Studio Design: Remix Your Photos

When you see all of those super sleek photos pop up on Instagram or Facebook, with the fancy text and bewitching graphic stickers, are you overcome with more than a little jealousy and maybe even a bit of self-loathing because you know you’ll never be able to create such a refined and eminently shareable image yourself? Yeah, that’s my whole life.

Studio Design may restore some of my self esteem. I’ll put its adorable overlays and oodles of fonts to the test.

Make Your Pictures Pop

Tap the plus sign to create a new image. Studio Design gives you the option of snapping a new picture, choosing an image from your albums, or starting blank with no picture at all. Let’s stop for a moment and realize how cool that is, because that’s pretty cool. There are so many sweet doodles, textures, crops, and other overlays in Studio Design, you can just create an entire image from scratch.

Find an image and start adding overlays.

Find an image and start adding overlays.

If you do choose to add a picture, Studio Design will crop it to a jaunty square. Zoom your picture or shift it around, and there are some handy tools for nudging your pic back and forth or up and down if you can’t get it placed just right with your giant, mammoth fingers.

From there, spin the picture around, 5 degrees at a time so you can get it perfectly straightened, or flip it horizontally or vertically. There are some brightness and contrast attributes, along with some filters, but I found them all to be a bit unwieldy, and it’s not easy to undo your changes and return to you original photo.

The fun stuff is the overlays, which are all sorts of stamps and text features. Tap the plus sign up top to access them, and then hit Add Overlay. Studio Design comes with plenty of overlays, categorized into Basic and Misc. You can view each overlay category as a list or a collection of thumbnails, which makes it easy to choose just what you want. When you’ve found just the right overlay, tap it to add it to your image.

From there you can edit the overlay. Zoom it in or out, drag it around, or give it a nudge, the same as you can with your base photo. Flip it and spin it around, too. Tap the paintbrush to change your overlay’s color, and there are a ton of colors available. Pull on the slider if you want to turn down the opacity.

When you're done, save and share your pic.

When you’re done, save and share your pic.

You can add as many overlays as you want like this, and they’ll act just like layers. If you just really make something horribly ugly and want to take it all back, you can delete an entire layer rather than hitting an undo button about a million times or, worse, having to trash your whole creation. Studio Design will also create duplicates of layers, so if you’re trying to populate a forest scene with a dozen friendly bees, most of your work is done with your first bee overlay. Take a gander at how your image would look without an overlay by tapping the overlay’s thumbnail and turning that layer off.

Layers of Layers

I’m pretty much sold on Studio Design’s overlays. I love how they work as layers, so it’s easy to return to an overlay over and over again to re-edit it or even remove it. While that feature is available in lots of apps that allow you to add stickers to your photos, it can be clumsy and often relies on your ability to tap exactly the right spot on the screen to select just the right layer to edit. The layer panel makes it so much easier to return to what your were doing a few minutes ago and access everything at once.

Download more layers, and delete a layer if you goof up.

Download more layers, and delete a layer if you goof up.

You’ll get a bunch of overlays on download, but there are a bunch more you can get with in-app purchases. How many you get with each purchase really depends on the pack, but there’s a sports-themed set for $0.99 that includes almost 80 stamps. That’s nothing to shake a stick at, and I was even able to snag a couple of embellishment packs for free.

The Social Side

Unless you set your photos to private in Studio Design’s account settings, all of your images will be shared to the Studio Design social network when you save. This is more than just another place to stick your pics, though, because not only can you ooh and ahh over everyone else’s masterpieces, but you can also remix their shared images. It’s a really collaborative network of strangers admiring each other’s designs.

Share your new image to Studio Design's social network.

Share your new image to Studio Design’s social network.

If that’s not your bag, though, you can share your photo to all of the usual places, including Instagram. Save your photo to your Camera Roll, and keep it forever if the spirit moves you. From there you can do with it whatever you’d like.

Final Thoughts

I’m a big fan of Studio Design and have been using the app almost constantly since I first discovered it a few weeks ago. I just love all of the overlays and how easy it is to edit them and even delete them if I need to. I wish I could more easily control the look of my original image, though, as the controls for brightness and all the rest aren’t as responsive as I’d like and can be a bit tough to manage, forcing me to look to other apps to fine tune my base picture.

Still, Studio Design is a simple way to make my images look pretty fancy without a lot of effort on my part. I love exporting my images to my other accounts and sharing them with my friends, watching as the compliments on my good taste and superb editing skills roll in. Studio Design is absolutely a must download for anyone who wants to freshen up their Instagram feed or fool their friends into thinking they’ve got real design chops.


Great app for creating an remixing photo designs.