Whether it’s creating a new logo for your brand or upgrading your business card, having the right creative tools and resources is an important part of running a business. But if Adobe Photoshop’s $79.99 monthly subscription is breaking the bank, here are some cheaper alternatives that will get the job done and more.
7 Creative Tools To Help Design Your Brand (that isn’t photoshop)
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Platform: Linux, Windows, Mac
Key Features: Photography, graphics, customisation, plugins
Best suited for: Photos
An alternative to Adobe Photoshop, GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program and is an open source image editor. Offering a side toolset similar to Photoshop, this no-cost image editor application doesn’t just give you the same functions but also has a version with a similar interface. Because it’s open-source, you’ll have access to a wider range of sophisticated tools thanks to many customisation options and third party plugins. From colour correcting to cloning and painting tools, GIMP is a great option if you’ve got a limited budget but still want access to the range of tools that Adobe Photoshop offers.
Price: $99USD yearly (initial payment), $69USD (subsequently)
Key Features: Graphics, collaboration, prototyping, code export, plugins
Best suited for: Graphic designs, digital art
Targeting towards graphic designers and web artists, Sketch is a great alternative to Adobe Illustrator. If you have a team of graphic designers, what Sketch does is that it allows you to collaborate on projects using their Libraries function – giving everyone real-time updates on the project at hand. With powerful vector editing, pixel perfect precision and infinite zooming, this app is more than a simple graphic design tool but extends its functionality to include turning your project into ready-to-use codes and prototypes.
Platform: Windows, Mac
Price: $100 (one-off payment)
Key Features: Photography, AI technology, filters, pixel perfect precision, infinite zooming
Best suited for: Photos (both professional and amateurs)
Optimising AI technology, what Luminar provides is an easy and accessible way to edit photos. By being able to isolate certain areas with just one slider using new “human-aware” technology, this makes it easier to apply adjustments for a more realistic image. If you’re new to the photo editing scene, Luminar also has dozens of creative filters that cater to your every need when it comes to photos. From a sky enhancer tool to illuminating the sunrays, this powerful and easy-to-use app also features a gallery that allows easy access to all the photos that you have.
Price: Free! (limited features available), $9.95 (monthly)
Key Features: Graphics, ready-to-use templates, highly customisable, brand kit, iconography
Best suited for: Social media banners (Facebook), Social media stories (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), posters
Popular among those new to the graphic design industry, Canva’s “drag and drop” tagline provides a gateway for amateurs to the world of graphic design. With ready-to-use templates designed and frequently updated by the team, what Canva offers is a wide range of designs to cater to your every need from posters, to logos and even business cards. Not only that, but Canva also has a design school that features tutorials and courses to further ground your budding graphic design skills and fully utilize what the website has to offer.
Platform: Desktop, Mobile
Price: Free!, Pixlr Pro: $5 (monthly)
Key Features: Graphics, mobile app, doodle-friendly, user-friendly
Best suited for: Photographs (amateurs), social media banners
This user-friendly application is available on both desktop and mobile – making it convenient if you need have an idea that can’t wait to be sketched out or if you need a design on-the-go. With more than 500 million users, Pixlr’s ‘Element’ feature, you’ll be able to find overlays, borders and shapes or icons as well as easy access to new additions every week. With Pixlr’s Editor mode, you’ll be able to experience the perks of Adobe Photoshop without the commitment of downloading a software or paying extra for it. If you want to work in comfort from day to night, all you need to do is switch from light to dark mode. Designed with just the right amount of easy-to-navigate photo editing tools, you’ll experience the next best online image editor built with cutting edge technology.
Price: $7.50USD (monthly)
Key Features: Graphics, colour palette generator, ready-to-use templates, highly customisable, brand kit
Best suited for: Social media stories (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat), posters, business cards
If you’re looking for another alternative to help you build your brand, Easil has just the tools to help you do that. Similar to Canva, Easil also has a database of fully customisable high-quality templates and can resize your graphics for any social media platform with a click of a button. Getting the designs right is made easy with Easil’s colour palette generator which allows you to pick complementary colours perfectly by automatically pulling them in from your images like a whiz.
Price: $9USD (monthly)
Key Features: Graphics, iconography, ready-to-use templates, Google fonts, quotes
Best suited for: Posters, social media banners, social media posts
From over a million icons to choose from to complete access to Google fonts and quotes to add more personality to your brand, Stencil has an endless list of features that goes on and on. With its browser extensions, creating your design and exporting it is faster than ever – it has the benefits of both Canva and Easil but done at lightning speed. Even more, they also have thousands of new royalty-free photos added every week that you can use for not only business purposes but also personal ones as well.