A compelling digital signage system also needs engaging content. However, creating graphic content can be a daunting task, especially for those with little design experience. Fortunately, there are numerous easy-to-use online apps for creating graphics and videos for beginners. Online or cloud-based services have the advantage that users do not need to install any software, they are always up-to-date and you can work from any location and across teams. This makes them particularly suitable for marketing teams in SMEs. Here are our top five cloud-based services (this is not a ranking and these are not affiliate links).
Simplified is one of the fastest growing tools on the market and rightly so: in addition to powerful graphic design and video tools, it also offers AI-supported apps for text and image generation.
With the integrated DALL-E from OpenAI, you can create customised images in no time at all. But it doesn't stop there: Artificial intelligence (AI) can also be used to create presentations, colour palettes, thumbnails, videos, chatbots and much more at the touch of a button. Although it still requires a bit of tinkering, the results are certainly impressive and definitely a promising feature for the future.
But even those who prefer to work old-school and prefer to create their graphics and videos by hand will quickly find their way around thanks to the intuitive user interface and will soon be impressed by the thousands of templates and many setting and animation options.
With the team sharing function, several team members can be added depending on the paid subscription, which allows you to work even more efficiently in parallel.
You can tell that the tool was produced by designers and developed with love.
For fear of losing too many users to the trendy online tools, Adobe launched its own cloud-based tool in 2016 called Adobe Express - also powered by AI!
If you already have a Creative Cloud account, you can log in directly and enjoy the Pro version. As usual, you can access all Adobe projects via the cloud, whereby .psd and .ai files can also be easily imported. Although these are only displayed as an image file, you can switch directly to the corresponding app for editing at the touch of a button and then back to Express, where the image file is then updated.
In addition to a highly appealing design/user interface and powerful image editing tools, the long-established design company has integrated its in-house AI Adobe Firefly. Unlike most AI tools, Firefly has been trained using only licensed images and public domain content. This makes it a brand-safe option for businesses and commercial design work.
Canva is probably the best-known all-in-one design platform because it has been playing in the top league of online design tools for over a decade now and should therefore not be missing from this list. Not least because the veteran also integrated AI at the end of 2022.
Canva is an all-in-one design platform that lets you create your photos, videos and presentations using its extensive collection of ready-made templates and components. Canva makes it easy (and fast) to update old content or develop a new design by allowing users to create branded kits and invite teams to share and modify the material.
Canva is one of the best options if you want to provide your marketing team with a straightforward, cost-effective solution that makes it easy to create and modify content. Thanks to its intuitive interface and extensive library of free assets, you can quickly create your unique content. Integration with DS Services gives you complete control over the creation of powerful, meaningful digital signage content.
Piktochart cannot keep up with the above-mentioned providers in terms of image editing and the lack of a video creation tool, but the software is convincing in the area of infographics, presentations and diagrams and is therefore particularly suitable for internal communication.
Piktochart describes itself as being focused on enabling users to create infographics that are suitable for web publishers and can act as standalone multimedia content. Piktochart offers over 600 templates that users can edit or customise as required using advanced features.
The current version of Piktochart, released in 2017, includes an HTML publisher that allows users to create visual representations that can be displayed online or embedded into a website, and allows the user to include multiple interactive elements such as charts, videos, map visualisations and animated icons.
Although the company advertises video creation functions on its website, these are only screen recordings in the social media sector.
Visme is the new rising star in the design tool sky. The all-in-one platform for creating presentations, documents, data visualisations, videos and other brand content is impressively versatile and powerful.
A key benefit of Visme is the ability to create interactive digital signage content. Visme offers a range of interactive features such as animations and clickable elements that can be used to create engaging digital signage content. The export functions also include HTML5 or you can send your work directly with a URL.
Visme is on a par with the tools mentioned above in terms of graphic design, video creation and the number of templates and setting options. Images can also be generated here using AI (but only in beta version).
Visme definitely has the potential to play at the very top. Especially if they improve in terms of AI.
All the tools presented here are fairly similar in terms of structure and handling. The choice of the right tool therefore depends on your desired content format and preferred way of working.
One disadvantage of such online tools is that (a) you always have to be online and (b) in the event of insufficient bandwidth or interruptions, the storage may not work correctly and progress may be lost.
Overall, such online tools are ideal for short, simple projects from design beginners to advanced designers. For design professionals, they are often too limited in terms of artistic freedom.
Do you have questions about online creation tools or are you looking for high-quality content for your digital signage system? As digital signage and content creation experts, we will be happy to advise and help you. Do not hesitate and contact us at any time!