The best creative tools allow businesses to upgrade their overall UI/UX experience to build logos, websites, and any type of marketing materials. Outsourcing a professional designer who charges per design can be extremely expensive for businesses since the logos, websites, banners, Instagram posts, and all types of promotional materials add up. The benefit of using creative tools is that businesses can easily make use of the staff that they already have in order to come up with designs for every marketing campaign, new platform, or new product or service they plan to launch.
Businesses that do not have a dedicated designer on board should really think about using creative tools for all the business’s design needs. It is important to know specifically what type of creative tools to use since some of them might be unnecessary when it comes to the company’s specific needs.
How we Pick the Best Creative Tools
Since design is a mixture of art and business, we made sure to ask for the opinions and input of both professional artists and professional marketers all around Australia and from different industries. We made sure to look at individuals in businesses leaning towards the “artsy” side and businesses leaning towards the industrial side to get a good mix of both worlds. We were given a list of 30 different creative tools being used and out of that list, we noticed that only 10 of them were being used in both industries.
In order to provide a well-rounded list, we decided to water down the list even further in order to come up with creative tools that are built for both words. For this, we looked at how the tools were being used and if they have proven useful not just for artsy designs, but also in actually helping businesses grow. We were then provided with a list of just five different tools that have a proven track record of success in terms of business. After that, we decided to list down five different categories from which businesses would most benefit.
We then put the five different creative tools that were highly recommended by different professionals in the art and business fields in their respective categories. Finally, we dug deeper to find out the pros and cons of each tool and how they compare with each other.
- Best for Small Businesses: Adobe Cloud
- Best for Personal Branding: Canva
- Best for Marketing Materials: Stencil
- Best for Social Media Posts: Snappa
- Best for UnlimitedDesigns: Placeit
Adobe Cloud: Best for Small Businesses
Why we like it:
- All-in-one editing
- Capable of professional designs
- Can create realistic designs
What users say:
“Have been using creative cloud since 2018, and although I’ve tried alternatives that are cheaper, this is the one I keep coming back to to help me produce the best quality content.” – Rachel P.
Adobe Cloud is one of the most popular software being used for both artists, businesses, and a mixture of both. The tool provides its users with the ability to make animations, graphic designs, or other powerful materials for any type of industry.
The Adobe Cloud can be described as more of an ecosystem that relies on different software like Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, Adobe XD (app designing software), and others to provide everything needed for all types of content. The tool is usually referred to as the pinnacle of creative tools when it comes to graphic design professionals.
Previously, Adobe used to be extremely difficult to use for businesses and individuals alike but with new integrations to its technology, its tools are now easier to use even for non-designers. The creative tool allows businesses to access a wide range of customization and design creation features for branding, marketing materials, and more.
The tool offers all-around design-making features from photo editing to the creation of design materials from scratch. Although still requiring a bit of a learning curve, Adobe Cloud offers a wide range of editing features allowing companies to make truly innovative designs and even realistic renders of a potential product.
Instead of a simple editing tool, Adobe Cloud provides users the ability to edit every aspect of their material from colors, angles, shapes, backgrounds, and more. Businesses in specific industries usually find it hard to find templates that fit them but with Adobe Cloud, they can create their own designs and customize them to their content.
The creative tool might not be the easiest to use but when it comes to making thorough and original designs, it is a great tool for small businesses that run out of luck with pre-designed templates.
Adobe Cloud provides advanced editing features compared to other creative tools like Placeit. The tool allows users to create sophisticated designs beyond what is usually categorized as “basic.”
For small businesses that don’t need the simplest but rather the most impactful editing software, start using this creative tool to help you create more powerful designs.
Canva: Best for Personal Branding
Why we like it:
- Templates for almost everything
- Simple interface
What users say:
“Canva is an excellent online graphic design tool for me. It can be used for everything from making basic photo edits to designing social media images & presentations.” – Asfak M.
Canva is one of the greatest and simplest tools out there to help users improve their personal branding. From logos to marketing content, the creative tool allows users to tap into their inner artist with templates, icons, and other tools to help users create a quality design in a matter of no time.
