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Today’s post is the third of a 4-part series that started with DesignCap’s review. The series explores three online photo editing sites — websites that can help you create stunning visuals and offer a free version.

Fotor review | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

How Fotor can help you

Fotor is an online application offering an array of design functions: you can edit your own photos, you can create a collage of your own photos, or you can design graphic material like blog banners for personal or commercial use.

It is a very pleasant, easy to navigate application, which also provides tips, instructions and tutorials at every step of the process. This makes navigating the application quite easy even if you are a beginner.

Ready-Made Templates

Fotor review | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Fotor has a very large number of readymade templates for any type of social media (including etsy), as well as printables (menus, flyers, posters etc).

  • Templates are categorized first by dimension (facebook, flyer etc), then by meaningful categories that are easy to search.
  • Fotor has a good number of fresh and happy illustrated templates. These are ideal for contemporary fiction, chick lit, cozy and other genres that use illustration more than photos. Many “our wedding” templates could be great for romance books, too. If you are into any of the above genres, it is worth having a look at Fotor.
  • Fotor also has lots of inspirational templates. If you like to publish inspirational posts on your social media, you may find some great ideas here, ready to use or to use with minor changes.
  • Finally, Fotor has a few bookcover templates. These are mostly good for non-fiction books. However, if you write fiction, you could use them to play around with ideas before you head to a cover design professional.

Many Fotor templates are made to be used as they are rather than to be changed. A large number of designs are very specific and it is not easy to modify them radically. So, although you can use many of them as inspiration and then do your thing, in many cases you should stick with the template and only perform minor modifications (like altering the text, replacing photos, and adding your book cover).

No Photo Library

Fotor has no photo library included. If you want to use photos in your template, you either need to use the photos provided by each template, or import your own. Uploading your photos is quick and easy. Fotor saves them in the cloud for you to have them available for future projects.

Having said that, Dotor does have an extensive clipart and backgrounds library:

Clipart and Backgrounds Library

The clipart and background libraries are rich and extensive. You can change the colors of clipart (they are called stickers in Fotor) very easily, even multicolored ones. This is useful if you are using many stickers and you want them to look homogeneous.

The backgrounds and clipart library are one of the strong points of Fotor, compared to other online graphic design apps.

Fonts

The Fonts library contains fonts covering all the usual book genres.  They are presented in a list, like in Microsoft Office applications, without any categorization.

Theme Colors

Fotor review | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Fotor helps you a lot with colors. Whenever you edit the color of an element of the template, it first proposes you “color themes”. This way you can use the exact colors already used in the template, or their hues. If color coordination is not your strong point, Fotor could be a good choice for you, because it provides you with a safe guide to choose colors. It may not be the most creative approach to combining colors, but at least no one will have a seizure looking at your design.

How it works

Using Fotor is easy, pleasant and quite intuitive. Every step you take until you get to your editor screen, opens a new window on your browser. If you are not happy with what you are doing, simply close the window. Your previous steps are safe in other windows.

To start with your design, first choose a dimension, then a category, and finally a template. When you choose your template, Fotor opens a window with some simple and useful instructions on how to edit it.

Once you start editing your template, there is no going back. You cannot change neither dimensions nor your template without losing your work. So, choose wisely.

You can edit easily the template by changing photos, backgrounds, texts, fonts etc. You can undo-redo your edits like you would in Microsoft Office applications. You can upload photos and recolor them using preset variations, and easily layer backgrounds, photos, text etc.

Note that one of the main functions of Fotor is photo editing, which is a separate tool. The Edit tool has a very large number of options for recoloring, photoshoping, framing, and generally editing your photos. You could therefore edit your photos prior to working on your design, and have them ready for importing them.

From Fotor template…

Fotor review | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

To my own graphic for fb:

Fotor review | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Once you are happy with the result, you can save your creation, which downloads it in various formats and sizes, including jpg, png and transparent png, and pdf.

The minus

Fotor is generally a pleasant and easy to use application that guides you through steps and has simple, intuitive menus for editing your design. This makes it a great application even for a beginner.

However:

  • Incredibly enough, there is no photo library in Fotor. Or if there is, it is not obvious enough for me to locate it. If you need different photos for your backgrounds than the ones that come with the theme, you need to find them elsewhere and upload them.
  • Fotor is not an application specializing in books and therefore you may not find many templates immediately applicable to a visual support for a book or author. To fit your book cover in the design of your choice, you will probably need to alter the design’s inherent balance. However, it was the only one which did have book cover themes (albeit for non-fiction books).
  • Ideally, I would like to be able to change the type and dimensions of my designs by cropping, resizing, or just being able to copy from one type to the other. For example, I would like to be able to copy my Facebook post to an Instagram post or to a custom size design to create my Bookbub ad, without having to start all over again for the new type and size. This is not possible with Fotor.
  • Fotor constantly opens new windows in your browser. Keep these in check by closing the ones you don’t need to avoid confusion.

How much does it cost

Fotor has a level of service provided for free, but this really includes a very limited number of templates and designs. If you get a yearly subscription to FotorPro, you pay a mere $3.33 a month. A monthly subscription costs much more, at $8.99 a month.