Whether you are a recently graduated marketer or a well-seasoned marketing director, there are some essential design tools that every non-designing marketer should have on hand to mock-up an idea, manipulate a photograph, or create an image. You might need to design occasionally in your position or to do some quick edits, or you might just like to dabble in design. These are my top five tools:
- GET INKED
Printers are inexpensive, and even if your work is not print based, it’s good to have the option to print should you need to. Also, a physical printout provides a different perspective and can sometimes act as a second set of eyes, allowing one to see things that may have been missed on screen. I like Epson printers and find they work well with Macs, but it is a personal preference.
- THE RESOURCE CLOSET
Have a “room” (i.e., a digital folder) that houses essential resources that may be needed in a pinch, like a template or a favourite website for creative motivation. Adobe’s Behance is a good place to start. It is a virtual art gallery where designers can exhibit their work. You don’t have to subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud to peruse the site and be inspired. The following are helpful sites that provide PowerPoint templates and presentation resources:
- THE LIBRARY
Having an image library is essential because, for example, a message accompanied by an image is more memorable than a message communicated by text alone. Thus, it’s beneficial to have a bookmarked list of stock photography sites to quickly access images. The two image libraries that I use are:
The Noun Project is an app that provides users with millions of icons for a nominal yearly fee and that works with Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite.
- THE ALPHABET: KNOW YOUR Ps and Qs
Photo editing and other image-based software are key items. For many, free mobile and online apps will suffice. However, for those who want a more robust professional platform and who have the budget, the Adobe Creative Cloud provides both Illustrator and Photoshop as well as many other applications for a monthly fee. (Note that there may be an investment of time required to learn the applications.) Much of your choice for software comes down to personal preference and the visual outcome that you are trying to achieve. Here are my recommendations for lower-cost options:
Pixlr – This is great for mobile device photo editing, but it can also be used as a web app. There’s a complimentary and a pro version, and it offers free fonts, graphics and vector editing.
Easel.ly – As the name implies, this software easily allows the user to design and share infographics. It also includes templates and tips for creating infographics.
Sketchbook – This is a free digital sketchbook app that can be used across multiple platforms, and it comes with unlimited brushes for endless drawing and painting ideas.
Written by Brooke Allen