Custom made with the SUPER! app

5 (Free) Apps to Stir Up Your Creative Juices

This post was originally published by HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes on the LinkedIn Influencer blog. Follow Ryan on LinkedIn:

One of the best books I’ve read recently is “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration.” Co-written by Ed Catmull (the president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios), it’s full of brilliant business lessons on how to build creative culture that benefits organizations.

At Hootsuite, we’ve discovered over the years that many of our best ideas and campaigns have come from thinking freely and creatively. I know that actively encouraging fun and creativity at work has contributed to our success to date. On the other hand, after reading Creativity, Inc., I wished such a book had been around 15 years ago, so I could have done more to be creative in my previous ventures. If you’re running a business or are leading a team, I highly recommend you check the book out.

Meanwhile, one great (and low-effort) way to stay in touch with your creative side for work and life is a new generation of apps that give you some seriously nifty tools to unleash your inner artist. My favourites are below—all intuitive to use and, as a bonus, free.

SUPER!: Your opinion becomes a work of art.

SUPER! is an easy-to-use app that lets you share your opinions—with visual pizzazz. How it works: First, you write a statement about anything. (If you’re stuck on what to say, SUPER! gives you snippets to get you started, like: “The best/worst…” “I love…” “Here’s the thing…” “My favorite…” etc.) Then, SUPER! automatically generates a personalized background and color theme based on what you wrote. You can go with what it gives you, or adjust as you like, from choosing a totally different background to changing the text color. Once complete, your snazzy new opinion gets shared on your SUPER! feed and you can share it out across any of your social networks. When looking at others SUPER! updates within the app, you can swipe to the right to see a post’s author, or to the left to like or share the post. While I’m still not entirely convinced of the long-term viability of SUPER!, for now I’m digging my new eye-catching, pop-art influenced social media updates.

PHHHOTO: Make your own moving photos.

If Instagram and Vine got married and had a baby, it would probably look a lot like PHHHOTO. This addictive app lets you easily create shareable, one-second GIFs. These fun, animated images can be either black and white or color, with a caption of without. PHHHOTO also lets users like or comment on others’ moving images within the app or share them out to their Instagram and other social accounts.

Gifit: Say it with a GIF!

We’re in the midst of a GIF boom. So mainstream have these simple, looping digital images become that they’re being used by famous brands like Burberry and Amazon for marketing campaigns. The New York Times even published a full feature on the phenomenon. For individual users who are using GIFs as fun, sassy ways to communicate with each other, Gifit is one of the best tools out there. To find the perfect GIF, all you have to do is put in a search term (or choose from a variety of pre-curated categories like ‘awesome’ ‘yawn’ ‘whatever’ ‘FML’ ‘Suck it’) and watch the best GIFs on the Internet appear on your phone screen. When you see one that stands out, simply hold your finger down on the image to see it. Then tap it to share it or save it.

Steller: Tell your story with photos, video and text.

Ever wanted to write a book?Steller is a fantastic new app that can help you realize that dream. Steller empowers regular folks to turn their words, photos and videos into simple but beautiful digital storybooks (complete with flipping pages). When you’re finished creating your masterpiece, you can share your story on Facebook or Twitter and through Stellar’s own network within the app. Steller’s vision, according to Co-Founder Jay Wilder, is to build “the best storytelling community that’s out there.” It’s off to a great start, judging by some great recent contributions, like the heartwarming story about Meatball, the puppy with cerebral palsy who defied the odds.

Phonto: Contrary to the popular saying, photos don’t always speak a thousand words.

Like great advertisements, sometimes it takes just the right combination of words and text to make the most powerful statement. (Case in point: Recognize any of these iconic print ads?) Phonto is a free, easy-to-use app that lets you add text to your photos. With hundreds of font styles to choose from, you can use Phonto to create something really unique, whether it’s a caption or an inspirational poster-style image you want to share with your friends.

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