The 5 Best Free Online Design Tools for Marketers
As you want to promote your small business on social media, you’ll find that it is no longer easy to attract someone’s attention, and just giving valuable content is no longer an efficient solution to stand out from the competition. No matter how important the content is, it simply isn’t enough anymore.
To be successful in promoting your business online you must make the most of the few seconds you have to catch users’ eye and make them even get to the valuable content you’re offering. Speaking of writing content, you have no problem with that, but when it comes to the visual appeal of your social media profile or website, you get lost and have no idea how to do it since you don’t know how to use Photoshop or any other graphic design tools.
Fortunately, online design tools made for those without any design skills can solve the problem by offering you:
- Easy to use drag-and-drop interface;
- Templates for all social media formats and more;
- Additional tools like image editor, background remover, and smart mock-up creator.
Therefore, this post will discuss the top 5 free online design tools for marketers and individuals without design skills.
Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that if you click the link and subsequently make a purchase on the merchant’s website, we may earn a small commission at absolutely no additional cost to you. All opinions are entirely my own. I have used all products mentioned personally.
Why is Visual Design Important in Marketing?
Let’s forget for a moment everything we know about marketing and look at this as a layman who knows absolutely nothing about marketing or design. I’ll tell you a few most famous brands and I can bet that their colors, their logo, their fonts, and maybe even their entire ads will immediately pop into your head:
I’m pretty sure that none of these brands would be recognizable without their quality graphic design as a part of their branding. And it’s not just about making it look pleasing to the eyes. Graphic design also plays a big role in creating a visual identity, identifying ways of communication, sharing information with the target audience, and much more.
Okay, but why exactly it is so important?
First of all, we process images and visuals about 60.000 times faster than plain text. Additionally, humans are programmed to analyze visual information because of the way information is delivered to the brain. Visual information makes up 90% of information that is sent to the brain.
Don’t forget – you have only one chance to leave the first impression. This will increase the probability of attracting and keeping the attention of users and will set you apart from the competition as well. Also, with the help of quality design, you will build trust and authority in the market, and thus boost sales.
Okay, but I have no budget to delegate the design part to a quality graphic designer. I also don’t have any design skills. What are those tools that even I can use properly?
The 5 Best Free Online Design Tools for Marketers
Here is a list of the top 5 free design tools available online that will surely meet your needs without breaking the bank.
Canva: Most Popular
I don’t know a single online business owner who doesn’t use Canva at least to some extent. It was born out of the frustration of Melanie Perkin’s (a co-founder of Canva) students who found it difficult to learn tools like Photoshop and InDesign. In one of the interviews, she said she imagined the future of design would be entirely different.
And so she became one of those who made it different.
Whether you want to create Instagram posts and stories, YouTube thumbnails, infographics, presentations, newsletters, videos, or ebooks, Canva has a huge collection of templates that can serve as inspiration, but you can also customize them according to what you need.
However, that’s not what makes Canva different from the rest of the online design tools. They all have a drag-and-drop beginner-friendly interface, templates you can customize, and the option to create designs by yourself from scratch.
Yet, unlike its competitors, Canva offers an education platform, an option of creating responsive one-page websites, exporting editable PDF files, and much more about what we’re going to discuss in the rest of the article.
What is also important to note is that they never stop and constantly add something new. There is always more to discover.
It is truly an all-in-one online graphic design tool for non-designers that automates all design work for marketers along with publishing it directly to top social networks, and offers all the design tools you need as a digital marketer or online business owner:
- Templates for all kinds of social media posts, presentations, resumes, PDF files, etc.
- Stock images, stock videos, elements, fonts, and everything you need for your design;
- Image editor;
- Image background remover;
- QR code generator;
- Learning platform;
- Content planner;
- Team access;
- Brand kit;
- Smart mock-ups;
- One-page website creator;
- Text-to-image generator (Beta)
- …and more.
While old-school graphic design tools are more difficult to learn and use, Canva allows you to create appealing visuals quickly and makes sure you enjoy and use the maximum of their learning section. We’re going to discuss that in more detail, too.
Below we’ll look at some of the key functionalities Canva offers. Yet, if you’d rather see the platform in action, you can sign up for free today.
In the following, we will talk about the key features of the platform, which we have divided into 4 basic categories, all of which are very easy to use even for those without any design experience:
- Design tools;
- Canva for teams;
- Canva for educators;
- Learning platform.
