Top 8 designer tools from industry experts

Imagery is one of the most critical aspects of digital marketing.

In fact, 32% of marketers say that images are the most important form of content when it comes to their business.

And these images are used across a wide variety of channels, mediums, and campaigns. These images are important when it comes to rolling out newsletters, posting content to social media, building landing pages and writing blogs.

With this increased need for images comes an increased need for designer tools that make it easy to build images that captivate audiences.

Designer tools can get expensive. Tools like Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and more cost hundreds of dollars for a download, and then subscriptions need to be renewed at additional costs.

This can really eat into a digital marketing budget, especially in the short term.

Similarly, the time and energy it takes to learn how to use these platforms if you’re not already familiar can cut into time that could be spent developing sales-driving digital marketing campaigns.

Designers can also get expensive. And while having a dedicated design team helps when building massive projects like websites, when it comes to creating gifs and social media images, some brands may not be able to afford to spend big bucks for something that will take five minutes.

That’s why there’s been such an increase in the need for marketers to understand the basics of design. Whether this is to make design requests or build designs themselves, it’s an important skill that is made even easier through the use of intuitive online design tools.

Here are eight tools design experts swear by.

1. Canva

Canva is a drag-and-drop design tool that makes it easier for seasoned designers and beginners alike to create professionally laid-out designs infused with eye-catching graphics that make an impact.

This browser-based tool is a great alternative to paid options and its web-based format makes it a breeze for designers, marketers and communications professionals to create the images they need with ease.

Canva creations are professional, engaging, and eye-catching. This tool is perfect for creating images like infographics and social media imagery that makes an impact on the audience with as little effort as possible.

2. Gimp

Gimp is a free graphics editor that lets users manipulate and edit images with ease. This cross-platform image editor provides essential, free services to remove blemishes, crop images, touch-up photos, draw designs and convert images.

It’s a downloadable software used by designers across the world. And it’s highly rated at that. But even the most novice of designers and brand professionals can use this tool to easily crop and alter images to ensure the desired outcome.

Gimp is simple to use, meaning brands don’t have to waste time training people to use the software. It comes naturally.

From invitations to Instagram posts to email banners and beyond—whatever a brand’s needs are, this helpful tool can offer it with ease.

3. Pixlr

Pixlr is a cloud-based service that offers users a number of image-editing tools to make the designs of their dreams. This is an all-in-one tool, making it essential in the digital marketer’s arsenal. Individuals can edit photos, take screen recordings, share photos and more all with the help of this suite of apps.

Pixlr offers paid and free options. But even the paid services are cheaper than those of Adobe and Photoshop.

Pixlr offers paid and free options. But even the paid services are cheaper than those of Adobe and Photoshop.
Image credit: Pixlr

These apps come in web form as well as mobile form, so not only can you make edits and adjustments to images with ease, but brands can also make these edits anywhere they go. That can streamline operations and help ensure projects are completed on time.

4. Crello

Crello is a free graphic design software. This downloadable software offers designers and non-designers hundreds of free templates, animated designs, and more to help individuals build stunning designs fit for a wide variety of marketing campaigns.

Crello is both a simple photo editor as well as a robust suite that aids in the design and development process of illustrations, animations, gifs, graphics and more.

This is a free software that can help with the creation of social media imagery, email banners, website imagery, website gifs and more.

5. Infogram

Infogram is a robust platform that can take data and turn it into a visual design. This web-based infographic platform visualizes data quickly and beautifully, making it a great option for brands that work with large amounts of data and analytics.

Instead of going through these graphs and developing the corresponding images, all a team has to do is plug in the details and Infogram will create the image that sells.

This platform also makes it easy to share these images in a variety of ways.

6. Snappa

Snappa is a quick, easy and affordable online graphics tool. In minutes, individuals can create images for social media, blogs and more without the hassle of figuring out other complex platforms.

Snappa is a quick, easy and affordable online graphics tool. In minutes, individuals can create images for social media, blogs and more without the hassle of figuring out other complex platforms.

Image credit: Snappa

A Pro version costs $10 a month and gives users access to hundreds of thousands of graphics, more than 5,000 templates, unlimited downloads and social media accounts, custom fonts and more.

Whatever a team needs as far as design is concerned, Snappa makes it simple.

7. BeFunky

BeFunky is another photo-editing alternative that reduces complex onboarding in favor of a smoother, more fluid user experience.

BeFunky is a photo editor, a collage maker and a design tool all in one affordable platform. Users can access the free platform, but for more robust tools a paid subscription is necessary.

The multitasking design tool also comes in web and mobile app form making it easy to make images on the go and without the need of a company software subscription.

With BeFunky, brands can create a wide range of graphics including imagery for banners, social media, email campaigns, landing pages, posters and more.

8. Stencil

Stencil is an essential platform for social media marketers. With it, designers and non-designers alike can create images that drive engagement, increase conversions and facilitate creative interactions on social media networks.

In fact, this platform is dedicated to social media imagery, which means that it has the tools and resources to create the right imagery for a specific audience. This platform was built with social media in mind—that is their bread and butter.

Packages start at $12.99 a month. That makes it a bit more pricey than some of these other, affordable options. But if your team is really struggling with social media imagery, it makes sense to invest in a dedicated tool.

Wrap up

These are just a handful of the robust designer tools out there that can help marketers in creating wonderful pieces of marketing art. And these options are easy for anyone to use—even if a brand doesn’t have a designated design team on staff.

Digital marketing teams have, for too long, had to struggle with imagery limitations to complement their digital marketing initiatives. But those days are in the past—these free web-based tools and software downloads are key to creating the imagery that drives engagement and conversions.

To recap, here are the best tools for designers and non-designers:

  • Canva

  • Gimp

  • Pixlr

  • Crello

  • Infogram

  • Snappa

  • Befunky

  • Stencil

Make social media, email marketing and digital campaign imagery a breeze with these intuitive tools. Design doesn't have to be a struggle, and building the imagery that engages with audiences in the right way doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

If you’re looking for more design tips, check out this blog on landing page design.


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