Over a year ago I wrote about free graphic design tools for nonprofits and that list had a whopping 3 on it (and one was actually a stock photo tool). Today, my world has grown! And you know I like free and graphic design. So, put those two together and I am on cloud 9.
These tools are excellent in helping you tell your nonprofit story. They can be used to help you enhance your website, post on social media, design your fundraising materials, and create an infographic.
With all tools, you must do your research and read the small print!
When evaluating each tool, analyze the features, fees, overall quality, online user reviews, and support services.
Below is a list of 31 free graphic design tools available and for the most part, you need little or no technical skills.
1. Adobe Spark
Adobe is a one-stop-shop to create quick and professional marketing materials. It isn’t as well-known as Photoshop or Illustrator, but it’s better for most people. And it’s free to get started. On its free plan, you can easily create professional images, landing pages (hosted on Adobe’s servers), and even simple videos to promote your nonprofit’s next event or fundraiser. The only thing to watch out for if you’re using the free plan, is that your creations will come with the Adobe Spark watermark (bottom-right corner or last frame in videos). You can manually remove it, but if you want to freely design without watermarks, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan. Adobe offers nonprofit pricing discounts for the paid accounts.
BeFunky is known for being a handy photo editor and collage maker, but it also offers a variety of templates for creating infographics. Just customize the template with your images and icons, adjust text, colors, and layout, save and then export. BeFunky is a completely free tool. There is not a single paid plan.
Canva is one of the most widely used online design tools. This Free web-based tool makes graphic design easy and fun. After creating an account and logging in you can start a new project by selecting from pre-set dimensions for Facebook cover photos, Instagram posts, flyers, PowerPoint slides, Infographics, and many more. You can even save designs for later use on editing. There is also an app that lets you design right in the palm of your hand. Canva has a FREE resource section-called Design School. It is full of tutorials and articles. Canva Pro is FREE FOR NON-PROFITS! You get 10 accounts for free with proof of your 501(c)3. What are you waiting for? Go sign up now. I’ll wait…
Clipping Magic, a website that is in alpha testing, allows you to quickly and easily remove image backgrounds. It is a straightforward service and works quite well for simple photographs.
With Crello, you can quickly create static or animated images for social media, the web, and more! While there are only a handful of free animated templates, you can design your own simple animation from scratch using icons and images from Crello’s library with more than 80 million photos. Once you’re happy with your work, you can download your animation as a GIF or MP4. Crello offers a free account, with 6,000 design templates, and 4,000 free photos and images, plus the facility to font and 100 images.
DesignBold offers unlimited storage and 40-page PDF downloads (instead of the 30 page limit in Canva). It allows you to start designing without the need to create or log in to an account. Of course, you’ll eventually need a login if you want to download your image. It supports the standard export formats (JPG, PNG, and PDF). They also offer non-profit companies with 501(c)(3) or equivalent status lifetime access to Pro membership, which would otherwise cost $19 per month ($228 per year). However, they won’t have the 20 monthly premium stocks, which require credits per their agreement with 123RF, their photo repository partner. This is still a good deal!
DesignManticis an online design platform and logo maker that offers a variety of tools and services including a complete branding solution. It offers colors and fonts for nonprofits who are looking to get started with their new business identity. Creating logo designs with DesignMantic’s logo maker tool is free. You only pay for the logos you decide to use. For nonprofits, you can get the logo you decide to use for free logo designs.
Design Wizard allows you to create impressive video and image designs in minutes. The free features help you to magically resize your designs, add text and shapes to images and create custom color palettes. Every video and image has been licensed for commercial use. Design Wizard offers free and paid plans, with the paid plan starting at $9.99 a month.
Desygner is non as a graphic design tool for non-designers. Content creation for everyone. It has advanced features while still being simple to use. If you don’t want to go the template route (although it does have thousands of great templates to work from), additional features like a free-drawing pen tool and the ability to import from PDF, PSD, and SVG files give you a lot more creative freedom. Desygner has a free forever plan and you can upgrade to Pro + for $4.95 per month, billed yearly.
