Until recently, if you wanted to boost your online image with some serious style you had to hire a graphic designer. Which is a great option for entrepreneurs who can afford it. However, this also means explaining exactly what you have in mind. And that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Plus, it also means design changes will cost you later.
Your second option is to do it yourself. Thanks to the plethora of design tools, creating professional websites, graphics, email campaigns, and presentations is much easier than it used to be. Plus, it’s considerably more economical when you’re on a budget.
We’ve scoured the internet for some of the most innovative, free resources for entrepreneurs who want to add a little something special to their projects themselves. Whether you’re looking to add stunning photos, choose the perfect color scheme, or create an interesting graphic, these tools can help you achieve amazing results in no time.
Graphics, Documents & Presentations
Right now this is one of the best design resources available. Once you’ve registered, it takes less than a minute to understand the basics. After that, you’re ready to pick and choose from hundreds of design templates. Drag-and-drop functionality, combined with a robust library of free and paid images, makes it an invaluable resource for creating a range of professional-looking graphics from Facebook ads to website headers and more.
This tool is great for creating visual representations of data, including infographics, charts, maps, and reports. What’s particularly helpful is that whatever you create is automatically adapted and optimized to display anywhere, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Pre-made, high-quality templates take out a lot of the guesswork too, so you can stay focused on your data.
Want to tell an exciting story about your product or service? Then Prezi is just what you need. This storytelling tool enables you to create a more visually interesting presentation than traditional slides. Prezi features a map-like, schematic overview. During your presentations, you can use it to pan among topics, select and zoom in on details, and then zoom out to provide your audience with context.
Everyone who’s looking to create engaging online content will love Visme. Use it to create professional infographics, presentations, banners, short animations, and teasers. Its minimalist interface ensures there isn’t much of a learning curve. And if you’re short on inspiration, there are plenty of professional pre-made templates, free images, and vector icons to choose from. While Visme reserves some functionality for its premium users, look for its free option.
Whether you’re designing an ad or a website, having a great color palette is essential. This tool makes the process of finding your color palettes painless. Coolors generates five coordinating colors. If you’re not pleased with the results, just hit your space bar to display a brand new selection. See one color you like, but not its matches? Keep it and generate a new palette based on your choice.
Adobe’s free digital color wheel enables you to choose any color of the rainbow and ask for coordinating color options based on your color palette preference: monochromatic, analogous, triad, complementary, etc. Have you seen a photo with the perfect colors? Upload it and let Adobe CC match them. You can also select from a range of popular pre-made palette schemes.
This is a great resource if you’re looking for free fonts for your next commercial project. FontSquirrl is easy to navigate, and its fonts are high quality. Planning on using fonts for the internet? Then you’ll love the built-in Webfont Generator tool. With it, you can upload and convert fonts for embedding in online projects.
Canva Font Combinations (formerly Type Genius)
Combining several fonts in a single project certainly takes some talent. It’s nice that Canva Font Combinations takes out the guesswork. To use it, simply select your first font and then let this tool offer a bunch of multiple suggested pairings. It also offers real-world examples of font combinations used on other websites.
DaFont is extremely popular with designers and newbies alike because it’s very easy to use. If you’ve ventured outside of Canva and are trying to make a nice graphic all on your own, this tool has thousands of downloadable fonts in widely different styles. One of its most helpful features is its preview tool. Simply type in a word or phrase to get a custom preview of how that word looks in any font you like.
This image library is an excellent resource, especially if you’re looking for stunning landscapes. Snowy mountain peaks, sparkling waterfalls, endless deserts—everything you want is here. Every day Unsplash uploads 10 new high-resolutions photos. The archive is easily searchable; and there’s no attribution required.
Although this image collection isn’t the most extensive, it does offer some of the most evocative images on the internet, all of which are originals by artist Ryan McGuire. Many images are abstract; others are whimsical. As a bonus, they require no attribution. Gratisography uploads new images each week, so check back frequently.
Featuring an exhaustive collection of photos, FreeImages is the go-to resource for designers working on new website projects. Rather than niche images, this library offers thousands in wide variety of categories from photographers with diverse styles. It’s easily searchable, which is a time-saver. However searches include both paid (from Getty images) and free images, so scan the results for what’s free.