5 Money-Saving Graphic Design Tools for Small Business Marketers

By Alana Domingo, July 11, 2017

It’s a fact: people like pictures. Before we invented the written word, we humans were recording our stories as drawings on cave walls.  

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Source: Wikimedia

Even now, from prehistoric times to the digital age, we like getting our information through images. It’s no surprise then that visual content marketing is hotter today than ever before.

If you don’t have a lot of wiggle room in your marketing budget for a freelancer or in-house design team, read on and learn about five online resources you can use to create your own graphics.

1. Canva

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Source: Canva

One of the most popular design tools on the web (and one we talk about a lot) is Canva. This platform is known for its user-friendly drag-and-drop editing system. Canva’s huge collection of design tools, including custom text, backgrounds, illustrations, and stock photos, gives your imagination room to run wild.

Related Post: 5 Reasons You Need to Embrace Creative Visual Content

From the Canva dashboard, you can choose from a variety of premade templates sized for different media, like Instagram posts and Twitter headers. Or, you can make new designs based on your own dimensions. You can also upload your own images.

Canva is free to use, but it does offer premium content. Using some stock photos from the platform’s library costs money, around $1 per photo. There’s also a premium account option called Canva for Work. Signing up lets you import your own custom fonts, add team members to projects, and save custom color schemes and your brand’s logos.

2. Snappa

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Source: Snappa

Snappa is a great tool for visual content beginners. Like Canva, Snappa has many premade templates to choose from, all formatted for different media. It also incorporates the drag-and-drop editing system for hassle-free graphics creation.

One of Snappa’s cool features is its ability to resize designs for multiple media formats. You can change your Instagram picture to fit a Twitter header, or your Facebook cover photo can turn into a Pinterest pin. It just takes a few clicks, and your designs stay clean.

Related Post: How Colors Affect Your Marketing

Creating a Snappa account is free, but there’s a lot more you can do with the premium plan. Upgrading to a Pro account unlocks more stock images, unlimited downloads, custom font uploads, and the ability to save your projects directly to Snappa’s cloud. It’s worth the investment if you plan on really diving into visual content marketing.

3. Pixlr Editor

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Source: Pixlr Editor

Pixlr is a family of editing tools made for desktop and mobile platforms. Its primary product is the Pixlr Editor app, a photo manipulation tool. If you’re familiar with Photoshop or GIMP, then Pixlr Editor is for you.

While not necessarily the best platform to use for full graphics creation, Pixlr Editor’s range of tools makes editing images easy. Comparable to Photoshop, you can resize images, add layer effects, and doodle with the brush tool. Navigating the Editor’s interface might be confusing to newbies, but Pixlr offers a video tutorial series that cover some design basics.

The best part? Pixlr is absolutely free. Pixlr Editor runs entirely through your web browser, so there’s no need to download anything. You can make an account to save your files to Pixlr’s library, but it’s not required.

4. Gravit

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Source: Gravit

For logo creation and website mockups, turn to Gravit, a completely free, browser-based alternative to Adobe Illustrator. Gravit is best for making vector graphics, or images that don’t lose their quality when resized. A logo made as a vector graphic looks just as good on a business card as it does on a poster.

Related Post: How to Optimize Your Images for Social Media Shareability

Although not nearly as complex as Illustrator, Gravit has the same basic functions, most notably the object and pen tools. Having a background in graphic design certainly helps with understanding Gravit. Don’t worry, though. The platform’s extensive support system provides plenty of tutorials.

User collaboration makes up a large part of the Gravit experience. The Market is a curated gallery of approved, user-created designs that anyone can use in their own projects. You can take a look at what others are making in the Discover tab. If you come across bugs or discover a neat trick, you can tell other Gravit users in the Designer discussion forum.

5. Piktochart

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Source: Piktochart

Infographics are a visual content dream: they’re eye-catching, they’re informative, and they’re shareable. And now, they’re easy to create, thanks to Piktochart.

Piktochart’s design platform specializes in creating infographics, presentations, and printables. Using Piktochart is similar to using Canva and Snappa; it also runs on drag-and-drop actions. The element library has a ton of free icons, fonts, and backgrounds.

Adding a chart (an infographic staple) can be done in a few minutes. Import your own data, and Piktochart will generate a sleek chart for you. You can customize the headers, data labels, colors, and more to your liking.

Signing up for Piktochart is free, but if you want to get more out of it, there’s three paid plans available. The Lite plan gives you access to over 600 templates and 100MB of monthly image uploads. With the Pro plan, you can download print and PDF quality projects, password protect individual designs, and even export your presentations to Slideshare. In addition to all of the Pro features, the Pro Team plan lets you invite people to your projects for easy collaboration.

Visual Content is Important

When good design and meaningful content come together, they create a powerful thing. Visual content can be one of the most effective marketing strategies you use, so make sure whatever you make looks great!

Alana Domingo

Alana Domingo

Alana Domingo is the Junior Content Writer for eZanga and its ad fraud management platform, Anura. Born in Philadelphia but raised in Delaware, she attended Temple University and earned a BA in Communication Studies, concentrating on contemporary media environments. When she's not working, you can usually find her playing The Sims, reading comic books, and taking care of her three pet frogs. More Articles by Alana Domingo