Traditional design software allows you to manipulate images and visuals in many ways, but the features are not beginner-friendly and not everyone can create an attractive and engaging design.
You first have to learn how to use it but even the knowledge itself sometimes isn’t enough.
As you want to focus on your own job which is marketing, you’re not that interested in learning how to use those complex design tools.
So, you have two options:
- to outsource a graphic designer to do all the design work for you;
- to use simple user-friendly online graphic design tools such as Canva.
Canva makes it easy for you to design literally whatever you need and whatever you want, starting from logos all the way to flyers, brochures, and social media posts.
Here’s a short overview of the key design tools:
Go to Canva’s homepage, in the upper right corner click on “Create a design,” and choose “Logo.” If you can’t see the Logo option, you can type it into “Search” and then press “Enter.”
Here’s what you’ll see once you click on “Logo”:
You can use one of the numerous templates as inspiration, but you can also design your logo using the elements, photos, and fonts Canva offers.
The procedure is the same as with Logo maker. Go to Canva’s homepage, in the upper right corner click on “Create a design,” type in “Resume” and you’ll get a bunch of options:
Intro Maker for YouTube Videos
This time, on Canva’s homepage, you go click on “Design spotlight” and then on “Video intro maker”:
You’ll see the interface is similar to the one for Logo, Resume, and other makers. On the left side, you have a bunch of templates, you can customize the timing, number of slides, and much more:
This one is easy to find on the Homepage:
Whatever you design for social media, your website, or your YouTube channel, you can organize using Canva’s content planner. You can find it among other tools in the left sidebar. Here’s how it looks:
For the record, some features inside the content planner are included only in the Canva Pro plan. For example, you can not see post insights if you use a free account.
The same goes for some templates, elements, brand kit features, etc. Wherever you see a yellow crown, like for example next to the see post insights part on the image above, that means it’s a Pro option.
I suppose it’s clear that Canva offers countless options when it comes to design tools and organization of your content made for social media accounts. Let’s see what are other features of design tools.
Canva for Teams
This feature isn’t included in the free plan. However, if you have a team of marketers without a graphic designer, this could be helpful for team and brand management, improving collaboration, and building narratives through data visualization, creating engaging content, presentations, or social posts.
Canva for Educators
If you are an educator, in addition to design tools, Canva has a section that allows you to create and personalize lesson plans, courses, and more. Students also have access to the free template library. Canva makes sure students collaborate, so it provides them with a collection of group work templates.
As an educator, you can also contribute to the Canva community by publishing and sharing your class designs. In that way, you can earn money by contributing to over 60 million monthly active users.
Teachers have so many options for making money online. That’s why I wrote a separate post on that topic. If you want to learn more about how teachers can earn money online, here you can read my article about that.
Let’s go back to Canva now.
Canva’s education section is 100% free for teachers and students in schools that are qualified for this program.
If even for this beginner-friendly online design software you can’t immediately understand how it works and you feel overwhelmed by all the options it has, you have a section that will help you deal with it all.
The learning platform was created just for people like you who are new to all of this. There’s nothing that they did not explain and show how you can use it.
You can start with short intro tutorials:
After that, you can go through niche courses (which are a part of their Design School) like these courses listed below:
- Canva for Beginners;
- Canva Pro for Nonprofits;
- Canva Design Skills for Students;
- Canva on Your Mobile;
- Presentations to Impress From the Experts
There are also Canva Events that allow you to learn from industry experts, get inspired, and master this amazing online design tool which is suitable both for marketers and for all other beginners in design.
Pricing starts with the free plan which is completely adequate for marketers who do not need a large number of templates and elements to use in the design of their visuals. You don’t have to upgrade to the Pro version at all but as you can see from the image above, you can start your one-month free Pro trial to see if it is more suitable to your needs.
Sounds like the solution you’ve been looking for? Sign up today with a one-month-long free Pro Trial.
Now, we’ll discuss several other free online graphic design tools for marketers.
Genially makes design simple with its user-friendly interface and allows you to create your designs from scratch. It provides you with numerous pre-designed templates you can also use for your designs. It also has the option of adding features like buttons and hidden text.
With Genially you can create presentations, infographics, resumes, etc. and you may enrich them with animation effects. Unlike other platforms on this list, it has limited features, in the sense that there are no templates for social media posts, for example.
- Numerous templates for presentations, infographics, and training materials;
- Gamification – quiz maker;
- Interactive images you can embed on your website.
