Are you planning a website overhaul?
Or do you need better images for your blog and social media posts?
Today’s online world has an endless array of tools and apps that can help you quickly and easily put together something that looks like your hired a professional to design it. Many of these are free while others are a very low cost alternative to expensive software.
You can create something on the go with your tablet or smart phone or right from your computer, which can be stored in the cloud for later use. There may be those times that you do need to hire a professional for more complex work, but for the simple stuff check out these 5 graphics tools you can start using today!
This is my number one pick for several reasons:
- It’s easy to use whether you are a novice or an expert
- The free version has a ton options
- There are hundreds of free images, icons, and vector graphics to choose from
- You can create just about anything including social media images for each network, flyers, .pdf’s, infographics, posters, and more
- Your work is always saved in the cloud for easy access on a tablet or computer
- Choose from a large selection of templates and fonts
These are just some of the great features this online software has to offer. I also love their background story! Canva began in 2012 when Melanie Perkins, a graphic design teacher, wanted to make online design easier for her students. At first she and co-founder, Cliff Obrecht, named their new tool, Fusion Books. Enter Cameron Adams, who helped them bring Canva to the masses.
Today Canva has over 10 million users worldwide with over 100 million designs created! This is a must-have resource to add to your toolbox.
Graphic by Autodesk
Number two on my go-to list is Graphic, which is a simplified alternative to Adobe Photoshop. The best part is you’ll love the low price! Buy it through your iTunes account and download to your apps on your iPhone, iPad or Apple computer. These are the features that really stand out:
- Fully featured vector design and illustration
- Easily edit .psd files with layers (even if they were created in Photoshop)
- Export to multiple file formats at .jpg, .png, and .gif
- Open .pdf files and transform them into graphics
- Adjust size, colors, and other important edits
When I first purchased this software it was called, iDraw. Since it has been updated there are even more amazing features. I am not a freelance designer by trade, and so this was the perfect fit for me when I get those occasional file edit requests from clients.
The third pick is something I have yet to try — but looks oh so simple for creating ads for your website and social media. It’s called, Bannersnack, and offers design creations that can be used for places like Google Adwords and Facebook/Instagram. Some of the features include:
- Single or multiple banners
- Quick and easy design with their online tool
- High quality web-friendly fonts
- Top quality stock photos
- Clipart and shapes
- Social media headers
- Embed codes for tracking
This is a one-stop shop for all of your banner and advertising needs. It’s free to sign up and get started with paid options available if you don’t want to include their watermark.
If you want your website to stand out and be unique to your personality or brand then you’ll enjoy this fourth tool, Google Fonts. Google is all about making things simple, and so they have made available free, open-source fonts to choose from for the web. Here’s what’s included:
- Test fonts in 135 different languages
- Analytics and demographics data
- A large selection of themes
- Share customized collections
- Optimized and streamlined typography
- No licensing or hosting fee
- Helps your website run faster
You could probably get lost for hours testing out all of the different themes and variations, but with such a large selections you’re bound to find something really amazing for your website. Once you find what you need just click on the selection and use their embed code in your header document or specify in CSS.
I couldn’t believe it when I landed upon this free website, and so that’s why I’m including it as my fifth pick. I have found hundreds of amazing photos from Unsplash, which is updated daily. The photographs are top quality and come from a large selection of topics. You can easily:
- Explore collections or create your own
- Search for a specific photo
- Choose from a selection from a particular photographer
- Save your favorites
- Upload your own photos
This resource actually began three years ago on Tumblr, and has now grown to be a leading go-to source for free, stock photography. I love discovering each day all of the different images available, and being able to credit the photographer in what I am sharing.
Now over to you — what graphics tools have you used the most?