How To Create Awesome Social Graphics With Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark is a new app from Adobe that allows users to create template based social media graphics (Spark Post), web stories (Spark Page) and animated videos (Spark Video) using a simple online interface.
If you’re like me, you often find yourself creating social media graphics from scratch in Photoshop (or with an Photoshop action set). It’s a time consuming pain, and to be honest – I’m not a graphic designer so most of my graphics look pretty ugly anyway.
I haven’t had a chance to use Spark Page or Spark Video yet, but in this article I thought I would take you through the step by step process of creating social media graphics with Spark Post and at the end I have a quick Adobe Spark review of my experience using it.
Adobe Spark is free, but you will need an Adobe ID, Google or Facebook login. Currently, there are only browser and iOS based versions – no Android.
To get started, click on Post which will bring you to a screen asking you what you want to say and to select an image size (I usually size my social media graphics for Facebook since the aspect ratio and resolution of a Facebook photo works well across most social media networks).
Spark Post will then open with your text and image size with a default theme template.
I think it’s easiest to select a background image before deciding on a text layout, so the next step is to click on “Photo” at the top right and then “Replace”.
You can manually upload a new photo directly from your computer, or Spark Post can also sync directly with Creative Cloud, Lightroom, Dropbox and Google Photos.
I think the best option here is to use images directly from your Lightroom catalog – that way you don’t have to worry about the extra step of exporting and re-importing – and you don’t have to worry about image resolution.
However, only images that are in a Lightroom Collection will be available. Since Lightroom Mobile also uses Collections to sync images online, it is worth organizing some of your images into Collections anyway.
Next you can choose a different theme (click “Theme”), or update the options for your text manually by selecting “Text”.
In the “Text” menu you can scroll through a number of style selections, or manually choose the Shape, Color, Font, Spacing, Alignment and Opacity of your text. You can also resize and reposition your text here.
Quick tip: clicking on the “Spacing” and “Align” options will toggle through various options – which also change depending on the size and aspect ratio of your text box.
You also have the option to change the color palette of your graphic – click on “Palette” and Spark will suggest a number of suggested palettes that are based on the colors in your selected photo. Clicking on a palette multiple times will scroll through the different color options available (it can be a little tricky to get the color combination you want).
Once you have the text and background image looking the way you want, you can go back to “Photo” and see if any of the available filters work with your graphic. Again, clicking on a filter multiple times will scroll through the various options available.
When you’re done, click “Share”, enter your author information and create a link. Now you can post your new social media graphic directly to Facebook, Twitter or share via email. You can also download the image file to manually post online (like uploading to a blog or webpage).
Here is my finished social media graphic:
Adobe Spark Review
Overall I like the concept of Adobe Spark – creating simple, good looking social media graphics is a time consuming pain and Spark makes it much easier.
Spark is also free – so despite the few issues I have with it – its free.
I don’t understand why app developers still insist on releasing new products without Android support – clearly Spark Post would be extremely handy to create and post social media graphics directly from a mobile device – but right now only iOS is supported (along with the browser version).
Directly linking with Lightroom and Dropbox is a nice touch that makes it easy to grab photos. There are also built in snaps so its really easy to align elements within a composition.
I found the process of creating social media graphics with Spark to be a little more complicated than it needs to be. It’s pretty straightforward – but I just got the feeling that a more linear step by step wizard style process would streamline the task of creating social media graphics. In a way there are too many options – the whole premise of Spark is to save time and the more user control there is the more time it takes to create a finished graphic (if I wanted user control, I would use Photoshop).
Finally, there is one major flaw with Adobe Spark that is a dealbreaker for me.
Spark strips out the metadata from your finished graphics. There is really no excuse for this – especially since Spark can sync directly with Lightroom – so it has access to the full metadata embedded within your original photos (such as critical information like Copyright Status, Creator, Title and Keyword Tags).
While I understand that most social media networks will strip out the metadata anyway (and if you share the Spark link, it includes the name and user photo you entered when you created the link), but keeping the metadata intact is fundamental to protecting your copyright and SEO – especially since the whole purpose of Spark is to share graphics online!
(I guess metadata is an ongoing beef with me – how hard can it possibly be for software developers to invent a way to lock metadata to images and video so that all useage can be tracked?)
What Do You Think?
Have you tried Adobe Spark?
What did you think of it?
Leave a comment below and let us know!
JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand. To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube. JP’s photography is available for licensing at Stocksy United.