Four Free Creative Tools We Can't Live Without

As a small agency, we’re always on the lookout for tools that extend our creative capacities and make our work faster, easier and better. Through much experimentation – and occasional keyboard bashing – we’ve found a handful that we can’t live without. Here are four of our favorite tools. The best part is they’re all free!

Pexels – Stock Photography

Anyone who has ever sourced photos for creative work likely believes two things about free stock photography: 1) the shots look fake to the point of being unuseable and 2) it’s never actually free. In the case of Pexels, we’ve found the opposite to be true. The site offers 30,000 beautiful stock images. They’re absolutely free, easily searchable and updated regularly.

We used Canva to design our latest infographic.

We used Canva to design our latest infographic.

Canva – Graphic Design

Canva’s slogan is “empowering the world to design” and with over four million users, they’re well on their way. Canva makes graphic design a breeze. The interface stores all your designs, allowing you to clone them for consistency. Get started using one of their templates, and add built-in graphics, stock images, shapes and design elements to customize your design. We especially love that Canva offers templates that meet the pixel specifications of where they’ll be used – on social media, as a digital ad or in print. Bonus: Canva remembers approved fonts and colors! Designs are easily downloadable in a variety of file formats.

Xtensio – User Personas

Broadly speaking, Xtensio is a platform that allows teams to collaborate on presentations of all kinds. We recommend it most for creating user personas. The templates present relevant information in an easy-to-interpret format. Marketers can plug in details about their personified target audience, include photos and add, remove or adjust elements of the template with ease.

Piktochart – Infographics, Presentations and Reports

We’ve created a number of knockout visual presentations with the help of Piktochart. Like Canva and Xtensio, Piktochart provides plug-and-play templates to get you started. You can then add in graphics, icons, images made available through the platform or use your own. What we love most about Piktochart is the ability to present your work anywhere, which is particularly fun in their interactive, slideshow format.

If you’re looking to make your creative work faster and easier, we encourage you to give these tools a try. And of course, please let us know if you have any other creative resources you love!