36 Free Design Tools to Make the Online World a Little More BeautifulBy Nykea Marie Behiel
Performing social media management for local businesses can be exhausting and—contrary to the perpetuated idea that social media marketing is free—expensive! While social media managers are juggling content, platforms, objectives and metrics, don't have them balancing the check book, too.
We've made this an all inclusive list—free fonts, color pickers, screenshot grabbers, tools to add words to images, resizers—you name it. These tools are for the design inclined and those that need a little help to get there.
36 Free Design Social Media Management Tools
Find the perfect color coordination with Adobe Color CC, a great color-palette generator. You can start with a single color and quickly put together a palette of triad, complementary, analogous or compound colors. You can also upload a picture and Color CC will generate a five-color palette. An alternative to Adobe’s offering is called Paletton, which has a more robust (and more complicated) feature set.
PicMonkey has a premium account you need to sign up for, but they offer lots of features for free. In the “edit a photo” section, you can quickly touch up, resize or do various post work on a photo without having to download or sign up for anything. This is useful for creating images of varying sizes for different functions—blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google ads, etc. You can also make a collage, do simple design or add words and quotes to photos.
BeFunky has much the same functionality as PicMonkey—collages, design or photo editing work can all be done online. It’s great for creating blog images or social ads on the fly. Everyone loves reading inspirational quotes on nice backgrounds.
Recite this allows you to type your text, choose a template and then have an image at your fingertips in seconds. No need to worry about copyright images or choosing fonts, they’ve got you covered. Of course, they want some street cred too, so they stick their watermark on the bottom.
Quotescover is another tool that allows you to slap some words on a meaningful background and have them ready in accessible sizes and formats. This great for blog images, ads, social posts or whatever other image needs you have.
A simple drag and drop tool, Fotor allows you to pull images into a lovely collage without opening Photoshop. An online photo editing software, Fotor has been offering collage and edit functionality for awhile, and has now added a design feature, allowing users to design graphics.
This is, yet another, online collage maker. The difference between Photovisi and Fotor is that with Photovisi, you can choose a cheesy theme or color palette for your image. Like, really cheesy.
If you’re like me, you don’t always get along with your family. But, um, more relevantly, you struggle with choosing colors that go well together for your images. When I see something, I can tell it’s good, but I can’t choose colors that look good together. Each room in my house looks like someone spilled paint, eclectic home decor and piles of clothes. But, thanks to tools like HTML Color Codes, I can make images that look somewhat cohesive. On this site, you can upload a picture with color palettes you like together, and the site shows you the hex code so you can use it in your own creations. I love the look of Wes Anderson films, and found this site with perfect samples of various colours in each movie. It works to quickly grab the right branding colors from any logo as well, so have at ‘er!
Canva is a great place to make easy-to-share content without a coding background, mostly focused around images. They have templates that consist of ideal sizes for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog posts, Tumblr, presentations and anything you might need to create an image for. They have an easy drag and drop interface, as well as access to free stock photos. Canva is a convenience machine for content and social marketers. You bring the colour or paint, they bring the canva(s).
Dafont is a place to grab fonts that are either freeware, shareware, demo versions or public domain. They have a font for everything—you can get the Batman font, Back to the Future and even game show light bulb fonts. This is a great tool for designers making posters, pdfs or anything that would benefit from some artistic flare in typography. Other similar tools include 1001 Free Fonts and Font Squirrel.
Upload a pic of a font and WhatTheFont tries to identify it for you. Our team has used it with about a 50% success rate. It’s a great tool to use to identify fonts used by companies that don’t have a fully defined style guide and are making a move to a new marketing agency. Another useful tool of the same variety is WhatFont.
As is thoroughly documented, my design skills leave something to be desired. Tools like Type Genius are what keep me afloat when making design projects. Select a font, and Type Genius tells you several fonts that look good paired with your selection.
Another tool in the font family, Google Fonts has a robust selection of free fonts. With emphasis on beautiful typography, open source collaboration and optimal web loading, these fonts are great for web design projects.
Deciding what font to use can be as difficult as I make choosing a restaurant—there are just so many options! Tiff allows you to overlay two different fonts in whatever letter selection you choose to contrast the differences.
Jing lets you capture basic video, animation and still images from your computer—basically a more intricate screen capture tool. Awesome Screenshot is another tool you can use to grab an easy screenshot and make edits/annotations directly in your browser.
It feels like if you have to create one image, you have to create ten because they’re all different sizes—blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, ads, etc, etc,etc. With Simple Image Resizer, all you have to do is upload your image, choose the percentage smaller you’d like it to be or choose the dimensions you need your image to be, and voila.
Have you ever spent too much time trying to slip a screenshot into a device, or to take a picture without the wiggly lines on a computer screen? If so, use Placeit to slip your images into device settings. The free version leaves you with watermarks, but you can buy one-offs or subscribe if you this is a regular struggle for you.
Love em or hate em, a meme is often as shareable as a bad cold. So whether you want to get on the meme train to respond to an internal company email or create topical shareables, Make a Meme makes it easy to search existing memes, or use your own photo and copywriting skills to create your own.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a gif is worth a thousand pictures. Or something along those lines. We often find a gif can be useful in explaining new product functionality or showing progress in analytics on the blog. With ImgFlip, add your images, choose the time delay, add text and choose the size, then you’ve got your gif.
Word Swag is an app that is excellent for marketers who are often posting to social media on the go. They have tons of beautiful backgrounds and stock photos you can use, or you can upload your own and add custom text. Make your social posts more engaging by quickly adding text to a nice background. Posts with a photo on Facebook have an 87% interaction rate, whereas no other post type generates more than 5% engagement (Social Media Examiner). It’s very useful, as you know how much more meaningful quotes look in the sky rather than in black Times New Roman on a white screen.
Infographic is a buzzword not too far behind content marketing or Trump, but it’s because they do have merit. I love infographics but suffer a terrible illness known as poor-design-itis. Lucky for me, programs like Vennage exist. Authenticate with Google or Facebook, choose a template and then quickly build your own infographic, no design skills necessary.
Infogram is another tool that lets you quickly make infographics. In less than two years, infographic search volume has increased by over 800%, so if you weren’t making them before, you should probably start now (Unbounce). Within Infogram, you can select various templates and plug your information in to produce quick, easy and aesthetically beautiful infographics.
Both of these sites are good for illustrations and graphics background. They also have brushes, patterns and swatches, which prove useful for designer types.
Paper is a creative inspiration app. You can connect notes, photos and sketches, as well as create checklists, alter photos and sketch in app. Paper is like a digital sticky note wall.
With tons of colours and ability to sketch, draw, doodle and collaborate with friends, Doodle Buddy is an app for those that used to find themselves putting pen on paper while listening to the radio. Now you can put your finger to screen while listening to a podcast.
Repix is a photo editing software with extra flexibility. The best part is that you can affect different filters and brushes to various areas of a photo, so no need to add a filter to an entire photo when it only works on one object.
Have you ever been traveling with one other person and wanted a photo of the two of you that isn't a selfie? If so, Split Pic has you covered—one of my favorite features about this app is the ability to take half a photo at a time. So one of you can grab the photo of the other, switch places and grab the other half. It has expanded and added many new features since I started using it, including a collage maker, cloning, collaborative project ability, stickers, art pieces and more.
Did we miss some? Leave a comment with other free design tools that you use, and we'll add them.