If there’s one thing busy marketers like myself often complain about – it’s the lack of good and affordable designers to bring our concepts to life. Add to it the pressure of managing a small business with a limited budget, you often end up making designs yourself. Until Canva happened, most marketers were probably spending more time learning Photoshop or combing Upwork and Fiverr for affordable designers than doing the marketing work itself.

Canva empowered marketers to design and inspired designers to design better. Everyone loves it. Madly, deeply, truly. I do too, which is why I won’t be writing about Canva – again. Instead, I’ll cover a list of other amazing tools that I keep in my arsenal for specific design needs for when I’m short on a designer or when I don’t find what I need in Canva.

Here goes!

1. Genially – For Interactive and Animated Content

I wanted to create a stellar presentation for a client, with some cool animation and illustrations. That’s how I stumbled on Genially. The tool allows you to create training materials, corporate presentations, social media posts and all kinds of marketing graphics – with a twist – you can animate, and add interactive elements to your designs. Meaning, you can have your posts pop up with a text window or a link on mouse hover. And, you can also create gamification content (quizzes) without the need for a designer or developer.

I tested out some of the templates and ended up using the visual thinking checklist in the presentation. Loved the effects!

2. Creately – For Organizational Charts & Technical Diagrams

I’m a big fan of organizational charts, especially when you’re starting out with a new business or a new team and you want some structure to your team dynamic. You could easily draw up a structure on Word or Excel, but hey, visual treats are far better than boring boxes. And so I tried Creately.

The tool allows you to create stunning organizational hierarchy charts & lets you create work process flows, use-cases, mind maps, concept maps, database diagrams, relational diagrams, and more. Explore at your own peril, lest you end up wasting a whole day getting hooked to the tool!

3. Pixlr – For Quick Photo Editing

Need to quickly fix an image? Pixlr is my go-to tool. Unlike other image editing tools, Pixlr is more professional and does not bank on effects alone. You can liquify, retouch, draw, work with layers and do a lot more than you could on other online apps.

What I like most about the tool is the ability to save in multiple file formats – PNG, WebP, PXZ and of course JPEG. I had a couple of travel images that I needed to quickly fix and this tool did the job perfectly (I dread Photoshop).

4. Venngage – For Business Infographics

Infographics are the perfect summary to long-form content, helping people who hate reading blogs to quickly grasp key points in a visually appealing manner.

Getting a great infographic made though is a huge challenge.

While Genially and Canva do offer infographics, Venngage does business infographics way better with over 7,500+ professional templates, categorized into more than a dozen industries. Even with the free account, you won’t be disappointed with the variety of designs you can access and create. And the best part? You can also add interactive elements such as YouTube, survey form, and polls in your designs.

Again. Browse at your own peril.

5. Quotefancy Studio – For Beautiful Quote Posts

And on some days, if all you want is just a simple tool that lets you quickly type in a text to make a quote post, Quotefancy Studio it is.

hances are you already have Quotefancy Studio’s quote posters on your desktop or social media profiles. It’s one of the largest and most popular quote poster platforms in the last few years. They started off by giving free quote posters, all while working on the quote creation tool in the backend.

They’ve finally launched the tool for users to buy at a one-time fee of $15 with lifetime access. If your work involves lots of quote posting, this is a valuable $15 to spend.

To Conclude

I know it gets overwhelming with so many options out there. At this point, you’re probably thinking getting a designer is way better. Well, technically, DIY tools are not a replacement for a professional designer. You should still get a designer if you can. That said, it’s always good to know how to use these tools so you don’t miss out on the schedule of your content strategy. It’s even better if all your marketing team members are trained on one (if not all) of these tools so everyone can do their jobs efficiently without having to rely on one designer.

In case you’re a one-man army running your own show, it’s better to hire a VA who can use these tools to create posts so you can get by the first six months without worrying about design and content issues.

Pro-Tip: The sheer volume of design options given by these tools can be overwhelming. You would want to try everything and could easily feel lost. In my experience, create a small brand guideline – lock the colors, the font style, the design style (retro, modern, soft vs hard hues etc), and the structure for the different types of post. Pick a theme that requires the least amount of edits, add your content and publish. It’s very, very and I mean, verrry easy to get hooked into these designs and when that happens, you’ll end up more frustrated. The whole point of DIY is to get designs done fast.