Creative crutches

Graphic design platforms for the artistically challenged

By Leslie T. Snadowsky

From branding to marketing to sleek in-house presentations, graphic design is an integral part of any business. But if you can barely draw a stick figure, and terms like shape, color, space, form, line, value, and texture sound like another language, what do you do if your boss asks you to whip up a creative flyer or brochure?

Several design platforms are capitalizing on the general workforce’s lack of artistic flair and have inspired the talentless to produce infographics, ads and marketing materials that look like they were outsourced to a slick Madison Avenue ad agency.


Launched in 2013, Canva is an intuitive online design and publishing powerhouse with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere. Currently valued at $40 billion, Canva helps users create logos, posters, business cards, flyers, graphs, charts, videos, resumes and presentations. It has more than 400,000 templates from which to choose, and you can use it for free, buy a Pro subscription for $119.99 a year for up to five users or buy a $30-a-month option for a minimum of 25 users.  canva.com

Design Wizard

Choose from a static graphic editor and a video editor to create impressive image designs and videos in minutes. Its free features allow users to resize designs, upload fonts, photos and logos, and create custom color palettes. Its curated content will inspire you to make amazing designs with its library of more than one million premium images, thousands of high-quality videos, illustrations, graphics and more. Plus, every video and image in Design Wizard’s library has been licensed for commercial use, protecting you from any copyright complications. There are free basic plans, pro plans for $9.99 a month and business plans for $49.99 a month.  designwizard.com


This platform is owned by Shutterstock, a leading global creative platform offering full-service solutions, high-quality content and applications for brands, businesses and media companies. That means you get access to Shutterstock’s comprehensive collection of high-quality licensed photographs, vectors, illustrations, videos, 3D models and music. PicMonkey specializes in photo editing and brags about its Photoshop-like tools that are easier to use, including Touch Up, Color Changer, Edge Sketch and Posterize. Basic subscriptions cost $7.99 a month, Pro subscriptions cost $12.99 a month, and Business accounts cost $23 a month.  picmonkey.com


This Canadian platform helps users create graphics for social media, ads and blogs. Thousands of templates and more than five million free, high-resolution and “totally not cheesy” stock photos are available. You also can share your graphics to Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media platforms without leaving Snappa. You can get started for free, upgrade to a pro membership for $10 a month and a team membership for $20 a month.  snappa.com


This all-in-one design tool boasts free educational content built to give non-designers the resources to become amazing visual communicators. Its drag-and-drop editor, data and visualization tools and professionally designed templates make it easy to use. Also founded in 2013, Visme has 4.5 million users in 120 countries. Basic subscriptions are free, personal accounts cost $12.25 a month, and business accounts cost $24.75 a month.  visme.com

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