The Best (Free!) Creative Programs You Need in Your Life Right Now

January 14, 2021  •   Joel Jacob

Coworkers looking at photos on a computer

Your church is lively, engaging, and on fire for Christ — but does your marketing material convey that? If you find your flyers, bulletin, newsletter, website, and/or social media seriously lacking in the creative design area, it’s time to take note of what you can improve upon.

Gone are the days where a simple flyer produced in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint was the norm. Now, your parishioners expect to see lively colors, engaging images, and beautiful fonts that match your faith community. Think you don’t have the time or the money to produce these? Think again. Following are the best (and free!) creative design programs you should be utilizing.

WeCreate

It wouldn’t be a complete list without the addition of WeCreate, our digital image and content platform. With WeCreate, you can expect to find the latest in stock photography, church clip art, Catholic prayers, weekly Gospel reflections, and more. It also comes with hundreds of Catholic-themed flyer and social media templates, and content for your bulletin (including weekly liturgical readings, reflections, and art).

And coming soon in 2021, WeCreate will become THE bulletin builder program you never knew you needed. Instead of utilizing Microsoft Publisher (dated and limited in capabilities) or InDesign (expensive and hard to use), you can choose an array of designed bulletin templates and easily drag and drop content and images for 4-, 8- and 12-page bulletins. The best part? All LPi bulletin customers receive Full Access!

Canva

Canva is a graphic design platform that is used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents, and other marketing content. It includes easy to use templates that you can customize for your specific events and is especially popular for social media squares.

Canva offers a free account with access to thousands of templates, as well as a pro version that gives teams access to more cloud storage, one-click design editing tools, and a social media schedular for up to seven accounts.

Pixlr

Looking to do more with your photos? If you don’t have access to Adobe Suite programs like InDesign and Photoshop, Pixlr is a great option to have. Perfect for quick, lighthearted photo editing and one-click artistic effects, it’s perfect for those last minute or not too complicated social media images or on-the-fly flyers.

The free version is supported by ads, so expect to see some in the account you create. They also have premium ($4.90/month) and creative pack ($14.99/month) versions for those looking for professional stock images, overlays, extensive stickers and icons, video tutorials, and more.

Gravit Designer

A free full-featured vector graphic design app that works on nearly all digital platforms, Gravit Designer comes with fast and flexible editing tools that are tailored to more professionally-adept designers. With the strokes of a few keys, you can “unlock the full power of your creativity.”

Whether you’re working on graphics for marketing materials, websites, icons, UI design, presentations, or social media, the platform has some amazing tools that’ll be sure to help you put your stamp on upcoming material. They offer a free and pro version ($49 for the year) that includes the ability to work off-line and more storage. It’s easy for beginners to use, but also comes with all the capabilities needed for professionals.

RawTherapee

RawTherapee is a powerful, cross-platform raw photo processing system. It is designed for developing the raw files from digital cameras and targeted at users ranging from enthusiastic newcomers who wish to broaden their understanding of how digital imaging works to professional photographers who want to dig deeper into their craft.

A powerful array of tools for you to produce amazing photos and showcase your creativity, this program is completely free.

Looking for more ways to share the story of your vibrant faith community? Download our latest resource, “Think WeCreate is Only for Bulletin Editors?” and discover all the ways parishes can utilize our digital Catholic art and content platform to inform and engage their faith community.

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