32 Tools That Will Make You Look Like A Graphic Design Genius (even if you’re artistically challenged)



If you’re anything like me, you probably do not have a single creative bone in you when it comes to creating eye-catching graphics.

Oh, I appreciate fine art.

It’s just that I have attempted learning Photoshop and Illustrator in the past and I found VERY quickly that they were not my strengths.

And so, again, if you’re like me, you are probably very grateful that creative geniuses like the people at Canva decided “Hey, we are going to make it easy for everyone to create beautiful graphics for their projects without purchasing Photoshop or paying someone $$$ to do so”.

I know I am.

There is no reason or excuse for ugly graphics in the world ANYMORE.  I created this mini-monster post of graphic resources that will have people believing you are a graphic design genius.

Let’s get to it.

Stock Images & Illustrations

Photodune

Photodune is owned by Envato Market. It is a great place to get amazing stock photos for starting at $1.

Other sites I personally love for stock photos include Pixabay (free , no attribution required), 123rf.com  (you’d usually have to subscribe to 123rf however you can download some of their images (over 30,000 of them) for free everyday for a limited out of time),  Death To The Stock Photo (Free) , Unsplash (Free) ,  Stocksy (paid). Wherever you get your stock photos from please do well to read the attribution instructions.

{{Sign up for a free Photodune account.}}

Creative Market

creative market

Creative Market is my jam. I have purchased WordPress themes from them however, they do serve up a great selection of graphics as well.  When you sign up for their marketplace (also free unless you buy something) you will get 6 free goods – themes, fonts, illustrations, backgrounds, mockups etc – from the marketplace in your inbox every single week.

{{Click here to sign up for a FREE Creative Market Account.}}

Envato Market

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-5-27-02-pm

Envato market (another marketplace that will occasionally send you free goods) is the home of Themeforest for WordPress themes and AudioJungle but is another amazing source of predesigned graphics you could use in your designs.

Ivorymix

Kayla over at Ivorymix will give you 300+ free styled images for free when you sign up for her e-mail list. Beyond that, you can purchase extra items in the Ivorymix shop or sign up for $10/month membership so you have access to even more phenomenal photos. Getting pictures from the Ivorymix Shop is worth every cent especially if you are a blogger like me who is always on the look out for gorgeous, unique + clean-looking photos for work.

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-1-37-51-pm

PinkPot

Chaitra from PinkPot is a genius and I see people use her styled photographs all over the internet. In fact, if you hop on over to her site right now, she will send you a photo pack immediately for signing up to her e-mail list. And then she sends a pack to you monthly (sometimes more frequently).

Thanks Chaitra. You’re a treasure.

Creating, Designing & Editing 

Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is a new kid on the block and like any other Adobe product, I see it helping people like you and I do amazing things with graphics.

Snappa

Snappa is fairly new to the online graphic design game & yet they have managed to make me a believer. You can sign up for a free account but get the full use of all Snappa has to offer with a $15/month plan.

Canva

Best graphic tool invention since sliced bread. 🙂 And if you think their free version is heaven, Canva for work is their paid version that takes things to a whole new level.

Picmonkey

When I first started online, I did all my graphics with PicMonkey. I don’t use them a lot now but they do have a delightful blog that shows you how to use different features within PicMonkey.

{{Start a 7-Day Free Trial with PicMonkey Pro}}

Pablo by Buffer

I love Buffer as a social media management tool and that they added Buffer to their platform was genius. Pablo certainly does not have all the bells and whistles Snappa, Canva or Picmonkey have but it is still great for when you’re short on time and want to create something simple.

PiktoChart

Create gorgeous infographics with PiktoChart. It is very easy to use and you do everything online and download it after you’re done. There are hundreds of free icons and beautifully drawn graphics you can use in your creations as well.

COST : There is a free trial (you don’t need to give them your credit card so you don’t have to be afraid of getting charged after your free trial is done. We’ve all been there. Nightmare.) and then it starts at $29 per month.

Infogr.am

If you like data and creating charts and graphs, you will enjoy Infogr.am.

