Crafters, hobbyists and dabbling designers don't necessarily need a program with the depth of Photoshop or CorelDRAW to complete projects. Rather than deep features, user-friendliness and a template-based interface may fit your needs better than a tool that requires the technical proficiency and imaging knowledge of a professional photographer. Broderbund's Print Shop has a reputation for ease of use, but several similar programs also utilize template- and wizard-based design. Viable Print Shop alternatives include Laughingbird Design Suite, LunaPic, Fatpaint and Photoshop Elements.
LaughingBird Design Suite
LaughingBird Design Suite is a wizard-based design program to create logos for print and for the Web. Design Suite's Web logo features include support for creating Flash-based animated logos and banner ads. The suite also includes 95 editable themes for creating matching business cards and letterhead. LaughingBird Design Suite works on Windows and Mac OS 10.6 and under. A pared-down version is available for the iPhone and iPad. As of the date of publication, the developer is planning to release a free update that will allow current users to run Design Suite on Mac OS X Lion.
Fatpaint is a Web-based graphic design program that runs in a browser using Java. Like Print Shop, Fatpaint includes numerous templates. Though the upfront investment is zero, as the tool is free to use, Fatpaint no longer allows users to save JPG or PNG versions of projects for free. To save your design or print it on paper or on another medium you will have to pay for Fatpaint's digital printing services. Rates vary depending on the simplicity of your design, the chosen medium and how many copies you would like. When using Fatpaint, be careful not to close your browser, as all changes you have made to your design will be lost.
LunaPic is a Web-based design program. Unlike Fatpaint, LunaPic is mostly focused on creating images for the Web. The program includes drawing and painting tools, clip art and digital scrap-booking elements such as borders, icons and dialog bubbles. Due to its ad-supported model, LunaPic offers more options for saving work than Fatpaint. By default, users can export work to GIF, JPG, PNG, BMP, PDF, SWF animation, MPG and AVI video and favicon formats. Additionally, you can post images to Twitter, MySpace and Picassa directly from LunaPic's "Save Image" interface.
Photoshop Elements is a simplified version of Photoshop for the home user. It comes with a tool for managing collections of images, and a tool for image editing. The image editing allows users to draw, add text to images and run a limited number of filters. Photoshop Elements provides templates and wizards not found in the full version of Photoshop, and can export images directly to a number of Web-based image hosting and printing services. These services include Costco One-Hour Photo for digital prints, Shutterfly for scrapbooks, the U.S. Postal Service for PhotoStamps and KodakGallery for greeting cards.
- Broderbund: The Print Shop 3.0 Professional
- LaughingBird Software: Create Your Own Graphics with our Graphics Making Software
- LaughingBird Software: The Design Suite
- LunaPic Editor
- Adobe: Photoshop Elements
- Adobe: Partners and Offers
- FatPaint: Create Graphic Design, Page Layout, Vector and Pixel Images, Logos and Illustrations