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5 Free Online Design Tools To Drive Your Success

We’re the first to admit that we’re not designers. I mean, I can barely even colour inside the lines (damn you adult colouring fad!). So when it comes to free online design tools, I have two words: Yes. Please.

We all know that content is nothing without a captivating image to go with it, so even if you’re a content marketer you need to be using free online design tools to get the most out of your content strategy.

It takes a bit of trolling to go through the trusty Google links to find tools that actually work well. That’s why this list is all you need. Go ahead, bookmark it now and thank us later.

Here are the 5 free online design tools that we simply can’t live without. We’re sorry in advance for the addiction.

5: Gimp 2.8

Although not technically online, Gimp 2.8 is a free program that you can download online. For free. Did I mention free?

It’s a great tool if you don’t quite have the budget for Photoshop, but still need to create high quality images. It is primarily designed for image touch-ups, animation and editing, but it can be used for pretty much whatever you need.


  • It’s free – and that’s always good.
  • It’s user-friendly and doesn’t give off the feel of a ‘dodgy free tool’.
  • It can handle just about any file format you throw at it.


  • It’s not quite as powerful as Photoshop (but unless you’re editing pictures 100% of your time, that won’t really matter).
  • It can take some getting used to in order to produce high-quality material.
  • You still need a little bit of design knowledge to get the most out of it.

4: PicMonkey

If Gimp is still a little too much for you to take on, and you don’t want to download a program, PicMonkey is for you. As far as free online design tools go, PicMonkey is an important one to have in your arsenal.

It’s all about editing and touching up pictures, and even offers a collage option if you want to lay images together. It’s amazingly easy to use, and gets the job done quickly and without any fuss.


  • The basic option is free. Again.
  • It’s amazingly user-friendly and easy to use. Even if you have no design knowledge.
  • You can work with a blank slate and create a design from scratch.
  • There’s no registration required – you can simply upload a picture and go from there.


  • There are minimal options to design your text – so it won’t really work if you’re trying to put text on a picture or an unusual background.
  • It runs off a ‘freemium’ model, so you won’t have access to all of the paid features unless you upgrade.
  • Some tools are a bit useless and clog up the system.


3: Urban Fonts

If typography is your thing (which, it should be…) this is a great source. But, just make sure you check the licence before you use it – some fonts may be free to download but don’t allow you to use them in a commercial sense. This is one time you’ll have to read the fine print!


  • It’s just so simple and easy to use.
  • Downloading is made so easy – you could be using a new font in 3 clicks. 


  • Unless you know what you’re looking for it can be time consuming going through all of the fonts.
  • You still require basic design knowledge to choose a font that looks good.
  • Before downloading and using each font you must read the usage rights carefully – you could get stung here.


2: Pixabay & Pexels

Ahh, stock photography, the bane of almost everyone’s existence. It seems like you have to spend a fortune to get the rights to use some amazing photography – but, alas! That’s where Pixabay and Pexels are your saviours. For free online design tools, you really can’t go without these two. They provide royalty free – and high quality – stock imagery for you to use. It’s beautiful.


  • A large selection of photos to choose from.
  • The images are all very high quality and won’t compromise your look.
  • Simple and easy download process.
  • Easy to see licencing rules on each photo. 


  • Images can seem repetitive and lacking in personal feel.
  • There is still not as much choice as on your main paid stock imagery sites.
  • They also display premium stock imagery, which can be confusing and disheartening.


1: Canva

Canva Free Online Design ToolsNow, I’m going to be upfront here and tell you that I use Canva for everything. I use it for work, I use it for clients, I use it for my personal life. I use it for anything and everything that I can.

Never have I come across a free online design tool that is just so effortless and amazing. From creating social media posts, to invitations and marketing material – Canva is the one thing I can’t live without.


  • Templates, layouts and pre-made designs make it so easy to create a high-quality design in half the time. With no design knowledge.
  • Easy to upload your own photos and graphics.
  • Loads of icons, pictures and shapes to use in your designs.


  • Text editor could have more options – much like PicMonkey, it’s hard to put text on a picture background.
  • Occasionally have some technical issues like trying to put a picture on a design but having it default to the background of the entire design.
  • It’s another ‘freemium’ model – but all of the premium options only cost $1 a piece, so it’s hardly something to complain about.


There you have it – the 5 free online design tools that you need to get on.

I will put a disclaimer here, just because I want to reinforce something: these tools do not, will not, and will never replace the use of a good graphic designer. Sometimes it’s necessary that you pass things onto a graphic designer to take care of. But, sometimes, when you’re trying to bust out a social post or a blog post with some graphics you don’t need to enlist the help of anyone else.

Happy designing, friends.

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