3 Online Collage Tools for Creating Magazine-Style Layouts

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Fashion magazines create such a distinct look with their photo spreads: white backgrounds, with artfully arranged pieces that fit a particular theme, each one numbered clearly, with a key at the bottom describing the item, its provenance, and its cost. You know them when you see them, and they're much more attractive to look at than the endless cascade of rectangles that you might see on a fashion-themed Pinterest board.

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When I saw that other Apartment Therapy writers had thought to use this magazine style layout for posts, I got excited. The two “Get This Tech Look” posts paired tech with fashions from Uniqlo and J. Crew, respectively.

How could I do that myself, I wondered. Suddenly a memory surfaced, as if from a bygone era: a site devoted to letting budding fashionistas create their own fashion spreads, called Polyvore. I turned to Google, and learned that not only is Polyvore still around, it launched a new iPhone app that lets you create these layouts on the go. In fact, there are several high-quality web services now available for curating one’s own magazine-style fashion spreads populated with clothing and accessories.

Though it turns out that Apartment Therapy contributors are mostly using Photoshop to create their pretty collages, I was interested to find I could curate my own collections in a visually pleasing way without the repetitive eye-strain sometimes caused by Pinterest.


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PolyvorePolyvore’s style collage sharing network on Polylvore.com has been updated with all the social media trimmings you’d expect: “likes,” “follows,” and the ability share collages on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. But its the recently-launched free iPhone app—and its ability to assemble fashion sets on the go—that caught my eye. I was able to easily add clothing and accessory items of all kind to my themed sets, but even more exciting to me was that Polylvore includes gadgets as accessories within its fashion database. I was able to style an entire living room with furniture and technology in one set, and match a particular shade of green for all the gadgets in another set, all from my phone. The app then told me the price of each piece I had selected, and showed me where I could buy it online.


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StylebookThis app is similar to Polyvore, though it costs $3.99. The real difference, though, is that Stylebook’s aim is to gather up your entire personal wardrobe and allow you to create layouts out of pieces you already own. There are plenty of wardrobe-efficiency apps around—for example, Cloth is one we’ve taken a close look at previously—but this is the only one that lets you see what pieces you already own would look like when placed in an outfit with pieces you’re considering investing in by dropping shoppable items onto your collage page alongside your well worn duds.


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BoutineBoutine doesn’t have an app yet—for now its just a web browser-based tool. But unlike Stylebook and Polyvore, Boutine’s aim isn’t just to give you a space for making pretty layouts. It wants you to be able to make money off of them, too. If someone buys something that you placed on your collage (on Boutine they’re called boutiques), you get a 10% commission on the sale. Right now, Boutine doesn’t offer an enormous catalog of clothing items and accessories to choose from, but the company has only been live for about nine months.

(Images: Flickr user JLabMedia, licensed under Creative Commons, Rachel Rosmarin, Stylebook, Boutine)

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