- Doesn’t offer templates for social media posts;
- It doesn’t allow you to publish videos directly to YouTube or download the mp4 file;
- You can’t collaborate in real time;
- Reviews say that it is impossible to delete your account on Genially while a plan is active;
- The presentations you make are strictly public;
- Poor user policy;
- Offline viewing is possible only for paid accounts;
Genially offers three different paid plans:
- The Pro plan: 7.49€/month billed annually;
- The Master plan: 20,82€/month billed annually;
- The Team plan: 79,15€/month billed annually.
Visme is one of the online design tools that allow organizations and brands to design quality visuals, such as social media posts, presentations, infographics, etc.
Visme’s tools are very easy-to-use, but support for collaboration could be better.
Visme was created with a brand philosophy in mind. You can save the color schemes, pictures, videos, and other assets associated with your brand or business using Visme’s capabilities
A Visme you can find a ton of templates and have access to a bunch of stock pictures, as Visme is making it simple for non-designers to use the software and produce quality content.
This design tool is much more expensive in comparison to its competitors, but for educators who join up with a .edu email address and for nonprofit employees who contact the company, Visme provides special, discounted prices.
- Easy to use;
- Quality designs with minimal experience;
- Various useful tools;
- Lower-priced plans are too limited;
- Doesn’t support guest collaboration;
- You can’t export designs in high resolution unless you upgrade;
- The storage limit is too low for free or lower-priced plans;
- No refunds;
Visme has two paid plans:
- The Personal plan: $29 /month ($12.25/month billed annually);
- The Business plan: $59/month ($24.75 /month billed annually).
Vista Create is an online design platform where literally anyone can create engaging content. Previously known as Crello, this free design tool offers basic, but also some advanced features for an extra charge.
With Vista Create, you can produce visual content both for professional and personal needs. Same as other graphic design tools listed in this article, it offers a huge library of different customizable templates and a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface.
It allows you to design different kinds of visuals, such as social media posts, presentations, marketing materials, and even postcards, brochures, and WordPress blog visuals.
Vista Create is a pretty handy online tool for anyone who has to work with visual content to some extent, but has no experience or design skills.
You can use Vista Create in any browser, but you also have the option of downloading the Vista Create app for iOS or Android. They provide a variety of editing features, such as blurring and cropping, inserting frames, blurring and cropping, removing backgrounds, creating Brand Kits, animating, rotating, and adjusting fonts and colors.
On this tool, you can access 10GB of storage and use it for your files and projects.
- They constantly continue to provide new templates;
- You can upload your own images and fonts;
- Easy and fun to use;
- The library of videos is limited and monotonous;
- Basic alignment settings are missing;
- Unstable connection of the server;
- They don’t have many font editing features, such as curved text and bullet lists;
- Reviews say that navigating between sections could be easier.
Vista Create has only one paid plan:
- The Pro plan: $10/month (with the 14-day free trial).
Easil is a graphic design solution that helps with numerous templates, design elements, infographics, and visual interfaces.
In Easil you have access to the layer panel which is one of the useful features. Due to its similarities with Photoshop, it allows you to see all the elements in a well-organized structure. However, it can be a little bit confusing for those who haven’t used Photoshop before.
It has a lot of design elements but doesn’t offer charts and lets you add only rectangular or square frames. When it comes to creating a brand kit, you can only set colors and upload your images and logo. However, if you want to upload your custom fonts, you have to upgrade.
Easil currently doesn’t provide you with any sharing options.
- Beautiful templates for social media;
- The free version gives access to a lot of features;
- An easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface;
- There’s no filter option for adjustment of the whole visual;
- Too slow while loading images and formats;
- It doesn’t have an app;
- You can’t download gifs and mp4 files you create on the platform;
- Hard to select or replace text;
- You have to pay to download files in PDF format;
- Lack of customization options.
Easil offers two paid plans:
- Easil Plus: $7.5 per user/month;
- Easil Edge: $59 per user/month.
Which One of These Free Online Design Tools Is Best for You?
If your primary goal is to maximally automate the creation of marketing materials and posts for social networks and thus save time and energy, then I think Canva is the best option for you. It offers countless options and you literally have everything in one place.
It was designed by graphic design experts to solve the problem of struggling with learning and using complex design software such as Photoshop and InDesign. It is perfectly suitable for all beginners with no design skills, but also for marketers who create visuals for many purposes.
If you want to learn more about Canva and see if it’s the best solution for you, sign up for a free trial here.