free design tools

If you’re launching your own startup business, you’re probably pretty strapped for cash. One of the best ways to save money is to DIY your own marketing materials, including your website, logo, promotional materials, or product label. If you’ve decided to tackle these essential items on your own, here are ten free design tools you can use to launch your business—no payment or membership required.


Canva is a design website that can help you create pretty much anything. From flyers, to business cards, to social media images, Canva has everything. It offers an array of free design templates and elements. It also has fancier options that can be accessed with a premium (paid) membership. The only downside is originality. Since, well, everyone uses Canva, you might have to work harder to make your materials stand out from the crowd.


DesignWizard is very similar to Canva. It boasts over 10,000 free templates, as well as a diverse library of over 1.2 million images, videos, illustrations, and graphics. You can access almost all of these without a subscription. Again, you can choose to access all of them with a premium subscription. Unlike Canva, it offers video editing, social sharing and scheduling tools, and a text overlay option.


If you can’t afford Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, Pixlr is a great, free way to edit photos online. Pixlr’s image editor is pretty straightforward and easy for beginners to master, although more advanced designers might want more flexibility than it offers. Users can choose between over 600 overlays, photo effects, and borders. It can be used for free in your browser, or on iOS and Android apps.


Fotor is a free photo editing tool that has evolved substantially since it was launched in 2012. Like Pixlr, Fotor is fast and easy to use, either in your browser or via mobile app. It offers traditional photo editing features like crop, resize, and brighten, as well as more advanced tools like lasso color adjustments, background removers, and blemish removers. It even offers an AI photo editor, although this is not included in the free version.


Designs are built from vector graphics, which are difficult to find online for free—unless you use Vecteezy. There are a few caveats to using Vecteezy: firstly, the original artist must be credited for their work, which can sometimes be difficult or impossible (for example, how would you credit a vector artist on a 2-inch sticker?) Secondly, you can only download 10 items per day. Although most of the best options are hidden behind a paywall, you should be able to use Vecteezy to find the images, vector files, and graphics you need—if not the ones you want.


It can often be difficult for those with no graphic design experience to combine fonts in an artistic, professional manner. There are a lot of guidelines to take into consideration when combining fonts, like how much contrast to use. Fontjoy can help make it easy. The tool uses a neural network to recommend different font pairings. The tool currently supports nearly 2,000 font types, so there’s no need to worry about running out of options.


The flip side to having 2,000 font options to choose from is that it can be very overwhelming. There’s also the high probability that you’ll get bogged down in the task of choosing a font, when you really want to just get a move on with more important tasks. One solution is to simply choose a font you really like from somewhere else on the web. This task is made simple through WhatTheFont. Another fun option is to turn your own handwriting, or someone else’s, into your own custom font with Calligraphr. Both of these are easy to use and totally free.


If you happen to see a color you really love somewhere on the internet—or want to use the exact shade of blue in your daughter’s eyes as your label color—ColorZilla will allow you to pull up the HEX code for any pixel on a page. It also allows users to uncover even more information about a design element than the HEX code, like its tag name, class, ID, and size. We’re guessing that the average beginner isn’t interested in all that, but if you ever feel like growing your design skills, it’s there.


If you don’t have an idea for the colors you want to use in your label, the internet has an app for that, too. Coolors can help provide color combination suggestions that look synchronous, yet offer the perfect level of contrast, as well. If you’re unsatisfied with a suggestion, just press the spacebar to be presented with another one. This is another tool that works great for helping you narrow down your options and simplify the overwhelm.

Google Drawings

If your favorite childhood pastime was creating squares, circles, and squiggles in Microsoft Paint, Google Drawings is for you. This grown-up version of Paint is a great, free way to create custom graphics and visuals, as long as you have a Gmail account or use Google Apps. One of the neat things about Google Drawings is that it comes with an “invisible” background right off the bat. That way, you can create shapes that can easily be pasted on top of other marketing collateral in the future. Another cool feature is the ability to collaborate with others on the same work, just as you would with a shared Google Docs file.

SSI Packaging is a small business based in Richmond, V.A. We offer everything you might need to package, label, and track your products, and we’re here to help small business owners launch their passion projects! Learn more about us here.

(804) 808-1606