COST : Free

Easel.ly

Easel.ly is a new discovery of mine. It’s great for creating good-looking infographics as well. Extremely versatile too if you ask me.

COST : Free. $3 per month to upgrade to PRO.

Stripemania

Need a striped background for your graphics ? You can go to Stripemania to do that. When you are doine choosing the colors and the size of stripes you want, you simply download it and use it for your designs.

COST : Free

Pixlr

pixlr

Pixlr has certainly grown up since I first discovered it 4 years ago. If you’re familiar with Photoshop BUT don’t necessarily want to spend money on it, Pixlr is a wonderful alternative in my opinion.

Other Photoshop-like software that are completely free if you don’t mind the learning curve : Paint.NET and Gimp.

Placeit

place it

Great for creating mockups of your physical or digital products.

Printscreen Shortcut

I use the “PrintScreen” button on my PC desktop A LOT. I use it to take screenshots which I then can annotate using Windows Paint.

Awesome Screenshot

Awesome Screenshot is a Google Chrome tool that is wonderful for taking shots of your computer screen and annotating them as needed.

Fonts

You are not restricted to using the fonts your computer came with.

Dafont.com

Need cool fonts for your designs ? You can go to Dafont.com to download some.

COST : Free

Google Fonts

If Google wasn’ t in on the font game, I would seriously be wondering why.

Creative Market is another great source of beautiful fonts as well.

Picking Color Palettes

If you are as terrible as me at picking color schemes for just about anything, Adobe Kuler and the Google Chrome extension Colorzilla might become one of your fave tools. EVER.

Miscellaneous

Hubspot

Hubspot is constantly giving stuff away. And it’s not just marketing stuff, which Hubspot is known for.

I have come to love Hubspot for the graphic creation tools they make available for absolutely free.

They have free eBook templates, sets of icons and royalty free stock images you can use for free . You can download each of these from there and use them whichever way you like.

COST : To download, you will need to enter you e-mail. Small price to pay for huge profits if you ask me.

Fatcow Free Icon Download

I’ve been using Fatcow for website hosting for 3 years now and it is only recently that I discovered that they actually have over 3000 icon graphics you can download for free.

COST : Zilch.

SIDE NOTE : Fatcow is also the company I have used for hosting my blogs for the past 3 years. Their customer service has been nothing but stellar since I started with them and I highly recommend them if you’re thinking of starting your own blog.

 

Pew Research

You don’t want to be the person who creates charts and infographics with wrong data. To get accurate data and research that you can use in your charts and infographics, Pew Research is a great place to go. Gallup is another useful resource to find data and research. Data can defintely have it’s biases however, you are better off using these resources than simply typing your search into Google or Wikipeida.

COST : Free.

Photobucket

I’ve been using Photobucket for about a year now to store and host my images. There is a paid ad-free version. I don’t store so many photos there and so I use the free version which is riddled with SO MANY ads it is annoying. However, I am not going to complain about free. I can put up with it for a few minutes a week.

I also love Photobucket because when I write blog posts, I don’t insert images into the posts using the local Media Uploader. I instead copy the html that Photobucket generates for my picture and put that in my post instead. I find that the pictures load faster that way than if I uploaded them using the in-built WordPress media tool.

COST : Free. Paid version available.

Jpegmini

Speaking of large photos and how they can slow down website load times, you can minimize the size of your graphics without losing quality using when you use Jpegmini. ImageOptim is another useful tool that achieves the same result.

COST : Free

Sumo Paint

Last but not least, if you really want to be able to use a Photoshop-like application without having to worry about downloading anything, Sumo Paint is worth trying out. Sumopaint has this to say on their website :” Photoshopping in your browser. Sumo Paint is an online image editor, without need to install anything to your device. It’s the most versatile photo editor and painting application that works in a browser. You can open and save images from your hard drive or save it to cloud.”

It used to be that you could use Sumo Paint for free or pay $4 to upgrade to PRO. But now, you have to e-mail them to use their software.

A tool you use that is not listed here ?  Let me know in the comments.

P.S – If you enjoyed this post, I would really appreciate it if you could share it with your people. Like they say, “sharing is caring”. A little cheesy, but true 😀 !

*This is a an updated post from December 2014*

32 Graphic Design Tools

  • Alyce J

    There are some great tools here. I also use venngage.com/ for my infographs. Making good images can take so much time if you don’t have the right apps.

    • You what’s funny Alyce ? I was in the middle of editing images for my newest blog post when you commented. I just spent over an hour creating 2 images. I completely agree with you about it being so time consuming when you don’t have the right tools. Personally, my favorites are PicMonkey and Canva because they make amateurs like me look really good. LOL.

      Thanks for taking the time to reply , Alyce !

  • Dev

    Some great tools here, Gertrude. My personal favorites are Canva and Adobe Photoshop :).

    • Hi Dev. I love Canva. I felt a lot of people know about it so I left it off the list. Photoshop I still have to learn to use though (I think I am also secretly avoiding it because I feel it will be too hard to learn). We’ll see !!

      Thanks for stopping by to comment. 🙂

  • Christine Knight Bailey

    Gertrude! Thank you so much for this list! I knew of most of them but found some gems that I hadn’t stumbled across yet!!

    • Hi Christine,

      Thanks for taking a moment to comment on the post & glad you enjoyed the post and found gems !

  • Tracey Hamilton

    Thanks Gertrude for the information. I was not aware of many of these tools.

  • Hi Gertrude, I just discovered your blog and I’m loving it! Your my new online mentor. I create a lot of images for my blog posts. The site I use is, dollorphotoclu.com. The site has great images and everyone costs $1.00. If you’re looking for wonderful free (the magic word) background images try, upsplash.com. or lifeofpix.com
    Thank you for the great information!

    • Hi Pamela,

      I am so glad my content is helpful to you and it encourages me to hear you say that. I use Unsplash.com very frequently as well as Pixabay but I am yet to use the dollarphotoclub. Maybe I will try them in the New Year.

      Don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail any when you need help.

      Happy New Year !

  • Lissa Johnston

    Some great new tips here. I’ve been using the beginner level Fastest Quote Maker and just inserting whatever background pics are cool or blend with my so-called brand color scheme which btw is still evolving. I get the background pix from Unsplash or Flickr (and attribute properly of course). I can’t warm up to Canva for some reason. I think b/c I use the free version and I feel like it is harder to create something unique when so many other people are probably using the same free templates for their stuff?? I didn’t realize Google offered fonts. They have one I love but I’ve not seen it offered anywhere but in my blog template. I’ll check out your link and see if it’s available. Fingers crossed!

    • Hello Lissa,

      Thanks for coming over and leaving me a comment today. I absolutely agree when you say Canva templates make creating something unique a difficulty – which is why I never really use their templates. I always start with a blank canvas in Canva and create things from scratch and for that purpose Canva is an AMAZING tool. I also keep a personal style template for my blog/projects and Canva saves it so all I do is change a background and the text and I am good to go.

      I hope that helps !

      • Lissa Johnston

        Ah that’s the piece I was missing from Canva – I was just using the templates. So I can select font and color palette and save, then just reuse? Is that a paid service? I also want to find something that does an opaque background for the text block to make it easier to see on some of the busier backgrounds.

        • Hi Lissa – you can absolutely select a font and color palette and save it for use. When you first sign in to Canva you will see “All Your Designs” and everything you’ve designed with Canva will show up. I just selected a previous design, change the background and title and that is how i create the graphics for my blog posts in under 3 minutes. And yes this is for the free version. And yes, you can create opaque backgrounds in Canva. What you cannot create are transparent backgrounds – which is something Picmonkey CAN do.

  • Hey there Gertrude! Definitely some great tools + resources listed here. I am a Canva fanatic..but I am hearing great things about Adobe Spark. Gonna check it out soon!

