DIY Design Tools to Take Your Marketing to the Next Level

“Visuals are processed 60,000x faster by the brain than text. Not only are they processed faster, but our brains are able to retain and relay more information when a message is delivered visually. To keep people engaged with your content and what you are trying to communicate, it’s a must to use more graphics in your marketing strategy.”
If you are a small business and low on design resources, here are some tools to create your own visuals, even if you’re not a designer.



Canva is great for creating social media graphics, flyers, documents and other marketing materials. This tool is powerful in many ways. First, they have a variety of templates to get you started on your graphics. This will not turn you into a professional designer overnight, however it serves as a basis for inspiration if you are not sure where to start. Secondly, any changes you make are automatically saved to your account. You can also share the editable designs to collaborate with or get feedback from others.
The best part about Canva is that it’s free. If you do decide to use one of the stock images instead of your own, they are available for $1. Also, Canva has free tutorials to get you started on basic design techniques but also serve as a guide if you need help using the software.


The only downside I found in using this (as a designer familiar with the Adobe programs), is that it’s difficult to align things as easily as I can in Photoshop or Illustrator. I also move more quickly in those programs, but I would still recommend Canva to those unfamiliar with or do not have access to Adobe Creative Cloud.



Piktochart has 9 free templates for each of these: infographics, presentations, posters, and reports. Access to all 400 or so templates costs $15 per month. If you want the ability to download higher resolution images, download files as PDFs, and more, the cost is a higher fee of $29 per month. To be honest, what the free plan offers is still pretty great.


BEE Free


Need to create a clean email fast but have no HTML/CSS coding knowledge? BEE Free is a free online tool that allows you to create responsive emails without having to use the templates on MailChimp, or whatever other emailing platforms you might be using. The biggest pain point I had in using this was that I could not undo or redo my actions, which is pretty frustrating. Also, if you want more icon options to choose from, check out this article with free resources. When you are done editing your email template, you can save and export it as a zip file which contains an image folder and the HTML version you will need to import into your email marketing platform.



Typeform gives you the ability to create super clean online forms, surveys, quizzes and more. You can create your own from scratch or choose from a template and customize the design from there (colors, fonts, images). When you complete your form, you can either copy the URL and share it on the web somewhere, launch the form as a popup within a website, or embed it in a webpage inside your own domain.
Other than being overwhelmed with how much control I had in creating these forms (see image to the left), I have no other complaints for now. Yea I know, #firstworldproblems. With a paid membership, you have a few more options such as the ability to send custom emails automatically when they complete your form, assign values to answers, create a custom “Thank You Screen,” and more.


Of course, if you want high quality results for all of these services, you should definitely start a project with us for your creative, strategic and technical development needs.

Khuram Zaman

Khuram Zaman is the CEO of Fifth Tribe, a leading digital agency serving the Washington DC Metropolitan Area based out of the 1776 Startup Co-working Space. In his professional capacity, he has provided digital marketing services to clients as diverse as the Department of Defense, Kaiser Permanente, Oxfam America, Ernst and Young, and The Hult Prize. His writing has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, and Business2Community. Khuram is the host of the Campfire: Impact and Innovation live podcast on Youtube. In his free-time, Khuram serves as a mentor to startups through the Peace Tech Accelerator, the Halycon Incubator, and is also a Entrepreneur in Residence at Georgetown University