg (although these are options from which you can pick when you save your images) Perhaps because I did not categorically mention what format I wanted my image saved, it had to do this – the file name was saved as “Unknown” and as a TextEdit Document. I then had to open the image (I use a Mac) to ‘Get Info’ and change the name and file extension. I was prompted to confirm I really wanted to do this. I clicked ‘Yes’ and then all was well.
Proof in the pudding – Fits perfectly. I love it! I did not like going through the extra hoops but who knows, maybe it is just my computer. I really appreciated not needing to constantly resize/reposition my image or get parts I wanted displayed get cut off.
It does however get tricky if you want to use your own photographs. Depending on the size of your photo, parts of it may get cropped to fit into the template size. This is unfortunate because Fotojet does not offer an “auto-fit” option wherein, no matter what size photo you want to use, the system automatically resizes it to fit into your chosen template.
I have used their Collage Option before and I especially like their 3D templates. While I do enjoy tinkering around with images to see how things work from different perspectives, I find it quite annoying that if I don’t get it right the first time, and delete the image and then insert it again, it no longer fits automatically into the template. Then, it just becomes a regular flat rectangular image on a 3D template and that just doesn’t work. Also, the photos don’t get saved if I want to go back (I did get a pop-up saying that I will lose my work but I assumed it was the design and not the uploaded images) so I have to upload all over again (there is an undo arrow that can save you a lot of trouble like the above). There are options to ‘Save Project’ and that is definitely a possibility if you don’t want to wait until you finish the entire project before saving. (Note, I wasn’t logged in while I did the cover which also means I was using their Free version. Since most users will start out Free, I wanted to review this version).
Photo Edits Option
I like how creative you can get with this feature. Now, to be honest, pretty much everybody offers filters these days – from good ol’ Instagram to Google Images to iPhone Photos to the dozens of free and paid apps. In fact, it is refreshing to see an image with #nofilters. However, I do really like filters to give my pics just a little bit of oomph. I especially favor filters that make images look classic, vintage, old-fashioned, browned/yellowed with age. The options here are fantastic and I had a fun time playing around with the different ones available. Since they were all family photos, I will not post them here but you should definitely check them out.
Text Edits, Fonts Types
I LOVE the many different options here. You are definitely limited with the Free Version but the Premium version opens up a wide range of absolutely brilliant fonts, and design types. You can pick a font type and style you want, change colors to default ones that are provided or create your own, resize the text, and drag and drop things to wherever you want them placed. No complaints here.
Since I will be designing a magazine cover for my online webzine, theparentvoice.com soon, I was especially interested in this feature. While I liked the options for cover designs (they really are pretty), I was disappointed that it did not allow me to create my entire magazine online. In other words, I would have liked Fotojet to have provided Microsoft Publisher like capabilities in addition to designing a cover. Of course, this may be beyond their vision for the website and I can respect that. Just selfishly, because I like so many of their features, it would be nice to have just one more 🙂
There definitely have been some minor annoyances, not so much with getting acquainted with the platform because I do consider myself an expert user of such systems, as much as little things that don’t do what you would intuitively think they would or should. Other than that, I really like the ability to not have to download anything, and just be able to get on the website and start designing. I dislike websites that make you sign up to do anything with what they showcase for “free”. Fotojet does not. It is an otherwise easy to use browser-based app for graphic designs, and photo edits that churns out professional looking images within minutes. I was fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to review the Premium Version but there is a lot you can do even with a Free one. Even if I wasn’t given a Premium membership access, I would still consider purchasing an upgrade. At $35/year, it really is not a lot of money if you have a lot of need for design.