top design tools

Tom More — Co-founder of Slidely — once wrote on The Next Web,


Short attention spans have made lengthy explanations less effective


Nothing captivates the Internet user as much as visuals do. Be it for blog posts, eBooks, Infographics, Social Media updates, or whatever else you produce, you have a lot coming your way when you bank on visuals and graphics.

Here’s the fact: 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text, according to 3M corporation and Zabisco (Thank you Amanda Sibley of HubSpot for the statistic).

From Amanda, again, Here are at least another 19 reasons why you should include visuals in your marketing (or everything you try to communicate, really).

But you are no designer. You can barely tell Adobe PhotoShop from Illustrator. Plus, you have no time to create graphics using “The photoshop thing”. That’s why there are top design tools that you can use to quickly create graphics and visuals for marketing.

Just like that. Here are some of those:


Giphy helps you create animated gifs. You also get to see many other gifs created, right there on their home page.

Animated Gifs do make an impact, but do it with care. I am not a big fan of using those random gif shots off the Popular Friends Series or any other source. Although many bloggers and businesses tend to use these. As a better alternative, I’d recommend trying to make gif images to show something (about how to add contacts in CRM, maybe?


Most of the design tools you’d see here on this list, and elsewhere, are desktop-based or web-based. ProtoSketch is one of those few tools that’s strictly iPad-based.

Mac variants and others are coming soon, but ProtoSketch helps you create vector graphics, designs, and pretty much anything from a logo to a website design quickly. It’s also a great to use for prototyping.


Canva has soon emerged as the leading tool to create a wide array of graphics for the web. From Facebook cover photos to Twitter updates, and from Infographics to invitation posters, Canva has most things covered. Featuring a drag and drop functionality along with an ever growing repository of images, vectors, and icons, doing graphcis with Canva is as easy as using your mouse.


Just like Canva, Desygner allows you to whip out graphics real fast. Unlike Canva, Desygner also has a lot templates, stock photos, vectors, graphics, and icons for you to use.

Plus, you can quick resize images (only available on Canva’s Paid Plan) to fit various social sites or blog post requirements.


If you are a marketer looking to create ads and banners, look no further than BannerSnack. Pick up templates for your ads or banners and drag/drop objects to create your ads quickly and efficiently. You can use the free library of images and assets or bring in images from the Creative commons. If you’d like a better quality, you can also find images and illustrations from Deposit Photos, iStockPhoto, or Photolia.

Serif Pageplus

Serif’s PagePlus is the only tool that you’d have to download – yeah, the good, old downloadable software – but it’s well worth the effort if you’d like to create documents of any sort. Go ahead and create Brochures, postcards, ePuB covers, Kindle Book Covers, flyers, and possibly every other document you’d ever need for your business.

Affinity Designer for Mac

One of the best apps on the Mac Store for art and design in the year 2014, Affinity Designer for Mac helps you develop designs really fast. Zoom off at about 60 fps, apply effects in real time, and work with objects and graphics as complex as you like while Affinity never runs out of memory or the capability to handle tasks.

Design Rails (Beta)

Need a logo real quick? How about minutes instead of days or weeks? And get this: how about a logo at no cost to you? Design Rails is a cool app that taps into its database of varied iconography, typefaces, color schemes, and layout styles to get you the logo that you are likely to fall in love with.


WithOomph – reminds us of Social Oomph – is another cool discovery for getting your logo done with nothing but a business/brand name and a keyword. If you do like one of those logos that come out, almost instantly, you may purchase your logo files (PNG, PDF, and EPS) for a mere £25. They also have screen-printing and other printing options available.

Sta.Sh Muro by Deviant Art

Imagine getting to a URL and getting almost anything done in terms of graphic design? How about some quick photo editing? Instead of waiting for Photoshop to load forever for quick edits, you might as well use Muro by Deviant Art. We haven’t used this one yet (so your feedback is welcome).


Think of WordSwag as a graphic designer in your pocket, at the palm of your hand. Available as an App in the iTunes Store, WordSwag has more than 290,000 images (sourced through Pixabay). Create your visuals quickly, add image filters if you need to, pick your own backgrounds, add text, and share on social when you are done.


PicMonkey lets you edit and touchup photos, design visuals, and create a collage if you like to. Turn photos into illustrations, use text masks to combine images with text, and even go retro if you like. A pro version is available for ads-free editing and more features.

Which of these tools do you use? Do you know of any other graphic design tools for non-designers that business owners and marketers can use?