9 Easy Tools for Professional Image Design
Acoording to the Oxford dictionary, Design is “the arrangement of the features of an artefact, as produced from following a plan or a drawing”. In today's content-driven era design is as important as the content itself. If you have an awesome piece of content, but a bad design, who's going to read it? In eCommerce design is crucial as a way to display your message in order to be attractive and understandable for your audience. If content is the juice of your website, design is its container, the package through which it is delivered to your target group.
Unfortunately not every starting webshop can afford to hire a professional designer. However, there are some easy-to-use tools that can help every entrepreneurs to produce high-quality designs for their content projects. Lets take a look at some of the best tools out there.
Canva is an online tool that makes design easy and affordable. With dozens of free layouts, templates, fonts, filters, symbols and many others, even a 6-year old would be able to produce a professional-looking image. Canva is totally free and even though its still in Beta-stage it is becoming one of the most promising tools for small business owners to gain control over simple design projects. Canva also has thousands of images and paid backgrounds to complement your designs for $1 a piece. When you finished your project, downloading and sharing your file couldn’t be easier. From a selection of download options and formats you will find the solution to fit your business objectives.
Foundation is a design framework that allows users to imagine and develop a user-friendly website for every device. Foundation is a great solution for both professional designers to collaborate with business owners in prototyping the looks of their future website and easily optimise it for any screen. The visual of the Foundation dashboard is lean and fast, making the website design process quicker than ever. Also, for every website owner looking to develop their own design and programming skills, Foundation offers support through a wide set of documents and a community forum.
3. Icon Archive
Icons are graphical elements that represent the actions one can undertake on a website. From the most basic smiling icons to submit buttons, business symbols to design banners or stamps, at Icon Archive you can find everything you might be looking for. The advantage of using this website to find your favourite icons is the fact that it allows you to filter the more than 500.000 icons available by different categories and colour and even up or downvote them.
After taking a picture of one of the products you are selling online it is important to give it some retouch, whether on the background, the colours, brightness or some simple composing. There are plenty of paid image editing tools out there which you probably heard about before. Gimp is a free solution that allows you to reach the same result as you would with a paid tool. It's a versatile graphics manipulation package compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. Take a look at its website, download the software and go through some of their tutorials to get you started.
Coordinating colours and schemes is not as easy as it looks. Especially for less experienced eyes this might be a true challenge difficult to nail. Fortunately Adobe has created a free-to-use tool to support all of us doing so. Adobe Color Wheel is an intuitive tool that allows you to choose a colour from the wheel and automatically find out the best matching colours, regarding complementarity and contrast. As default, the colour wheel is set to show you analogous colours, but you can define results to appear as monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, shades and so on.
Another useful feature is the possibility to check the colour scheme compatible with your own design by uploading an image for analysis. After finding the desired colours, you will be able to copy the colour ID, RGB and HEX code so you can easily update your design.
Share as image is a Chrome extension which allows you to transform text or images from any website into shareable content, as an image. An easy to understand and super easy to use, yet extremely useful tool for anyone looking to create great content within seconds. A community building tool that promises to deliver high quality outcomes able to increase your audience response to your social media interactions.
Dafont is one of the most versatile free font stock available online. Without registration or any further signup you have direct access to hundreds of thousands of fonts ready to be used. Dafont's fonts are organised into nine themes, from cartoons, to old school, to medieval or even Halloween it is most likely that you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for.
Many times you will need to publish a screenshot of your website or a certain page online. Each operating system brings automated commands to capture your screen yet editing or highlighting certain parts of it is more difficult. Evernote developed the app 'Skitch' to make screenshot capture and editing easier. Also, directly from the Skitch view you can highlight certain areas with squares, underlines, crop the image, write some text or even stamp the screenshot.
When you are happy with the result you can synchronise it with Evernote, which can be shared with all your colleagues or simply exported into your Desktop as any other image. Skitch requires download, but as soon as you start trying it out you will find it so useful and intuitive that you won’t mind the short time it took you to install it.
Just because you like the way your website looks, doesn’t mean that from the user perspective the message is conveyed in the best way. Sometimes, it is important to have someone from outside to take a look, try out your website and see whether they understand the functionality, how to navigate and, more important, what you sell and how to buy.
UserTesting is a business that gives you access to videos of real people using and testing out your website or mobile app. There is no better way to obtain sincere, non-biased opinion from what could be your customer. You can even select the exact tasks you want people to do and have your results back in less than an hour.