By Tiarra Earls Haas
Sometimes your organization is in need of some killer graphic design. Whether you need a poster for an event, a design for your upcoming annual report or to spice up your social media imagery, an aesthetic presentation and visual appeal is essential. Plus, it just looks nicer.
The problem arises when it comes time to decide how such needed skills will be paid for. You could hire a graphic design artist for your needed projects, but graphic design isn’t cheap! Project rates average anywhere from $20 to $300 per hour, assuming that the designer charges hourly (some designers charge a project-based fee, which could be even higher).
I am fortunate in that I took it upon myself to pick up some graphic design skill sets, which have proven very beneficial for many of the non-profits I’ve worked with. I am proficient in the Adobe Creative Suite, which includes some excellent graphic design programs, but this software requires a very specific skill set and many people (including myself) struggle with just the basics. So what do you do when you’re on a budget and you need a quick flier design for your upcoming event? You use a DIY graphic design tool.
DIY graphic design are simple-to-use web-based platforms that remove the barriers of complicated software, enabling just about anyone to create a beautiful design. The platforms are usually template-based with simple, customizable drag-and-drop features. Here’s a list of a few web-based DIY graphic design tools that will simplify your next graphic design project:
Canva (free subscription available) – Canva is the big Daddy of DIY graphic design platforms. It’s the one I’ve used most extensively, and so far I have no complaints. They have an extensive gallery of templates to choose from. You can download your files as PDFs, JPEG, or PNG files and customize the design for just about anything – social media posting, flier, newsletter, card, poster. I even took it upon myself to complete their user training program. Apparently, I’m now an advanced user.
Easil (free subscription available) – Easil is a platform very similar to Canva. They have thousands of templates to choose from for just about any purpose, but also provide design assistance and offer full service printing too!
Easel.ly (free subscription available) – Easil.ly is a DIY web-based graphic design tool created specifically for infographics. They offer an excellent non-profit discount rate (50%) for their pro accounts, which are already only $3 a month. They do have a free subscription, but your access to templates is very limited. So far, I can’t determine that there’s any connection between Easil and Easel.ly – despite the similar names.
Pic Monkey (paid only) – Pic Monkey is a photo editing tool that also includes graphic design features. The platform offers online photo editing, image retouching and collage making. They also have a print shop and offer online trainings for all their features. The only downside is there’s no free option. Their subscriptions start at $5.99/month.
Be Funky (free subscription available) – Be Funky is a platform similar to Pic Monkey. It is targeted mostly to photo editing, with graphic design and collage maker features included. However, design is limited to things like geometric shapes, emoticons and stickers. This looks to be a great alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
It’s great to see that there are innovative minds out there who want to simplify the design process. Nonprofits are no longer limited to paying for designers for graphic design services. Find the DIY platform that works for what you need, sign up and let your creative juices flow!