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 always 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 present day 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!

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.

A quote post made with Canva

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

Crello: Crello is my current favorite. It’s a design tool launched by the folks from Depositphotos. If you like illustration style designs, they have some very beautiful ones in their library.

A GIF post made with Crello

The best part is that Crello enables you to create animated designs. However, the output is saved as MPEG4, so you’ll need an additional tool like EZGIF to convert the output to a GIF.

DesignWizard: Design Wizard is a new entry to the market. The folks at DW pitches themselves as an extremely viable alternative to the likes of Canva or Crello etc, with a lower cost licensing model. All of their tools features are available in the free subscription.

A Design Wizard output

They also claim to have over 20,000 professionally designed templates (10,000 free) and over 1.2 million images in their library.

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.

I used to 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 the scratch.

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

Made with 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.

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.

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

This is how my poster will look like on a tall building wall

You can download low-resolution output for free.

Paid plans start from 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 work in layers, replace colors, transform objects and so on.

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.

Design Evo: 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 DesignEvo.

DesignEvo allows you to create a logo in minutes using their library of font, shapes and colors in their easy to use editor.

Once you are happy with your logo you can download a low resolution version for free. Even the low resolution version is more than OK for online usage and there’s no watermark. However, you’ll have to give credit to DE for using it.

Made with Design Evo

For USD 20 you can download max resolution print ready files. No extra charges for editing and re downloading.

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.



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