Top 5 free online design tools for small businesses

All kinds of things go into making a client or customer choose you or your company over your competitors.

Sure it’s the excellence of your service or product that will ultimately clinch the deal, but before any customer gets to that stage, he or she will have been quietly making ‘yea or nay’ decisions based on your image. For all the importance we place on text, it’s an indisputable fact that images are processed in the brain faster than words. These five ‘no tech or design skills required’ content and design creation tools will help small businesses, without big design budgets, look a million dollars.

CANVA ( ‘Empowering the world to design’ is Canva’s slogan. With more than 10 million users across 179 countries, Canva has allowed people of any skillset to create compelling designs, using a simple drag and drop interface. Available at canva. com, users can access its basic services for free. Its ‘Canva for Work’ is $9.95 per month when paid annually or $12.95 per user/month and offers more features including custom fonts and design palettes.

LUCIDPRESS ( Over three million people use Lucidpress - a drag and drop web-based service with which users can create stunning brochures, newsletters, magazines, reports, and more for online distribution or for print. Its easy-to-use page layout and design software makes every aspect of the design process more intuitive. You can easily lay out text, photos, shapes, and videos for professional results using their wide choice of templates. Documents can be easily exported as a PDF, JPG, or PNG, depending on your needs. You can also share them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, or embed them on your own webpage. There is a free but limited service. More professional packages start at $9.95 a month.

INFOGR.AM ( No one can have failed to have noticed the rise and rise of the infographic. Its ability to transform complex information into graphics that are both easy to grasp and visually appealing has made it more than a little popular in the business world. Infog.ram is an easy to use online infographic maker which allows users to create and share beautiful infographics, online charts and interactive maps. It offers basic designs free, with more services and designs available from $9.00 per month.

PIKTOCHART ( Running with the infographics trend is Piktochart, another DIY infographic maker. Its customisable editor lets you do things like modify colour schemes and fonts, insert preloaded graphics and upload basic shapes and images. Its grid lined templates also make it easy to align graphical elements and resize images proportionally. There’s a free version offering three basic themes, while a pro account costs $29 per month or $169 for a year. Piktochart currently serves over 5 million users, and counting.

VISME ( Visme is a simple tool to translate your ideas. into engaging content in the form of presentations, infographics or web content. The content created using Visme can be easily shared on Social media, embedded into a website or blog, and even downloaded to use offline. Its most common uses are for presentations, infographics, banners and short animations and teasers. The basic package is free. More advanced content can be accessed for $10-$20 monthly.

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