Easil is another easy to use graphic design tool. The major difference between Canva and Easil is the ability to organize your layers and the — a much-coveted ability in Photoshop. Easil is free to use. For the Plus version, Easil offers a 50% discount for nonprofits with further consideration on a case-by-case basis.
Fotojet is a powerful free web graphic designer, photo editor, and collage Maker (all-in-one) software that allows users to transform images into artwork. It works on your browser, and there are no installations required. At the moment, there’s no mobile version of Fotojet available. All you have to do is go to their website upload your pictures and start working. They also have professional templates. When you’re done, save your work on your computer via your browser. You can only save your images as a JPG/PNG file, or a PDF file on your computer.
12. Font Awesome
Font Awesome falls nothing short of being absolutely awesome. While it entails a little understanding before it can be operated, the tool is the perfect choice for nonprofits working at web design without a webmaster or a graphic designer on the team. Font Awesome boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of font vectors on the web, and these vectors are employed by nonprofits to create icons for print, presentation, and web.
GIMP is a free open-source image editing tool. GIMP has a steep learning curve, even for those who are familiar with Photoshop. However, the most significant benefit of GIMP is that it’s free and if you’re willing to take the time to learn the software, most tasks that you can do in Photoshop can also be done in GIMP.
14. Google charts
Gravit is a comprehensive vector-based graphics editor that’s best suited for creating clean and more advanced designs. Although the free plan is a bit lacking in cloud storage (up to 500 MB), supports PDF exports only, and has a small number of templates available, the sheer amount of control and features it provides to its users makes it the ideal online tool for creating designs from scratch. Sign-up is required if you want to use Gravit online (or simply log in using your Google or Facebook account), and you have the option to download and install Gravit to your computer.
Infogram is great for nonprofit to create amazing infographics, charts, maps, and reports. It has multiple modern infographic templates to choose from, with the ability to sort templates by color. Once you’ve chosen a template, you can add different elements ranging from standards like text and photos to more complex ones like video and audio. There is a free plan with other plans starting at $19/month. There is a special discount pricing for nonprofits for the paid plans.
Piktochart is a web-based infographic platform that allows users, with little graphic design experience, to create infographics, presentations, and printable content using themed templates. There are several free infographic templates to work with. Piktochart offers free and paid subscriptions, as well as a nonprofit subscription. Access the nonprofit application and eligibility here.
Pixelied is an easy-to-use design solution that allows users to create stunning ready-made designs from 25+ formats, access to millions of stock photos, icons, and illustrations. It provides a full suite of design editing tools, like background remover and product mockups, for the most common uses, tailored for businesses. Pixelied pricing starts at $7.95 per month, per user. There is a free version. With the free version, you have access to over 200 templates, 3 million stock photos, and unlimited downloads.
Pictaculous is a color palette generator that comes from an unlikely source: MailChimp, the email marketing provider. Despite those head-scratching origins, it’s a handy little thing. Say you’re walking down the street, as I was when I took the image below, and you see an inspiring tableau. Pictaculous allows you to upload a photo and offers recommendations for colors to use, in addition to their HEX codes. This tool makes sure that your color palettes are never uncoordinated. You can use this to ensure branding is on point, especially with your web design. This is a free tool.
Pixlr Online Photo Editor that lets you edit photos and create great designs right in your browser for Free. It closely replicates what you would find in Photoshop. It is great for people who have used Photoshop in the past and are looking for similar functionality in a browser environment. If you have not used Photoshop before, the learning curve on Pixlr can be quite steep. However, Pixlr also offers Pixlr Express which is similar to PicMonkey and Photoshop Express. There is a free version, and you upgrade to premiere for $4.90 a month.
PicMonkey empowers creatives of all experience levels to make high-impact images to promote their personal or business brand. You can use It to create beautiful photos, logos, social media graphics, and facebook covers. It is easy to use and is optimized for the best experience on the desktop and mobile. For desktop use, it starts at $7.99 per month, per user. The PicMonkey mobile app offers a completely free way to edit photos and create designs on the go. It’s available for Android and ios mobile devices, as well as iPad.
piZap Graphic Design and Photo Editor let you design anything you can imagine. You can create stories and posts for Facebook and Instagram, edit photos, design collages, and make custom graphic designs. They have loads of fonts, stickers, borders, filters, and free stock images. piZap is free to use with no registration required! piZap PRO Pricing: Annual Plan — $2.99/month (billed yearly $35.88, save 50%) Monthly Plan — $5.99/month.
