Small businesses usually fall into two categories. First– they don’t have the financial assets to hire graphic designers and content creators to market their brand the way they want. They also aren’t ready to splurge on expensive design tools like an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription or professional cameras. Second– they don’t have time to manage their brand because they’re booked and busy, without enough staff to take care of the details.
If you’re in the first camp of business owners, you’re on just the right blog post because Rise Local’s creative team is here to share four of their favorite design tools for small businesses. These free design programs will help spruce up your website and social media profiles. If you’re in the second group of business owners, you can skip the rest of this and just give us a call so we can get started creating dazzling content for your small business ASAP.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into Rise Local Dallas’ favorite free design tools for 2022.
You’ve probably already heard of Canva but our social media marketing team can’t get enough of this design platform. They’ve come a long way in recent years and offer a number of tools, photos, graphics, fonts, and templates. Canva is making design easier and more accessible than ever before.
For most local businesses looking for good design tools, we recommend Canva’s Pro plan. This plan is great because it includes premium features like a brand kit, design templates, background removal software, and a content planner.
Our favorite feature has to be the brand kit though. The brand kit keeps your fonts, logo, and color palette readily available whenever you sit down to create. It’s also a great design solution because you can add up to five people to the account so anyone on your crew can tackle a last-minute design.
Some other perks of Canva’s Pro plan include:
- 100 GB of cloud storage
- Schedule content on 8 social media platforms
- Access premium stock photos, videos, graphics, and animations
Canva is the main website you’ll want to visit for all of your creative marketing materials. They have templates and toolkits for social media, presentations, apparel design, logos, office materials, and so much more. They also have courses and tutorials to help you learn as you go, which is great if you ever get stuck! Not sold on it? Try out Canva’s free plan while you get the hang of it, and switch to the business plan if you ever want more convenience.
We love Photoshop and the whole Adobe Creative Cloud here at Rise Local. But we also understand that it’s deeply irritating that they won’t let you buy the software outright. Instead, you’re stuck paying for the same software month after month, and they make it’s expensive to get out of your contract– thanks a lot Adobe. So if you’re a more advanced designer and looking for a free photoshop alternative, you might want to check out Photopea.
This software is free and 100% online. You can easily upload files from your computer, hard drive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Photopea is a pretty good Photoshop alternative and includes popular functions like:
- Image resizing
- Color correction
- Vector tools
But this is just the start. Photopea has a ton of editing tools and it uses a similar structure to Photoshop so you won’t spend a lot of time trying to find stuff.
Paid stock platforms like Adobe Stock vet photos so they typically are good quality, but depending on your industry there may not be a ton of relevant photos. Worse yet, their cheapest package only gets you 10 posts per month for $30/month. That probably won’t cut it if you need photos for a new website, social media, and blog posts. Unfortunately, the price tag just continues to rise and can end up hitting $300/month. It’s fine if you want to go that route, but for a small business trying to save some money– we recommend Pexels.
This platform is completely free for commercial use, you’re not required to credit the photographer, and you can modify any image to suit your needs. This can include anything from adjusting the colors to fit your branding to superimposing a logo on the image.
It’s also easy to use! Just search for a keyword, find the perfect photo, and start your download. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, you can also scroll through the explore tab to find inspiration. Or if you’re very sure of what you’re looking for, you can filter the search based on the media type, size, and color to help speed up your search.
We like this resource because the photos are crisp, colorful, and can help your brand tell a story. Search here for cityscapes, product shots, environmental portraits, and more! We guarantee these will add some wow to your marketing materials without breaking the bank.
We’ll be honest– Vectary is a new find for us. But we’re still excited about the possibilities. 3D elements and animations are great ways of keeping viewers engaged and interacting with your website longer. Vectarty helps you create that media for free. You can adjust the placement of your objects, change colors and materials, alter the lighting with easy-to-use presets, and easily share it with your followers and collaborators.
This software might be a little tricky for those who aren’t super tech-savvy but Vectary offers tools to easily select objects, draw shapes and 3D text, add light sources, change texture, and switch out backdrops. Once you’re satisfied with your 3D design, export it and publish it on your website or social media as a fun way to show off what you do at your Dallas business.
You Don’t Need Design Tools When You Have Rise Local
Our first goal is always to create functional websites that bring in web traffic. However, by adding cool effects and graphics– you can keep potential clients engaged longer and bring them back time and time again. If you want to learn more ways to do this, schedule a free initial consultation. Our team would be happy to assess your company and website from our Dallas digital marketing agency and give you a fresh perspective on the next steps you should take on your marketing journey. If you’re not quite there yet, we hope you’ll experiment more with these design tools and engage with your target market more in 2022!