For professional looking design, Adobe Creative Suite products such as InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop are feature-rich tools you can use to create stunning projects. But using them isn't cheap. Creative Cloud, which gives you Web access to these software offerings is $50 a month, and even if you only need InDesign you'll have to shell out $20 a month. And most people can't just pick these programs up and start cranking out beautiful creative--there can be a steep learning curve in using them.
Lucidpress, a Web-based, drag-and-drop design app, launched today in beta as a simple-to-use alternative to some of these costly and more complex offerings.
It includes 75 templates for creating paper or digital newsletters, brochures, annual reports and the like. The interface is easy enough to figure out, and in a few clicks you can have a new creation started, plug in copy, and drag and drop modules to customize layout.
Lucidpress includes collaboration features so you can share a document with team members, who can respond in a chat window alongside the editing pane. While you can use the platform to create printed campaigns, it's integrated with Google Drive, Dropbox, Flickr, YouTube and Facebook so you can pull text, photos and videos from them for use on a digital campaign optimized for viewing on mobile devices, as well.
The idea is that a company can use the digital output it creates on Lucidpress on its own website, paste it into an email, or the more likely scenario in which users promote a custom URL that takes audiences to an "immersive viewer."
With its beta launch Lucidpress will initially be free, although Lucid Software, the company that created it, says at some point it will move to a freemium model similar to what it charges for its Lucidchart Web app for creating visual diagrams and charts, which offers plans ranging from free to several dollars a month per user.