7 Designing tools for the non-designer in you

7 Designing tools for the non-designer in you

7 Designing tools for the non-designer in you

Design is a fundamental part of any brand’s identity. Building a brand involves a lot of things, but one thing it involves the most is- design and creativity. While some of us have the knack for designing right since our childhood, some learn it over time. Mastering the sacred art of designing takes time and consistent efforts.


Designs are the foundation on which you build your brand. For any brand, in any field, design speaks more volume in their communication material. Apart from that, design is a vital part of digital marketing. In today’s digital world, design and visual communication is the key to attract your audience’s attention. There is no better tool than design to grab someone’s attention. Good design will grab your audience’s attention in an instance.


I cannot stress enough how important visual design is for any brand, especially in the digital space. Digital communication relies hugely on the visual and design element. However, hiring a good designer can burn a huge hole in your pocket. And if you wish to learn to the art of designing all by yourself, you will need to master design software like Illustrator & Photoshop. And to learn these design tools, you will be investing more than just money. You will also be investing your time, patience, and efforts in the learning process- Efforts that you can put somewhere else.


You cannot ignore how important design is for your business, neither can you let it slide from your branding and digital marketing efforts. But at the same time, you are not in a position to hire a professional graphic designer or even learn design tools yourself. This is quite a dilemma, isn’t it?


So how do you design while making sure you do not spend an extravagant amount on design software and tools?


The answer is rather simple.


In fact, I have 7 different design solutions that can help you to end your design woes. These design tools are easy-to-use, easy to understand and learn. They have tons of templates for you to practice your designing skills and sharpen them. Most of these design tools are free to use and have most things covered in the free version of the tool itself. But paying the premium can unlock features that can elevate your marketing materials.

 

• PicMonkey

 

A perfect place to start your design journey, PicMonkey is a free design tool and the easiest one in the list. The tool provides tons of design options for editing images, creating collages, and creating your design from scratch. People how have 0 familiarities with the designing world can start here, and that too, for free.


Once you sign up for the tool and find it useful, you can upgrade to the pro version to unlock more features. With a monthly fee starting from $7.99/month, you can unlock tons of exciting features. Features like removing the background, access to the stock library from iStock and Unsplash are included in the paid plan.


It also brings features like a stock library for video editing and trimming, image resizing tool and tons of templates for graphic designing and social media.


The design tool also has a mobile app which is completely free to use and allows users to edit photos and design on the go. While the desktop tool offers a 7-day free trial after which you can select between 3 different plans.

• BeFunky

 

BeFunky is an online design tool that does away with the complex mechanism of Illustrator or Photoshop. BeFunky is a free design tool that works on the freemium model. It brings the best of both worlds- image editing tools and graphic designing tools- in a simple package.


Once you have explored the design app and wish to give it a try, the premium costs $3.49/month or $34.68 if you opt for the annual subscription.


With the premium pack, you get the ability to remove objects from your image. You can also create your own image editing template and use them across different images, all at once. The premium account also allows you to create a collage with one click and in no time.


BeFunky also offers a library of stock icons and vectors, making it a unique design tool in this list.

• Snappa

 

Snappa is a drag-and-drop graphic designing and editing tool. With this tool, you can create stunning and beautiful images without any hiccups. Unlike other tools in this list, Snappa has its own library of stock photos. Meaning you get more options to select from.


The tool also has pre-built templates for different platforms in different sizes. This comes in handy when you wish to create a marketing material specific to a platform. Snappa also has a 200+ font library to choose from. And if you aren’t satisfied with any of those fonts, you always have the option to upload your own custom fonts. This can help you to keep your branding intact.


And like other tools, Snappa also offers the basic features like the ability to remove background from your image, retouch or resize your creations, and more. And similar to other tools in this list, Snappa also works on a freemium model.


With the free pack, you can download 5 images per month. While the Pro pack comes with unlimited downloads and templates for social media. The pro pack will cost you $100 for a year or $15 monthly. It includes a folder for saved designs. The Team account for up to 5 people at twice the Pro price. It allows you to share and collaborate with other designers and team members.

• Stencil

 

If your goal is to generate engagement on social media through your design, Stencil is the right tool you!


Stencil is like any other drag-and-drop design tool. But what makes it stand apart from others is the engagement it brings with it. It is a design tool made specifically to create engagement on social media. The company has carved out a niche in this specific space. It is helping non-designers to design social media posts that will create engagement.


And these aren’t just empty claims; the tool has data to back it up. According to Buffer & Kissmetrics, creations from Stencils have helped businesses earn:


• 84% more clicks

• 89% more favourites/likes

• 150% more retweets

 

Stencil offers a host of different features apart from increased engagement. The tool also has its own stock photo library, meaning you don’t have to scour through the web to find the perfect image for your creative. And like any other tool in this list, you can unlock more features by opting for any of the paid packs. There are two paid offerings, one billed at $9/month for a year while the other one is $12/month when billed yearly.

• Adobe Spark

 

Although developed by Adobe, Spark is a very different tool than any of its Adobe siblings. This tool does not come with the hardball of the learning curve we usually associate Adobe with. Instead, Spark is the polar opposite of it.


