So, about twice a year I take stock of all my SaaS (software as a service) and monthly/annual subscriptions and try to take look at of what I am using, what I think I can live without and if any new alternatives have come on the market worth trying.
Normally this is a way for me to cut cost, but it is also a way for me to find room in my budget for new software I would like to try.
A few new services I have been researching:
- Marketing Automation
- The above combined!
- Social Media Automation
- Social Media Asset Creation
That last point brings me to Adobe Spark
Up until this point I have largely ignored services like Canva and Easil since I am perfectly capable of creating these assets myself in photoshop. However, as I am handling more social media accounts I have found myself wanting a place I can easily browse these assets by project. I have also found myself thinking in the future of hiring someone to assist with this part of my business.
In my situation it would be more important for this person to have organizational, marketing and copywriting skills than graphic design skills.
So this is when I started looking at Canva, Easil and Cello.
My main requirements were as follows:
- Multiple “Brand Kits” – Brand kits allow you to upload logos, images, set colors and fonts for each brand you manage.
- Project or Folders to organize campaigns and seasonal elements.
- Collaboration – I can invite others to edit projects.
- Competitive pricing
- Templates – quality templates for when something needs to get out fast or just for inspiration
- *Bonus* – Animated templates or functionality.
Cello and Canva were immediately out of the running due to Easil allowing me to access their team functions (which includes multiple brand kits) with their lowest tier plan ($9.99/month). Canva requires their $30/month plan for multiple brand kits while Cello has just started to roll out their team functionality.
Let me say for a larger team, Easil’s team management is top notch. It allows you to lock parts of your templates and bakes in team leader approval and feedback. If I was managing a larger group, it would likely be my tool of choice.
Other than Easil’s collaboration tools, I found each to be about equal with their own quirks and bonuses.
I am getting off track here!
With my bi-yearly audit I have also been taking a hard look at my Adobe CC subscription and debating a switch to their photography plan and this is when I opened Spark for the first time.
I was immediately intrigued.
The first thing I did was see if I could add multiple brands and I could!
My next step was to try out their editor. I chose a Pinterest post template at random and opened it up.
This is where it got me.
They have tons of cool features in here.
This button will take any template and recolor and add your fonts and logo and it is pretty great. Its not a miracle worker, you will have to make some adjustments afterwards but it gives you a really quick idea if something will work with your brand or has the feel you are going for.
You can keep on clicking brandify and it will cycle through different versions using your brand colors and fonts.
Similar to the brandify button this allows you to mash together elements from two different templates. Results ranged to awful to pretty great so this is definitely a tool that has limited uses.
You can see in my example below it is not quite sure what to do with those overlapping shapes from the original. I am excited to see how this feature improves in the future.
At this point I started reading through features and there are more AI bells and whistles that are meant to inspire and save time. One I am looking forward to trying is the suggested layouts based on the copy you provide.
Still lots to test!
Today is my first day using Spark so I am sure I will have plenty of thoughts moving forward. Over the next week I plan on digging in more and testing out their collaboration tools in particular.
It may turn out there are some deal breakers in there somewhere, but so far I am impressed!
Stay tuned for part two, which I will write up once I have been using Spark longer.
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