If you want a professional design for your marketing campaign, then you need to hire a professional designer. But sometimes you just need something quick to show a client or colleagues: a mockup or a rough prototype as proof of concept, or to spark discussion and further ideas. Or maybe you just want to create a quick and fun image, or digital flyer, to share on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?
In cases like this, it’s not always necessary to have years of experience of using Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign to create world-class design work. There are a number of tools out there that non-designers can use to knock up something pretty decent, without needing years of skills training.
In this post we list some of our favourite tools for marketing pros and other non-designers, the first four of which are totally free.
01. Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark is a free storytelling platform that allows you to combine photos, slideshows, videos and text in one standalone web page. It’s free to use, and you can log in through your Adobe account, Facebook or Google. Geared towards non-designers, Spark can be used to create social graphics, web stories and animated videos with no technical knowledge required.
Need to quickly crop an image, or apply a filter? With simple image editing tasks, you don’t need to waste time and money with Photoshop. There are plenty of free, browser-based tools that will get the job done just as well, and our favourite is Pixlr. You can create a new image, upload one from your desktop, or grab one directly from a URL. And the tool even includes some mid-level features you’d expect from paid software, such as fill, crop, blur and smudge.
Another free, browser-based editor, Pablo helps you create engaging images for your social media postings. The key to getting attention on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is to combine the right text with the right images, and Pablo makes this quick and easy. For instance, it enables you to make your text larger or smaller, change the font type or colour, switch your photo to blurred or black-and-white, add icons, and more.
Canva is a free tool that makes it easy to design presentations, infographics, ads, social media graphics, and other marketing material. Based on a drag and drop interface and including thousands of well-designed templates, it allows non-designers to create impressive-looking assets and offers you access to hundreds of fonts, photo filters, and free icons and shapes to help you out. Canva is available both within the browser and as an iPad app.
Vennage is a free infographic maker that offers more than 100 templates to help you tell your marketing story in an attractive and visual way. You can enhance your infographic by adding icons and images from Vennage’s library, and customise it by changing the fonts and colours. It’s a paid service, but there is a free plan for students.
Dubbed the “Swiss-Army Knife of Visual Content”, Visme is an easy-to-use tool that lets you create all sorts of designs for use in marketing and PR, including presentations, infographics, web banners, animations, print materials and HTML5 designs. It offers a range of preset templates and lots of graphic assets (including vector icons, text widgets, audio files and professional fonts). In short, you don’t have to have any design skills to create something that looks pretty decent in Visme, which offers both free and paid-for plans.
Subscription platform Weld allows non-designers to create animated, interactive digital content without any knowledge or experience of coding. Aimed specifically at marketing teams, it allows you to publish your creation as a stand-alone website or embed it into your existing platform. It also makes it easy to integrate your content into other apps such as MailChimp, Slack, Basecamp, Trello and social media channels: it’s as simple as dragging and dropping in icons.
Piktochart is a subscription service offering an easy to use infographic maker. You don’t have to be a designer to use it, because Piktochart’s own designers have created more than 600 professional templates for you to use. You just have to find a style that fits your message, then make it unique by editing the text, fonts and colours.
Subscription-based website builder Squarespace offers an extremely easy way for marketing professionals to launch their own websites, with plenty of beautiful templates to choose from, and no coding knowledge required. And that’s not all: Squarespace also provides you with a comprehensive set of marketing tools to engage with your audience, get discovered across search and social, and grow your website’s customer list.
Infogram is on a mission to “help marketers communicate data and complex ideas in a visually engaging way”. This paid-for subscription tool enables you to create and share interactive data visualisations, including infographics, pie charts, line charts, bar charts, and interactive maps. Custom-designed templates, available with Business and Enterprise plans, can even include your brand colours, logos and visual imagery in titles, icons and graphs.