The tool is easy-to-use and easy-to-learn. There is no major learning curve involved as well. Apart from providing users with the ability to design posts and edit videos, Spark also allows users to design web pages.


Another ace up its sleeve is the support for Adobe Creative Cloud. With the paid subscription, users can enjoy a full-fleged Creative Cloud experience. Other premium benefits include over 31,000 templates and support for custom fonts. It also allows users to access millions of stock photos, gifs, and icons.

• Over

 

If you are someone who is always on the go and wishes to create designs and social media posts on the go, Over is the best design tool for you. Over is a mobile-exclusive free design app that works across both platforms of iOS & Android.


It is a photo editing and designing app that lets you create stunning designs within minutes without any hassle. The app has a wide range of templates to select from along with options for fonts and other design elements. The application works on Machine Learning, meaning it will provide with smart suggestions for font type, colour as well as the right design element that will match with your design.


The tool gives you complete control over your design by isolating each element in a different layer. The design app works on the freemium model. While most of your design demands will be fulfilled with the free version, upgrading to the premium would open up a whole new world of design options for you.


The premium pack costs Rs. 1299 for the entire year or Rs.185/month.

• Canva

 

Canva is an easy-to-use online design tool that allows users to create beautiful creatives. It is a drag-n-drop editing tool with tons of pre-built templates. With this tool, you can create custom graphics in a jiffy.


With Canva, you can easily create a social media post within no time. The tool already has many templates that you can edit and use as per your likings. And even if you do not find something that meets your need, you can always start from a blank canvas.


The thing that makes Canva so special is its wide range of features. Using Canva feels like using the amalgamation of many different design tools. From image editing tools to a library of stock photos and icons, Canva has almost everything that you would need to fulfil your designing needs; and this is the free tool that I am talking about.


When you sign up for the premium membership, you can step up your design game drastically and take it up a notch. The paid features offer a lot more templates, fonts along with exclusive features like the ability to remove background from any image or create your own brand-kit.


If you are just starting out and exploring the world of design and wish to learn more about these design tools and about visual design in general, I have some good news for you!


I have come up with a new design course- Digital Design Blueprint. In this course, I will be exploring the world of design and taking a deeper dive into the colourful world, trying to explain complicated concepts in a easy way. Digital Design Blueprint is a design course in which participants will be learning everything that they need to know about designing. From basic image editing to image manipulation, from video editing to designing creatives for your next social media marketing campaign, this course covers it all.


Divided into smaller and easily understandable modules, the designing course focuses on teaching the right process of designing. Right from design ideation to execution of that idea, each module has something unique to offer. Divided into 7 different modules, each module captures different aspect of the designing world.

  • Module 1: Design Principles

Design Principles are the basic fundamental rules that will help you and guide you throughout your design journey. They are the foundation on which you will be creating your designs.

  • Module 2: Design Elements

Design Elements are all the different sets of units, colours, shapes, and sizes that are blended together to convey a well-structured message. Choosing the right elements and placing them correctly is essential as, even one poorly placed element can spoil the entire design.

  • Module 3: Digital Design

We have already established how important design is for any brand or business to grow. However, its importance only amplifies when they are used in the digital world as a communication tool.

In digital marketing, visual communication plays a key role attracting the attention of your target audience. And in order to nail your communication, you need to master the art of designing for the digital platform.

Designing for digital world isn’t drastically different from designing for print ads. But when it comes to digital designing, you need to be more cautious and follow some rules and guidelines to avoid any kind of copyright issues.

  • Module 4: Design Tools

There are a plethora of design tools available on the internet. Finding and selecting the right tool that matches your needs and budget is a tricky job. There are times when you will find the right tools but they are either priced too high or have a difficult learning curve.

Tools from the Adobe family provide a powerful design experience but they come at a very steep price. While tools mentioned above offer a very limited functionality in the free mode.

  • Module 5: Canva

This is probably the best designing tool in the world right now. No matter how much I speak or write about Canva, it won’t be sufficient. By now, we all know what Canva is and how it can be useful to creating beautiful and stunning creatives without much effort.

  • Module 6: Image Editing

Image editing and manipulation is a major part of design. From adding filters to changing the entire background, there are various ways to enhance a design through image manipulation.

  • Module 7: Video Editing

Designing is not limited to still images. In fact, short videos are now driving more engagement than your traditional still images. Videos have become an essential element of any digital marketing campaign. They bring in more engagement, they make people stick around on your page for a long time, and most importantly, they allow you to deliver a crystal clear message to your audience.


Apart from these seven modules, there are many more things to learn. Each module is a short course in itself and can help you on your design journey.


If you are intrigued by the world of designing and are considering the prospect of starting your journey as a graphic designer, this is the perfect place for you to start. To know more about my Digital Design Blueprint or any other Branding related course, feel free to reach out to me!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Malathi KS

    Awesome article Bhushan!!!
    Happy to note multiple tools that are Super Cool for a non-designer like me.

    1. admin

      Thanks a lot for your attention. These tools help in many ways from making design faster to making the learning curve shorter.

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