Our Favorite (and free!) Design Tools

Running a business is hard. You want growth which requires risk, but that can be difficult when your dreams are of a national corporation but your budget is that of a mom and pop store. Luckily, there are some great tools that can help you enhance the quality of your advertising that won't break the bank. In fact, you won't even need to go to the bank because all of these are F-R-E-E. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Canva (https://www.canva.com)
    Canva is a great, easy to use tool for graphic design. It's user friendly and has a simple layout so the learning curve is small. It offers templates, automated sizes for different types of platforms, tons of fonts, shapes, and an integration for stock photos. There are upgrade options for a fee (more templates and graphics, ability to collaborate with team members, and different file download options), but the free trial can take you miles. If you know you need to incorporate graphics somehow but have little time or little design know-how, this is worth checking out!
  2. Pixlr (https://pixlr.com/x/)
    Pixlr is probably the closest free tool to Photoshop we've seen; even more so with the latest updates. It offers extensive photo editing options, and because it works in layers, it's easy to remove portions of pictures, clone aspects, and make backgrounds transparent. They also offer fun options, like the ability to add borders and stickers. There is a little bit more of a learning curve, but the layout is user friendly and, for the little time you'd have to invest in learning the program, it's definitely worth it.
  3. Figma (https://figma.com)
    If you're looking for a design tool, then Figma is worth checking out. There are free basic packages and it's a user-friendly way to put your skills to the test. It offers loads of options that have a very photoshop-type feel (like layers and elements) but in a much simpler format. It also allows for team collaboration so you can gather feedback from other people.
  4. Snapseed
    Snapseed is probably one of the best photo editing apps we've seen. It offers your basic options like cropping and image tuning but provides extra features like photo filters, effects, text, frames, and more with a tap of the finger. This app also lets you do basic spot healing on portions of a picture which is what sets it apart from a lot of other photo editing applications. It's available for both iOS and Android devices.
  5. Ripl
    If you need a few basic and simple videos then creating with Ripl could be a fantastic option. You can simply choose the pictures you want to use, pick from a couple of standard video options, add text or emojis, and you're done! Videos created from the free plan are stamped with the Ripl logo, so if that is something you want to avoid then you can pay for the upgraded version. It does most of the work for you, so no video knowledge is required.

We think these are great tools worth looking into. If you're interested in trying your hand at them with little to no cost involved except your time, this is a great place to start.