Launched by Buffer a social media scheduling app. Pablo is a minimalist social media tool for placing text over the top of images Nonprofits can choose from a plethora of pre-uploaded photos and superimpose them with text to create eye-grabbing images that will lend charms to their tweets and Facebook posts. It couldn’t be simpler to use or in its design.
Placeit is a powerful online mockup, video, and design template generator. Create all of your branding and marketing digital assets directly from your browser without downloading complicated software. Start with your logo, then present it to the world with a professional and dynamic intro video! Free mockups, design templates, and more to include but not limited to t-shirts, mugs, gift boxes, and social media templates. Sign up and start using Placeit for free! No credit card needed. If you would like unlimited access to Placeit the cost is $19.95 a month or $99.95 a year. There’s no subscription minimum, so keep your subscription for as long as you like.
Snappa is great if you’re design-challenged and need something really easy to use. It may be limiting in terms of the variety of options, but if simple is what you need, this might be the tool for you. It has pre-set templates that you can easily use for social sharing, includes an easy drag-and-drop interface, as well as thousands of royalty-free stock photos. It is the only one whose free plan has access to the exact same templates, graphics, images, and other design resources as the paid plan. The catch is that, instead of having to carefully check what template you’re using, you can only download three designs a month.
Stencil describes itself as an easy-to-use graphic design tool for bloggers, business owners, and social media marketers. Let’s add nonprofits as it is a business as well. Stencil is integrated with Buffer, which means that images created using it can be scheduled to published on social media channels at the time of your choosing. Anyone can start using Stencil for free. The free account lets you save up to 10 images/month and upload up to 50 images a month. The Pro and Unlimited options are 9 and 12 a month respectively when paid annually.
Tinkercad is a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. It’s used by teachers, kids, hobbyists, and designers to imagine, design, and make anything! You can install it for absolutely free. You can get started immediately nothing to download, no lengthy installation process. The only catch is you need a 3D printer. I personally used this as a part of a program where our kids created logo pins that we gave our donors. We included a picture of the kids making the pins asking the donors to wear them and share about the program.
28. Noun Project
The Noun Project allows you to breathe life into your text in a cost-effective way, Icons are the most viable option available. Vector icons can be downloaded free of cost on the Noun Project. However, the tool demands that you credit the creator every time you use a Creative Commons icon.
Visme is cloud-based and lets your nonprofit design and share visually appealing reports, presentations, and infographics in minutes. It also allows you to create great social media graphics. You can create up to 5 projects for free each month and if you want to move forward with a standard plan, you can do 15 projects per month for just $15.
Venngage gives you numerous categories of infographics to choose from when creating your designs, including event timelines, statistics, geographical and more. They let you choose from hundreds of charts, maps, and icons and allow you to import data directly from your spreadsheets into a variety of chart styles. The free plan allows you to make up to five infographics per month (with Venngage branding), while the business plan allows unlimited infographics, team collaboration, your nonprofit branding, and the use of many additional business and custom templates in addition to phone support and 1-on-1 consultation. The cost of the business plan ranges from $30–49 per month). Nonprofits and NGOs get 50% off.
Vectr is a free graphics software used to create vector graphics easily and intuitively. It’s a simple yet powerful web and desktop cross-platform tool to bring your designs into reality. Simple and streamlined, designers at any level can jump right into their work without a learning curve. Vectr will synch your project in real-time so you can begin designing at home on your desktop web browser and continue later with your iPad. You can also grant collaborators to access your document so they can watch you create and edit as it happens. Whether you are working on a website design mockup, brand logos, presentations, brochures, posters, and more your design will look crisp and clear.
Free graphic design tools are a great way to save money and raise money for your mission. The above free graphic tools are a low-risk test as you figure out the best software for you. If you like them, keep them, and possibly expand their features with a paid version. If you don’t like them, stop using the tool with no-added costs to your nonprofit.
I hope this helps. Know of any other free graphic design tools we can add to this list. Let me know. Sharing is Caring.
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