Although ideally, designing software should be simple to use, it is also important that the creative tool have the ability to create high-quality designs. Canva offers GIF to video, circle crops, mirrored images, image filters, video mergers, and more to allow businesses to create original marketing and branding materials.
When using Canva, users with little to no experience can easily create great content for personal branding. The creative tool allows users to create original content in order to build strong personal branding and help them create industry-specific designs for their company.
The creative tool offers different templates for all types of content making it easy for users to drag, drop, and input information to create fully packed designs. When it comes to logo making, Canva offers a unique feature that allows users to take different icons or symbols in order to incorporate a strong sense of personality for the business’s logo.
Instead of spending hours, days, weeks, or even months adjusting to creative software in order to create good designs for your business, Canva helps businesses get there right away with its simplified interface that makes the editing job much easier. When looking for a reference or design, Canva helps businesses out by providing a wide selection of templates to choose from.
Canva can also save your logo and allow you to use it on different marketing materials allowing you to keep your branding with whatever design you make. Instead of having to create the design every time a new design is made, businesses can easily save their logos or symbols and simply add them to their marketing materials.
Canva is similar to Snappa in the sense that it allows businesses to create their own designs by editing creatively designed templates. The two offer users an easy way to create designs without the need for designing expertise.
If you’re looking for the fastest way possible to create high-quality designs, look no further! This tool will allow you to create professional branding materials with little to no experience needed.
Stencil: Best for Marketing Materials
Why we like it:
- Save designs for future use
- Good for non-designers
- Easy social-media sharing
What users say:
“One of the very first web-based image editing tools I’ve used, probably since 5 years ago. It’s not a copy of something else, but it has it’s pretty unique system, but not at all hard to figure out.” – Marcius R.
Stencil is a great tool to use for businesses that are constantly launching marketing materials and need a tool to help them keep up with the volume. Instead of having to create each marketing post from scratch, users can easily choose from a wide range of templates to use each time.
The creative tool is a go-to for businesses that need to launch constant content without having a graphics design professional on their team. Hiring a professional graphics designer is not only difficult, but it can also lead to more expenses for the company.
Aside from salary, the company might have to pay for the tools and resources used by the professional in order to come up with designs on a regular basis. Another option for businesses is to pay per design that they want to be made which can be very costly especially if the business consistently launches a high volume of marketing materials.
A huge problem some businesses have with doing designs themselves is that they do not know where to start. Stencil is a great place to start, especially for businesses that lack the design expertise and need to keep up with their scheduled posts.
Since not every business has the time to learn technical software to make their marketing materials, an option is to look for a creative tool that allows them to use templates. The text, logos, and designs on the templates can be easily altered in order to fit the business’s needs.
Instead of looking for software that offers advanced design capabilities that might take a while to learn, businesses can look for simple software that they can use on a daily basis to make a wide range of designs with the help of Stencil’s templates.
Unlike Adobe Cloud, Stencil offers users the ability to create designs without much of a learning curve. Instead of having to spend days, weeks, or months learning the software, users can easily create designs on Stencil.
Don’t sacrifice your schedule when it comes to marketing materials. Instead, use a creative tool that allows you to simply edit templates on a regular basis.
Snappa: Best for Social Media Posts
Why we like it:
- Easy to use professional templates
- Designs are optimized for social media
- Allows scheduling
What users say:
“Easy to use tool for a new user having no knowledge of graphic designing. It provides a large set of elements and free samples to create your own design with ease.” – Aliza N.
Snappa is the perfect tool for small businesses that focuses heavily on social media marketing by offering optimized templates that are designed specifically for different types of platforms. Users can easily take images, remove the background, and create high-quality social media posts all in one simple interface.
The good thing about Snappa is that it is fully optimized for different social media platforms so that businesses won’t have to manually adjust sizes, angles, etc. When making a social media post, sizes are extremely important, and without a creative tool that automatically adjusts the sizes of the post, users will have to do the adjustments themselves.
Another important feature that Snappa offers businesses is its scheduling tool Users will be able to plan posts ahead of time and schedule them in order to meet deadlines. Since timing is very critical when it comes to social media marketing, the creative tool provides a feature that allows users to plan out their posts with ease.
