When it comes to graphic design, how much thought do you put into it? What about your website, or the featured images on your blog post or even your social media accounts?
Your website should already utilize high quality, high resolution graphics, especially for header images, image sliders and your main pages. If not, your website may look dull and outdated. For your blog posts, your images still need to be crisp and clear. The featured image for your blog articles should be an image that reflects the title and content of the article.
Designing images for your website, blog and social media accounts can be challenging, especially if you are working with a minimal budget, basic software and little time. Below are some tools for you to use that are budget friendly, don’t require a large software purchase and can help you regain some time.
5 Great (and easy) Graphic Design Tools
I love Canva and have been using it for a few years. They have pre-populated templates for you to draw inspiration or use for your website and social media account. Plus, they offer a free Canva For Work account for nonprofit organizations!
- Best Use: Social Media posts, Blog images, Headers, etc.
- No. of Products: 5 (Education, Small Business, Large Company, Nonprofit or Charity, Personal)
- Cost Range: Free for personal use, $12.95 per user/month for Canva For Work, Enterprise pricing options
- Tutorials: Yes
- App Available?: Yes, for iPad
Tip: Double check image dimensions for Facebook. Facebook has changed their dimensions for event cover photos (it is now 1200 x 628 pixels) and Canva has yet to update the template dimensions.
Below are some examples of design created using Canva. Click on each thumbnail to enlarge the image.
[gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="11676,11677,11675"]
When I started creating eBooks and Whitepapers, I initially used InDesign. While I love InDesign, Lucid Press cut the learning curve and enabled me to create professional content easily. I have also used Lucid Press to create CTAs (call-to-actions). Similar to Canva, Lucid Press has a set of templates for you to choose and modify. Unfortunately, Lucid Press doesn’t offer a free product for nonprofits at this time.
- Best Use: White papers, eBooks, Year End reports, and multiple page documents.
- No. of Products: 2 (Education and Business)
- Cost Range: Free for personal use and limited to 3 pages per document and 25 MB of storage, $5.95 for single user basic, $12.95 for single user pro and $40 per month for 5 user team accounts. Enterprise pricing available.
- Tutorials: Yes, scroll down to their footer and click “How-to”.
- App Available?: No.
Below are some examples of design created using Lucid Press. Click on each thumbnail to enlarge the image.
[gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="11680,11679,11678"]
ColorZilla is a Chrome extension and Firefox add-on that allows you to easily cursor over a particular pixel of color and see its RGB and HEX code.
Once you have your website colors, I recommend choosing and approving complimentary colors. Paletton is a great tool to find complimentary color schemes. Enter any HEX color code and select from monochromatic, adjacent, triad, or tetrad color schemes.
The base color used to generate an adjacent color set was the bright purple, HEX#CF32FC.
Tip: Convert your colors to CMYK. Colorhexa.com is a great free all-in-one tool that also provides color schemes.
If you’ve grown tired of your font list, check out Google Fonts. They list over 800 open source fonts for you to download and use. For example, Raleway is a popular corporate font, however it usually isn’t preloaded with new systems, but is available for download here.
Create a Style Guide
One of the key aspects to a style sheet are your logo and website’s colors. If your company doesn’t have a style guide, I highly recommend putting one together. A style guide is helpful for your employees, vendors or volunteers to maintain brand consistency. Click below for a free one page template.