Creating graphics without hiring a designer

Hiring a designer can get expensive, fast. It’s great to hire designers for the big projects like a website, but what do you do when you’d like some nice graphics to accompany your social media or blog posts?

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For a lot of these you can create them yourself. Even if you don’t see yourself as being creative. In the final article of this guide I'll go through some ways you can create awesome graphics without shelling out for a designer each time.

Use Canva. It’s amazing.

Canva is a completely free web app that creates beautiful graphics for you! You simply log in, select from their image/font libraries and download the finished file.

It’s by far the easiest way to get professional designs for the best price (aka free!)

The only downside is that you don’t get full creative control but this is a small trade-off in comparison tot he time and money you’ll save.

Create your own designs

If you have a bit of design experience (or even if you’re just eager to learn) you can always create your own designs.

Professionals tend to use software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and, while these are powerful tools, they’re also really expensive.

If you’d like to try your hand at design I recommend starting out with one of these free or cheaper alternatives:

Gimp (Free Mac/Windows/Linux)

Gimp is pretty much the go-to alternative for Photoshop. I have never used it personally but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

The learning curve may be fairly steep but once you get the hang of it, it looks like a pretty powerful bit of kit.

Affinity Photo (£31.99 - Mac only. Windows coming soon)

Affinity Photo is becoming a real rival for Photoshop. This is best used for editing your own photography as it has tons of professional features. The interface looks a bit easier to use than Gimp so if you can afford it, this looks like a sure bet.

Inkscape (Free - Mac/Windows/Linux)

Inkscape is great for illustration and other vector-based work. Like Gimp, it’s totally free so is a great bit of software to use. It doesn’t have as many features as Adobe Illustrator but it’s still pretty powerful.

Don’t run before you can walk

Ok, so you might love complex or quirky illustrative styles. Maybe you’re into cool photo manipulations. But unless you’re a designer, don’t try to create anything that’s too out there.

Because it will probably look pants (I know this from experience). You’re so much better off creating overly simple graphics using your brand colours and fonts than anything crazy. Simple will always be effective.

Stay consistent

Hopefully you should have some key brand elements that you can use throughout your business. Make sure you know what these are and have access to them.

Knowing you colour is blue isn’t good enough. Make sure you know the exact blue you use for your brand. And use it throughout.

Ideally you want everything you produce to look like it sits under your brand ‘umbrella’. That’s not to say you can’t have some fun with it and do something a bit different. Just keep at least a couple of your core brand elements in there.

Keep a Pinterest board of inspiration

A lot of design work follows a similar format. Make sure you’re always on the lookout for designs that you like and think you could do. Build up a library of designs that you can use for inspiration when you’re creating your own.

You don’t have to create everything

And if all else fails, remember that you don’t have to create everything from scratch. There are multiple high quality websites where you can buy graphics, fonts and photography. Here are some of my favourites:

Graphics and illustration

Creative Market Amazing for illustrations and graphics.

Graphic River Good for templates but the quality can vary.

Photography

The Stocks This lets you search through a number of free stock photography websites. All photos from here can be used anywhere for free.

Stocksy Very high quality photography but these come with high price tags. Worth it for a big campaign but for a social graphic stick to the free ones above.

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We’ve come to the end of not only this section, but the whole guide on getting design work done! I really hope you’ve found this useful and are ready to apply some of the tips you’ve learned to your business.

I’m always looking for feedback on this guide so please email me if there is anything I’ve missed or didn’t go into enough detail about.

So thanks for sticking around with me and best of luck with your business! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out for you.

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