Top 8 DIY Graphic Design Tools for Startups

By Sead Fadilpasic
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Startups are awesome because they have to work miracles with resources that bigger players often take for granted. Yes, they do not have access to big budget software or expensive developers, but they are surely aware of the importance of a visually attractive presentation or an eye-catching Facebook banner or Instagram post. This is why they will find great help in DIY graphic design tools that are readily available at little or no cost, yet come with excellent features that all startups can find useful. Read on to find out about the best tools of this type out there.

1) Canva

Canva is a versatile online tool that allows you to design visually attractive graphics that can adorn your social media posts, event invites, business cards, eBooks or email headers. Canva is designed around a template-based work model that will be equally efficient both in the hands of a layman or an experienced professional! Templates are easily customizable and manipulated by dragging and dropping various objects. In addition, you can change the image’s properties, fonts, and colors on the fly. You can either use your own images or buy Canva’s graphic assets at a fair price.

Canva for Work does the same as Canva, with the focus on collaborative work in group-based graphic design projects. Templates, design elements, and assets can be easily shared along with photo folders.

Price: Subscription to Canva for Work is $9.95 per month when paid annually, or $12.95 per user/month.

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2) Pablo

Pablo is an excellent choice for socially minded startups that are faced with budgetary constraints. It is used for designing images that are easily shareable on social media. Pablo’s homepage immediately offers you a variety of useful images, while 600,000 additional ones are available from Pablo’s database. If none of those are satisfying to you, you can always upload your own images.

Pablo also makes it easy to combine images with your favorite quotes, which you can combine with any custom background image you want to use. You can easily embellish those with various graphical effects.

Price: Pablo is free to use.

3) PicMonkey

If your startup does not have the budget to go with the full-on Photoshop package, yet it needs a quality image editing software, look no further than PicMonkey. It is a powerful tool which allows you to make your images slicker than they already are. PicMonkey works its magic by allowing you to combine graphics or add text, together with options to play with its borders or coloring. The developers pride themselves on the software’s intuitive design, which is an important consideration if graphic design has not been your startup’s strong suit.

Price: PicMonkey’s Premium package costs $7.99 (with monthly billing) or $3.99 per month if billed on yearly basis. Their Supremium plan includes annual billing and costs $8.33 per month.

4) Pixlr

In addition to cheap but quality alternatives to Photoshop, there is a totally free solution for startups that cannot afford to set aside any budget for graphic design purposes. It is Pixlr, as a free tool that will spruce up any image you throw at it in no time. These images can vary in their purpose – you may need to design your startup’s logo or come up with an attractive company calendar design.

Pixlr wants to be as accessible as possible without compromising on the effectiveness of its features. This means that you can approach it without any design skill, yet come up with perfectly satisfying images to be used both on desktop and mobile platforms.

Price: Pixlr is free to use, just like its mobile version.

5) Instapage

And now for something completely different, at least in this tool’s slightly specialized application. Instapage is a graphic design tool focusing on designing quality landing pages for your startup. It’s intuitive and easy to use. Once your landing page is added to your website, you’ll become a part of its worldwide pool of users, currently numbering more than 250,000!

Instapage allows you to focus on designing individual segments of your landing page as well, such as signup forms or pages describing various contests. It is user friendly in the sense that you can easily combine your design with the logo or motto of your startup, together with your custom images or fonts. A/B testing of various page versions is enabled as well, which is great if you are looking for the best conversion performance.

Price: Core version of the platform will cost you $69 per month if billed annually.

6) Pexels

All of the above tools presuppose that you already have access to the images you want to use in your design. Yet, that may not be the case always, either because you do not have access to adequate images, or you cannot be bothered to look for them in each corner of the internet. Stop worrying right now, as Pexels will offer you its library of images/photos under the Creative Commons Zero license at no cost.

This means that you are not obliged to provide links or copyright attributes for the images you use, even for commercial purpose. If you want to avoid problems with copyright without incurring additional costs, Pexels’ library will easily make you happy. Images themselves are of excellent quality and in high-res, making them an excellent choice for adorning your startup’s blog posts or presentations.

Price: Pexels is free to use but, if you are satisfied with its offer, you can always throw it a coin or two via PayPal.

PexelsPexels offers you access to quality free stock photos that you can use for your graphic design
Image Credit: Screenshot

7) WhatFont

Graphic design has many facets and you sometimes need to cater to just to one of them in particular, without having to fire up your trusty graphic design tool. Case in point: fonts can be an important aspect of any graphic presentation and you may have just fallen in love with one of them while browsing online. WhatFont is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to quickly identify the type of font that catches your eye on any webpage you may visit. All you need to do is to hover above the desired font and make a mental note to include it in your next presentation! In addition to Chrome, this tool is available as a Safari Extension or bookmarklet.

Price: WhatFont is free to use.

8) Pictaculous

Color palette plays a key role in our perception of graphic design, particularly if you want to use the color to make it a recognizable segment of your startup’s visual identity! If you are looking for just the right hue or shade, Pictaculous allows you to upload your photo to automatically receive suggestions on the colors you can use with it, together with HEX codes.

Price: Pictaculous is free to use.

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About Sead Fadilpasic

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Sead is a journalist with more than a decade of experience in writing. For the past three years, his focus has been on inbound marketing, Using his storytelling skills to improve companies’ digital footprint, Sead’s writing generates leads and sales.

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