As a small business owner, picking the right graphic design tools isn’t an easy task. Since the early days of Adobe photoshop the design tool market has since been flooded by a whole host of tools promising to be the most simple and cost effective. So if you’re a small business owner which design tools should you start with? This short guide explores the most cost effective (including free tools!) and simple to use design tools for you to start creating great graphics today. Skip straight to the paid section.
Quickly and easily design graphics for sharing on social media or your company blog using online software Canva. The software itself provides a huge range of images, icons and shapes for you to start from. All assets are commercially usable so you don’t have to worry about any potential copyright issues cropping up.
Known for being the free photoshop equivalent GIMP provides a surprisingly good alternative to it’s expensive counter part. As a local business, chances are you might not need all the features that Photoshop has to offer. GIMP taps in to that by providing the basic services you need while keeping things simple enough for first time users. If you’re looking for a good photoshop alternative, look no further.
Snappa makes it quick and easy to create online graphics. Similar to Canvas they provide a number of different templates and stock photos you can use in order to create basic level social ads or banners. The free plan allows for 5 downloads per month with a limited number of templates. If you upgrade to Pro for $10/month you can boost those numbers to unlimited.
Gravit designer is a surprisingly well polished tool for creating vector graphics and website wireframes. It has the added benefit of having the option to run off your web browser meaning it’ll run across different devices seamlessly. If that’s not your thing you can simply download the program for Windows, Mac, Linux or even Chrome OS.
Although Vectr doesn’t include all the the extras compared to the free alternatives above what it does do, it does well. It has a simplistic user experience making it easy for new designers to pickup and get started straight away. While the more experienced designers still have themselves a solid tool for unleashing their creativity. Similar to Gravit Designer you have the option to download the full app or just go ahead and use it within your browser.
Adobe Photoshop ($20.99/month)
We couldn’t start this paid section without mentioning one of the largest design tools of them all, Photoshop. The Adobe created tool offers all the features you’ve come to expect, while also using the industry standard format when it comes to layering. So you should have no confusion if choosing this as your company graphic design tool of choice. Unfortunately this brings with it a hefty price tag. At $20.99 a month some argue the price is no longer worth it with alternatives existing for substantially better value.
Affinity Designer ($49.99 One time payment)
When it comes to wireframes and vector graphic creation, theres a number of rising tools on the market. Affinity Designer is one of these tools. First introduced in 2014 Affinity Designer offers business owners a fully fledged creative platform if looking to do it yourself. And at a one time payment of just $49.99 you can’t really argue with the price, particularly when compared to Photoshop which would be more expensive in just two months use. Affinity Designer’s prime uses are, but not limited to; print projects, branding, icons, mock ups, web graphics and typography.
Figma (Free – $45/month)
If you’re looking for the perfect platform to create wireframes and web designs then look no further than Figma. Available across Windows, Mac and Linux the light weight software makes it easy for business owners to get started. It also contains the ability to seamlessly work with internal teams, providing a useful comments feature built in. Need to send the latest work around for feedback? You don’t even need to leave the app.
Sketch ($99 One time + optional yearly updates at $99)
A top favourite among the DesignGib team, Sketch is one of the most widely used vector graphic software tools. It’s lightweight and purposely built for Mac meaning a smooth experience. This does mean however you’re out of luck if you’re on another operating system like Windows. One of the most popular features is the ability to create ‘symbols’ so you can update a specific repeated element with ease. This could be changing the color of a panel across designs or something more complex.
A tool you know and love not listed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll happily add it here. If you’re looking to skip the hassle of doing your own design altogether then be sure to take a look at DesignGib’s plans, offering small business owners unlimited graphic designer on a monthly basis.