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Create a Snowfall-style layout in minutes with Adobe's free app

Ever since the invention of the world wide web, designers and writers have been trying to create a digital experience that both replicates and enhances the feel of a print magazine. From apps like Flipboard to the Snowfall design movement, audiences have been wowed by the increasingly smooth interplay of words, pictures and video, along with clever use of parallax scrolling, from some of the leaders in the field.

All of this involves a lot of HTML5 and CSS3 wizardry of course, and so it's been beyond the reach of designers who don't code. Well until now, that is.

Building on the success of Adobe Voice, an app for creating animated videos released last year, Adobe Slate offers a way to create dynamic, digital magazine-style layouts, in minutes.

Slate screenshot

Different 'themes' (shown on the right) bring together layout styles, typography and colours that work naturally together

Notably, the intuitive interface provides you with access to a range of pro fonts via Typekit and you can apply some pretty swish scrolling transitions too.

If you don't have any images of your own, Slate provides you with a library of Creative Commons images you can use for free. The app even automatically adds the picture credit to keep everything legit.

Slate screenshot

It's hugely simplified to appeal to non-designers, but designers may well find it useful too

The HTML5 content the app creates is fully responsive, meaning it automatically adapts to any device for a good reading experience on tablets, smartphones or desktop computers. Once you've completed your 'story' there are buttons to share it across social networks or you can just copy and paste the URL as you see fit.

It all looks very impressive, and best of all it's free. As in absolutely free: you don't need a Creative Cloud subscription in case you were wondering.

Slate screenshot

Slate makes it easy to share content across social media

One last thing. Adobe seem to be primarily aiming this app at non-designers: their press material mentions "students, teachers, non-profit organizations, small business owners". But we reckon even pro web designers might find this handy for creating quick mockups and the like.

Anyway, we'd love to hear what you think...

Slate screenshot

Leveraging an advanced Adobe animation engine, Adobe Slate makes words and images move with automatically applied scrolling transitions

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Tom May

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. He is author of Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books. He was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine.