When it comes to designing websites for different clients, we here at Blayzer always remember the two golden rules for effective web design: personalization and customization. (That can be said for design in general, but I digress.) Individuality is the primary ingredient for good branding. It’s a must have for brands to process their own identities if they are to thrive in a market filled with countless competitors who specialize in the same product or service as them.
In a previous blog, we discussed the importance of custom graphics and how the use of stock imagery can actually hurt your brand. One of the key points we brought up was making sure your images relate to not only the content, but the brand as well. Sometimes that can be difficult with images that were specifically created to be one-size-fits-all, and not every company has the skill or budget to invest in high-end creative software like Adobe.
However, there are cost effective ways to create visually appealing graphics without needing a design degree. These five, mostly free, online design tools are perfect for non-designers who want an easy and convenient way to add a little more personality to their website visuals.
Piktochart is a free online design tool that specializes in creating charts, posters, and infographics. The site gives you a dozen free templates to choose from, complete with limited icons, textures, fonts, colors, backgrounds, and image upload capabilities. For heavy users, they also offer two subscription packages, both where you get your pick of over 400 templates and unlimited icons. With their biggest package, PRO, at $29 a month, you also get high-res image downloads, removal of watermarks, PDF, and Slide share. They also offer discounts to educators and government workers.
Canva is like Piktochart in many ways, but also has the ability to create eBooks, business cards, and email headers. Canva offers numerous templates that help simplify the design process; the site was built with non-designers in mind. Their drag and drop functionality makes it easy for virtually anyone to design aesthetically pleasing graphics.
Picmonkey is a free online photo editor that’s the kindergarten equivalent to Adobe Photoshop. This is perfect for small photo touch up jobs. With this site, you get a lot of the same features you get in Photoshop: image crop, image rotate, exposure, color change, image sharpen, resize, and canvas color, as well as adding texts, themes, frames, and effects.
Awesome Screenshot is a free browser app for Google Chrome. As the name suggest, this app takes awesome screenshots of anything on your computer screen. It has the ability to screen shot and crop sections of the screen, the entire computer screen, and even the entire webpage. Once you have your screen shot ready, you can print it, share it, or download it to your computer. This app is perfect for when you need an image of your website, blog, or social networks.
So after you take your awesome screenshot of your website, what can you do with it? Well PLACEIT has you covered with hundreds of different templates to choose from to create realistic looking mockups. You can any image placed within any device of your choosing, video, and apparel. This saves so much more time, money, and frustration than trying to do this in Photoshop. Small images are free to download; the bigger ones can get a little pricy, depending on size and frequency. They have subscriptions as well as one-time download fees. If you want to further personalize your mockup image, remember: you can also bring it up in Picmonkey to add overlay text and other graphics.