    • Hello Kim ! Honored that you are here. I know you’re a Canva groupie. LOL. I even saw you have a resource on creating workbooks in Canva, am I right ? So epic. I started using Adobe Spark on the down low BUT I have to say the fact that you can also create videos and (soon enough) web pages is pretty genius.

      • Heyyyy there Gee! Yes mam I am a Canva FANATIC! I absolutely love using it as it is super duper awesome. But…I am always on the lookout for new resources and tools to use as well.

        Thanks for putting this list together. Oh + Girll we need to do a BLAB together soon.

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  • Great new tips that can be follow especially for beginners.

  • Anna Reid

    Really nice list! Thanks Gee! My personal favorites are Canva and Google Fonts.

    I would also recommend TurboCollage to quickly make photo collages: http://www.turbocollage.com

    Here’s a screenshot of TurboCollage:

    • Hello Anna ! Oh my this is so cool. My hubby has a food blog and so this would be excellent for him. Thanks so much for sharing. Have an amazing day 🙂

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  • Great new tips for beginners.

  • kararenea

    Great article! Thanks for the info this is really useful stuff 🙂

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  • This is very useful and helpful info.

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  • You are so kind Gertrude! Thanks so so much for the mention and kind words, means a lot! 🙂

    • You are very welcome Chaitra ! Honestly, I love your work 😀

  • Mauricio Gomez

    What about FreePik.com

    • I have never heard of FreePik, thanks for letting me know !

    • Laura Woodhouse Bingham

      I LOVE Freepik.com!

  • Gray

    Great list! But DesignDodo.co should also be here. Designing tools plus royalty-free images

    • I looked up DesignDodo, it seems like a fantastic tool. Thanks Gray.

    • I second this – I use it all the time and it’s really good.

  • Laura Woodhouse Bingham

    Girl, as a professional graphic designer, you got this SPOT ON!!! And I learned a few new tools! Thanks!!

    • You are welcome Laura. Glad you enjoyed it ?????

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  • Anna Reid

    Nice list of tools! Another tool that has helped me on numerous occasions is TurboMosaic photo mosaic maker from http://www.turbomosaic.com

    Here’s a sample photo mosaic I quickly put together in TurboMosaic:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fe138597c740ce39b4a3e4f78c75c831e4e9fadacca68782b9c482ff461cfb0b.jpg

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  • Saiprasad Prabhu

    Great article , thanks 🙂

  • Gregor Nussberger

    Fantastic write-up. I beg to differ though. You wrapped this list rather creatively. Your pen is indeed mightier than the sword. May I suggest http://www.printelf.com/ where you can get some very nice free designs and logos. Just my 5 cents. Keep up the great work.

  • Steve Curtis

    Sketchbook and Sketchbook Pro. Free, and the Pro is $20 subscription for a year. I use the Pro version, and it’s now integrated with my Photoshop. It saves to .psd, and opens them as well, so I go back and forth. Real value? The brush sets. Hundreds of them incredible detail and beautiful art. Truly an artist and illustrator’s tool. Only begun with it.

  • Great list! Especially the stock images sites that offer royalty free options. So helpful. Bookmarked this for future reference. Thanks!

  • Very nice list! Another tool like these is Tonomatograph.com. They have free and cool flyers, A3 posters, A4 presentations and other templates.

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  • what a great list of tools! checking at least half of them out 🙂 thanks!

  • Danielle Kling

    This is an awesome list! Thank you. I have few to share that I didn’t see it in the comments. When I am looking for texture stock photos, I love https://lostandtaken.com/ . And https://krita.org/en/ is a free open source painting, functions much like Sumo. Lastly, a free 3D open source – must be a little tech savvy for the install but worth it since most 3D programs are so expensive. blender.org

    Cheers!!

  • There are some good tools here. I’ve used a few of them already – Hubspot is a particular favourite blog of mine.

  • Rosalie Markovics

    Great post-thank you.I started out blogging and found that I love graphic design as I take any opportunity daily to design posters, pins and ads.

  • Gradford David

    A very useful tool and easy to use on Web, Android and IOS http://libable.com

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  • very nice information thank you…. 🙂
    http://asimbhaya.com/