Entrepreneurs and small business owners often tend to cut corners in the early stages of growth when it comes to investing in graphic design and branding. These days there are great resources available that allow you to create professional and consistent branding from the ground up in a matter of minutes and in many cases absolutely free. This article will highlight 10 free branding tools that should be in the arsenal of every growth hacker.
As a growth hacker, you are looking to achieve results quickly and efficiently. One aspect that can't be overlooked when it comes to growth hacking is the visual representation of your brand. Whether you are the founder of a start-up, promoting your personal brand or working in an entrepreneurial unit within a larger corporate entity, branding is key.
Canva is a popular graphic design solution. Canva actually applied growth hacking quite successfully to scale their business to where they are today.
The platform is powered by what seems an unlimited supply of graphic design templates. And the best thing about it? It's a free branding tool! You can design anything from flyers, ad banners, business cards, stickers, brochures and more at absolutely no cost.
The process is quite simple and you get started by choosing the branding item you need to be designing for your business. This will then take you to a template selection page. Choose one of their many professionally crafted templates and then customize to make it your own. The editing process is intuitive and you can download your design right away.
If you are a growth hacker and/or serial entrepreneur you are in need of new logos frequently. A business idea often doesn’t feel real until you see it in a graphical representation like a logo. GraphicSprings is a logo maker application that was built for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Instead of going through the slow process of finding and hiring a logo designer, you can create your own brand mark on their platform.
To get started you enter your business name and slogan. On the other hand, if you don’t have a slogan, you can simply leave that field blank. Then, narrow down suitable templates for you by choosing your industry. As a result, GraphicSprings Logo Maker will present professionally designed logo graphics you can choose from. Furthermore, once you choose a design you like you can then customize it to suit your needs. And did we mention it's a free branding tool? So, indulge yourself. Logo files are available for download instantly and in high-resolution format.
If you are in the business of growth hacking you know that it comes down to key performance indicators. After all, if your efforts aren’t moving the needle then what’s the point? However, increasing revenue is one of the main goals. One of the most effective ways to sell is still through presentations and product demos. Visme is also one of the few free branding tools that allow you to create beautiful presentation decks with no prior design experience. You get to choose from 900+ slide layouts, which you can then completely customize with access to millions of photos, thousands of icons, etc.
Adobe was a bit late joining the party when it comes to web-based graphic design solutions. After their long-term success of flagship products like Photoshop and Illustrator, they launched Adobe Spark to compete in the online sector as well.
Plus, it's a free branding tool! Adobe Express lets you create beautiful social media posts in a matter of minutes. As a growth hacker, you know the importance of social media. In order to effectively leverage social media to promote your business or charitable cause, you need to be able to stand out. The nature of most of these platforms is visual so your content needs to be visually appealing and attention-grabbing. Whether you need a Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn post you can easily design it with a solution like Adobe Spark.
A picture is worth more than a thousand words. In a time where online users make a split-second decision whether they want to engage with your content or brand, it’s crucial to use professional photography.
As a growth hacker, you don’t want to be slowed down by reading image usage terms and being restricted in ways you can implement them. Unsplash is one of the greatest free branding tools in this list so far. That's because it offers free professionally shoot photos.
On Unsplash you can browse images by category or use the search function to find something specific for your branded content. You can download the images in various sizes including custom dimensions. These images are great to use as backgrounds in your social media posts website or any other promotional material.
Creating engaging content that gets you shares, likes and backlinks is something on the mind of most SEO growth hackers. Over the last few years, infographics have also become a popular method for many content marketers. And what better way to use free branding tools to create one?
If you are considering including infographics into your content strategy then Piktochart is a good starting point. You won’t need to hire a graphic designer since you can just use one of their professional templates as a foundation. However, you’ll need to make quite a few custom changes to make sure it works for your idea but their editing functionality is intuitive and easy. Further to that, once you are done you can download the design right away and post it to your social media or incorporate it into a blog post.
If you have a design background or just like to get creative this resource might be for you. FlatIcon offers free vector icons. The right use of icons can elevate any presentation slide, landing page or social media post. Icons can emphasize key points and breakup design in a professional and visually pleasing way. You can also download entire icon sets or search and download one-off icons. Thus, once you download the icons you can then easily incorporate them into your next content project.
Similar to using Flaticons, this free branding tool is for those who have a design background. It is also for those who don’t shy away from designing their own art. Additionally, what makes for a great design is the use of professional elements like photography, fonts, icons, and illustrations. Vecteezy also offers free vector art that can enhance your next content piece. Their vector designs can be downloaded instantly and are free for commercial and personal use. They offer vectors for backgrounds, icons, shapes, clipart, and more. Furthermore, their database of millions of vector images is well organized and tagged so you can browse designs by category or get more specific by using the search function.
A design is only as good as its color scheme. Consequently, the effectiveness of a beautiful infographic or presentation can be significantly reduced by an unpleasant color combination.
Colors that are very bold, hardly readable, or simply abrasive to the eye need to be avoided for branding at all costs.
Coolors is also one of the free branding tools that features a color scheme generator. You can either browse existing color combinations that are guaranteed to work or enter specific color codes to find matching colors.
Or, you’ll get the hex code for each color so you can easily apply exact color changes in seconds.
Clever use of fonts will elevate any design; no matter if it’s a poster, store sign or inspirational Instagram quote. Also, you don't need to limit your design to the font choice available in a basic word processing software or whatever fonts you have installed locally on your machine. DaFont offers countless fonts that are free to download and use. Whether you are looking for a traditional sans serif font or something more fun like comic, odds are you can find it here. Furthermore, browse categories like fancy, gothic, script and download your new branding font. Once it’s installed you can start using it for your next project right away.
Some Graphic Design Tips Before You Tackle Your Next Content Piece
The fist tip we can give you is to actually work with a professional graphic designer for your branding strategy. Whether you are a growth hacker who has a design background or not, it’s good to revisit some basic graphic design principles before jumping into your next content piece.
Keep It Simple
Beautiful design doesn’t have to be complicated. Hence, when it comes to branding less is truly more. When we create and manage brand assets it’s easy to get carried away, subsequently wanting to incorporate everything from effects, gradient, icons, and images. However, try to avoid that urge and don’t make your branding pieces too busy. It’s simply a distraction and takes away from the message you are trying to communicate.
It’s good practice to take some time to figure out what your brand message is. You can also do this before choosing the graphical representation for it. Your brand identity is, after all, comprised of everything from your logo, brand colors, fonts, icons, and imagery you use. And once you figure out what message you want to convey, you can then choose the design direction and be consistent. Also, use the same font(s) across all of your promotional channels, stick to the same type of images and filters and icons. As a result, this will give your brand a polished and professional look.
Actionable Steps for Branding Using Free Tools
As a growth hacker, you are looking for efficiency, scalability, and ways to grow rapidly. It’s important to not let your branding suffer because you are moving at such a fast pace. The brand you put in place early on is what you’ll have to live with. Of course you can rebrand down the line but that’s a costly and time intensive effort. The 10 free branding tools highlighted above allow you to create a complete and consistent brand from the ground up. Additionally, using graphic design resources like these will be a very efficient and cost effective way of building and managing professional brand identity. Furthermore, there are alternatives for each that can be found with a quick Google search but these are a good starting point.
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