One technique some businesses use when it comes to Snappa is creating designs in advance and strategically scheduling them throughout the day, week, or even month. This saves them a lot of time when it comes to posting since they won’t need to do the posting manually.
This creative feature is extremely useful for businesses that do not have staff that is dedicated to creating social media posts. The good thing about Snappa is that anyone can use it since it requires users to simply edit the texts and add certain icons or designs to a template in order to create high-quality designs.
Instead of creating a social media post from scratch, users will be able to create posts by editing templates in a matter of minutes. The good thing about the creative tool is that users can make different variations of the posts in order to make numerous designs and schedule them beforehand.
Snappa shares a lot of similarities with Canva by being extremely useful when it comes to creating social media posts. Users can use templates that are already optimized for social media posts.
Start using the easiest way to plan out your social media posts in advance from designing to scheduling. Stop doing things from scratch and start using the most efficient way to create social media postings.
Placeit: Best for Unlimited Designs
Why we like it:
- Unlimited designs
- Easy-to-edit templates
- Industry-specific templates
What users say:
“We bought it for mock-ups 2 years ago. We needed a tool that could show mock-ups fast and Photoshop wasn’t an option back then when we did not have a designer in-house… we bought it and 1500 mock-ups later in a few months we discovered the design’s features.” – Magdas P.
Placeit is great for businesses that need to create an extremely large volume of designs from marketing and promotional materials to branding materials. The creative tool allows users to save an enormous amount on designing since there is no cap to how many designs a user can make through stock photos, videos and other marketing assets.
Creating a huge volume of designs can be very costly for businesses especially if they do not have an in-house designer to take care of the designs for them. Paying for designs one by one can be extremely costly and not always as efficient.
Another problem when it comes to outsourcing designs is the amount of time that it takes. With the help of creative tools like Placeit, users will be able to generate numerous designs while only having to pay a monthly subscription.
The good thing about the software is that it is also a very cost-effective approach to creating unlimited content. By paying a monthly fee, users can gain access to unlimited designs that can easily be created by editing templates.
Aside from content, users can easily make their business logo and other branding materials with the help of Placeit. On top of business purposes, the creative tool can also be used for channels and other marketing materials.
Similar to Stencil, users can choose from carefully curated templates in order to make designs for whatever types of content the business needs. The tool is extremely useful not just for branding but also for promotional materials.
Start using a creative tool that allows you to make an unlimited amount of designs all in a simple platform.
Creative Tools: Buying Guide
Businesses need a creative tool in order to have an efficient way of creating designs at scale and with minimal costs. Make sure to read the guide below in order to know the specifics when choosing a creative tool for your business.
What we Look for When Choosing Creative Tools
Don’t waste money trying out different creative tools from scratch. Instead, make sure the first tool you use is the only tool you will need for all your business designs.
The more simple the platform is, the easier it will be for businesses to adapt to the new creative tool. Businesses that want to use advanced software in order to create high-quality designs will have to either go through the adjustment period or at least have someone help them adapt to the creative tool.
Businesses that might not have the technical know-how, however, would need to choose a more simplified creative tool in order to create all kinds of designs needed for their business. Since these creative tools are fairly popular, it is also recommended to look for software that the staff is fairly familiar with.
Availability of Templates
Depending on what type of industry the business is in, it helps to have a creative tool that offers a generous amount of templates to use. This is especially necessary for businesses that need to produce a large amount of content in a limited amount of time.
Another thing that businesses have to watch out for is how editable the templates could be. Using the same template with different variations could be another technique users could use in order to come up with a large volume of content.
Optimization for Different Platforms
Some creative tools optimize their templates to better fit different social media requirements. Aside from just the size, these tools are designed to use the highest resolution possible on the different social media platforms.
Instead of having to manually do adjustments yourself, businesses can choose to use templates that are already optimized for the platform you plan to post on. The good thing about certain creative tools is that the same design can be optimized for different platforms saving the business a significant amount of time when creating cross-platform designs.
