There are plenty of graphic design tools out there, from big guns like Photoshop and Illustrator to free online options like Canva and Piktochart. And each of them appeals to a particular audience. But a new design tool called Crello bills itself as the “The Easiest Way to Design” and “A Graphic Design Tool for Everyone.”
Those are some big claims. Does it live up to the hype? Can Crello really turn anyone into a graphic designer? We took some time to find out.
What Is Crello?
Crello is a simple graphic design tool made by Depositphotos, a stock photography company. It lets you choose templates that you can then customize with new backgrounds, different styles of text, lines, borders, stickers, icons and more.
The graphic design templates are grouped by size, so you can get images that are designed specifically for Facebook and other social media, common dimensions for blogs, cards, posters, flyers, and other sizes. Once you’ve chosen a template, you can use the typefaces selected by Crello’s designers, or you can start from scratch.
You can also search the Crello photo database and use any of their free or $0.99 photos as the backdrop for your design.
If you’ve used Canva or Pablo, you’ll be familiar with the process. It’s almost exactly the same in capabilities, design process, and revenue model.
Free Graphic Design in a Flash
To test it out, I thought I’d use Crello to make a poster for a mountain bike event (I have no graphic design background whatsoever). I started by choosing the “Poster US” size:
After that, I was able to choose from around 200 different poster templates, all for free:
I decided on this one as it captures the nature-y feeling I’m going for (and I love the multiple shades of green):
After that, it was a simple matter of clicking on the various lines of text to edit them. Simply clicking on each text box brought up a very convenient options pane:
Changing the size, typeface, alignment, and color is easy as a few clicks. After just a few minutes, I had a completely customized poster:
Sure, it doesn’t look exactly professional — it’s not a shining example of color theory, and there wasn’t a mountain bike icon, so I had to settle for a road bike — but for a couple minutes of work, it’s not bad!
And if you use the included typefaces and font sizes from a template, you can expect really great results. The templates look phenomenal.
Of course, you can start from scratch too. Just add an image, apply a filter, and start adding text and icons.
The interface couldn’t get much simpler. Everything is just a couple clicks away.
And if you can’t figure something out, there’s a useful how-to guide full of walkthrough videos:
Is Crello the Tool for Everyone?
Crello is entering a crowded marketplace. Canva, Piktochart, DesignBold, Stencil, Snappa, Pablo, and lots of other options are out there offering pretty much the same functionality. And “A Graphic Design Tool for Everyone” is a pretty bold claim. Let’s see if it’s backed up.
I’ve already mentioned that there’s a huge number of templates. Most of them are really nice-looking too. It seems like it’s going to be tough to beat Crello on templates… until you look at Canva. Just the template type list is impressive. Menus, infographics, book covers, resumes, even recipe cards — it has everything.
Crello is more focused on social media-friendly and marketing posts, which is probably why many people are looking for a tool like this in the first place. There certainly are other types of templates. But the selection is much more limited than what you’ll find on other similar sites.
What about images? If you want to create your own graphic from scratch, you’ll probably want to find the perfect image as the background. Crello certainly has a lot of images that you can use, but I found it difficult to find free images that fit my needs. Whenever I ran a search, it would only show paid options in the results.
For example, I found a free image of a jellyfish and then typed “jellyfish” into the search bar. That image didn’t show up in the search results — there were only $0.99 photos displayed, which I thought was a rather user-unfriendly feature.
That being said, there are a ton of photos available if you’re willing to shell out a buck.
Icons don’t seem to have the same problem. A search for “bike” showed up with a number of free icons. Whether this is all by design or not, it can be annoying when you’re trying to find the perfect image.
The Backgrounds tab gives you a few free illustrated options and offers lots of paid options as well.
Beyond the paid/free image issue, everything else provides a very smooth experience. Adding text and icons is super simple, and downloading and sharing are simple. You can save your projects and come back to them later, too. And the “Inspiration” images can help you get an idea of what sort of graphic you’re trying to make.
Crello doesn’t offer as many options as some of the other available graphic design tools out there. But if you’re aiming primarily for the marketing and social media crowd, that’s okay. That doesn’t really make it the “tool for everyone,” but it’s still a decent choice and gives you a solid amount of free functionality. If you’re willing to pay a couple bucks here and there for your designs, you’ll get even more out of it.
In the end, it’s still a young app and could get a lot more versatile with time. It’s off to a good start, and it has the chance to be great.
Have you used Crello? What did you like or dislike about it? How does it compare to other similar services? Share your thoughts in the comments below!