Forget Photoshop: Use These 5 Kick Ass Design Tools Instead

Once upon a time, Photoshop held the key to the magical kingdom of design.

As a marketer, for every small need, we looked up to a gatekeeper called ‘The Designer.’

The Designer was often busy and we often waited for things to move.

The arrangement was not very convenient for us as it used to take a lot of time.

Every time we were told to wait we promised ourselves that we will learn Photoshop.

But alas, Photoshop turned out to be a complicated tool to master.

It demanded that you spend a lot of time learning and practicing; a commodity that we marketers are perpetually short off.

So, the tussle prevailed…

Fast forward to the future and the scenario looks much brighter.

Today we have a number of design tools that allow non-designers like us to pull off great designs without using Photoshop.

And the best part, most of them are free!

So, here are my are my top picks:

Canva: Canva is a game changer. Canva is a free tool that allows you to create beautiful designs by just dragging and dropping objects. They also have a collection of professionally made layouts for just about any occasion.

Here’s a design created with Canva

You can create social media graphics, presentations, infographics, posters, flyers and more using Canva.

Piktochart: There was a time when I used to drool over the cool infographics published by the big brands and fantasize about the day when I’ll master Photoshop and dish out similar stuff… But as you have guessed it right, that never happened.

Instead, Piktochart happened!

Piktochart allows ANYONE to create professional looking infographics by just using drag and drop.

You can choose to make your infographic from a huge library of pre-made templates or from scratch.

Here’s an infographic designed with Piktochart

Apart from infographics, you can also make posters, reports, and presentations as well using Piktochart.

Piktochart works on the Freemium model. There is a free version that gives you access to a limited set of features.

The paid version starts from USD 15 per month.

If you are a not for profit organization or educational institution, you can get Piktochart at a special price.

QuotesCover: Who doesn’t like a good quote!

A beautiful visual quote generally gets a good response on Social Media.

QuotesCover allows you to create beautiful quotes with least effort.

QuotesCover sports a simple and user-friendly interface. Paste some text, select a style, upload a picture and you are ready to go.

Paste some text, select a style, upload a picture and you are ready to go.

If you fancy something more sophisticated, QuotesCover has a set of tools for that too.

Here’s a quote made with Quotes Cover

Apart from quotes, you can also create social media post images for various networks, E-Cards, desktop or mobile wallpapers, and even high-resolution image for posters using QuotesCover.

QuotesCover is a completely free service.

Placeit: Placeit is an interesting tool that allows you to create beautiful product mockups.

Let’s say you have created a beautiful poster using Canva and you are wondering how will it look in your office lobby.

You can use Placeit to find a similar scene and upload your design to the environment.

Thanks to Placeit, I can visualize how my artwork will look on this building wall 🙂

Placeit will instantly create a downloadable image that you can use in your presentation.

You can download low-resolution output for free.

Paid plans start at USD 12.

Pixlr: All that graphic design jazz is fine, but what if you need to make some corrections like cropping, color correction to your images.

Worry not!

Pixlr is here to help.

Pixlr is an online full-fledged free image editor from the makers of Autodesk.

It has two modules, Pixlr Editor, and Pixlr Express.

Pixlr Editor is the full-featured suite which allows you to work in layers, replace colors, transform objects and so on.

An image shared by Pixlr user @azlwx via Instagram
An image shared by Pixlr user @azlwx via Instagram

If you want to apply just some quick fixes, Pixlr Express is the tool for you. You can quickly perform tasks like crop, adding filters, adding borders etc. using Pixlr Express.

You can quickly perform tasks like crop, adding filters, adding borders etc. using Pixlr Express.

GraphicSprings: What do you do when you want to create a logo but don’t have the time and budget for a designer?

You go to GraphicSprings.

GraphicSprings allows you to create a logo in less than a minute using their library of font, shapes, and colors in their easy to use editor.

Logo samples from GraphicSprings website

Once you are happy with your logo you can download it for USD 20. If you need to make any changes you can simply log in to your account and make the changes.

No extra charge for re-download.

So, here are my choice of design tools that can help you ‘the modern marketer’ kick ass without needing to use Photoshop ever!

Do you have your favorite design tools that you think I missed out?

Leave me a comment and I will add them to the list.