Depending on the industry your business is in, sometimes basic designs might not be enough. When you are looking for a creative tool, make sure to test out the design templates it offers in order to assess whether it has the designs needed for your business.
Some creative tools offer unlimited customization options that allow businesses to create their own unique designs without needing to recycle them. Before subscribing to any creative tool, make sure to first inquire regarding the limitations of the platform including the number of designs or templates it offers.
Advanced Editing Features
For businesses with more unique requirements, it is important to look for advanced editing tools that allow them to create designs that are specific to their industry. Businesses are risking becoming generic when they choose to recycle old designs which is why they need advanced editing options in order to make their designs as unique as possible.
If the business has a specific type of motif they want to use in every design they put out, it is important to look for a creative tool that allows them to make these customizations. Instead of basic designs, businesses will be able to create content or posts that have the company’s personal touch.
It can be easy to choose a creative tool based on price but it is important to first assess whether or not the tool is right for your business. Some tools focus on different types of designs and subscribing to them could leave you with designs you don’t need and no means of creating the designs you want.
In order to find the perfect tool for your business, make sure to first check out the designs they offer and whether these designs are fitting for your business. It also helps to test a tool’s free trial in order to assess whether it has the designs or the editing features you’ll need for your business.
Benefits of Using Creative Tools
There are many benefits to using creative tools not just in terms of the quality of designs a business will be able to create but also in terms of volume and purpose. Here are the most important benefits businesses will get when they choose to use creative tools:
Businesses that use creative tools will be able to save compared to hiring a professional designer or paying per design. Since these tools usually charge a monthly subscription, in order for businesses to make the most out of their payment, they’ll have to make more designs than they would pay for individually. Businesses that need to make designs on a regular basis will be able to save when they choose to use a creative tool instead of outsourcing the work.
Adding more identity to a business all starts with its design. Aside from a logo, a business can utilize its content, material, and posts in order to create stronger personal branding. Creative tools usually allow the business to save their logo or symbol in order to use it for further designs. Some of these tools even allow businesses to save color pallets or preferred designs while giving them access to similar templates to improve consistency.
The more flexible a creative tool is, the more types of designs a business will be able to create. It is important for businesses to look for a creative tool that provides them enough flexibility to be able to create content for all types of marketing materials. The more unique the business is, the more flexibility it usually requires in order to release content that fully represents them.
Visuals are a huge part of marketing and in order to grow the business, users have to be able to create designs at scale. The more designs a user is able to create, the more they will be able to scale their business to attract new customers and clients. Some businesses underestimate the importance of visuals when it comes to scaling their business and end up coming short on their promotional materials.
The good thing about a business making their own designs is that they get exclusive ownership of them. This allows the business to avoid any copyright or legal issues regarding the designs they make or the designs they use to promote the business. Since all the designs are original, businesses can gain full ownership of them.
With the help of creative tools, businesses will be able to make designs faster than usual allowing them to post or release the designs right away. For businesses working in aggressive environments, faster turnarounds mean the business will be able to streamline the work process and get more done in less time.
Businesses can only do so much with basic design software but with the help of professional creative tools, users will be able to create more accurate designs for their marketing and personal branding materials. Instead of creating generic designs, users will be able to create custom-made designs specifically for their business.
Being able to save storage is very important for businesses handling thousands of designs at a time. Instead of saving them on the cloud or on hardware, users will be able to store their designs on the creative tool in order to ensure that they never lose track of what they post. This is also extremely useful when businesses might need to make edits to their designs later on.
Less Technical Expertise Needed
Since the design process is simplified, the business will no longer need great technical expertise in order to come up with high-quality designs. Businesses will be able to utilize the staff they already have in order to create professional designs with the help of a creative tool. The more complex a creative tool is, the more technical expertise it requires.
Access to Free Photos and Videos
Some creative tools provide access to stock photos and videos which helps make the designing process much easier for businesses. This means users will no longer need to pay for stock photos but can easily choose from a selection of free photos and videos from the creative tool. Buying premium photos and videos can be very expensive especially if you need to create a large volume of content but with a creative tool, users will be able to access high-quality content to use in promotional photos or videos for free.