Free Graphic Design Resources for Beginners from a Beginner!

Spoiler Alert: I am not a graphic designer, nor am I a photographer or photo editor.

I’ve always thought logos and graphic design in general were pretty cool, but it wasn’t until I listened to Negative Space on the 99% Invisible podcast that I became mildly obsessed (you can read more about that HERE). I am constantly looking at logos and flyers and trying to figure out what they did and why things go together well.

I assumed that in order to do graphic design, I would need to bite the bullet and buy Photoshop, but I really don’t want to spend any money on it. It’s $9.99/month for the lowest priced product. Not bad, but still…

No thank you.

Since I don’t have any experience with Photoshop, and I don’t want to spend any money to buy it,  I’ve been doing what I normally do-figure out the cheapest way to make do with what I have to do what I need to do!

As I’ve been learning, I’ve found a few sites that have really helped, and I wanted to share them!

Canva

I mean, duh. Canva is a free graphic design platform. It is really easy to use, but like anything else, it takes some time to figure out all of the features.

It contains a ton of templates in case you need to make something quickly or don’t want the headache of designing from scratch.

You can also start with a blank page and design whatever you want.

There are lots of graphics and photos included in Canva, but you can also upload your own pictures and graphics which makes the options pretty much endless.

Kayla from Ivory Mix offers a FREE Canva Graphic Design Jumpstart Course if you want some help getting started. I haven’t taken the entire course yet (there’s a lot of information!), but it’s on my list to do very soon.


Check out how many tabs I have open :). Always so many.

The only thing I’ve found that I don’t like is that everything within a text box has to be the same font, so if you want multiple fonts, you have to add multiple text boxes. This does give you the advantage of being able to manipulate the location of the text more easily, but it’s kind of a hassle until you get used to it.

Within Canva, there are a lot of other resources to help you build your designs. I’ve gathered some of the ones I’ve used so far.

Canva Color Palette Generator

The Canva Color Palette Generator will pull colors from any picture you upload, and they also have their own images that you can look at for inspiration.

After you upload your image, the palette generator will pull the colors from the image that are the best match, and it also includes the color codes (for example: #DF493C is Brick Red).

You can then enter the color code in Canva (or any other word processing or graphic design platform or use it in HTML and CSS), and not only will it give you the color you wanted, but it will also give suggested color palettes.

If nothing else, it’s kind of fun to play around with, and the palettes have fun names like Salmon Sushi and Stack of Pumpkins.

Fonts

Canva comes with a ton of built in fonts, but I always have trouble deciding what fonts to pair together.

But never fear!

Enter Build your brand: How to choose the right fonts. This post from Canva gives lots of font combinations using the fonts that are included in Canva for free.

The article includes 20 pairings, and it’s been really useful as I figure out the best font pairings.

Canva for Work

This is their paid service-which I do not have, and I’m not getting paid to promote it (but I will totally accept payment if you’re into it, Canva!).

I don’t know much about the added features in Canva for Work, but I know there are a few that would probably be helpful.

  • Access to more pictures and graphics
  • Ability to make your design transparent
  • A brand kit where you can save your colors and fonts for easier access (I just use a Google Slide as a “brand kit”.)
  • Animated graphics

Pexels

Pexels has a wealth of stock images that you can use for your projects whether you’re designing a logo, a social media post, a business card, etc.

This site has a search bar right on the front page, so it’s easy to search for images.

The funny thing about Pexels is that once you become familiar with some of their images, you start to see them pop up in other people’s feeds or posts. Maybe I’m the only one that gets a kick out of knowing where other people’s images come from…or maybe I just feel better knowing that not every single person in the world takes amazing flatlay pictures while I resort to stock images. Other people are on the stock image train too!

Luna Pic

I just discovered Luna Pic this morning when I needed to make a graphic transparent. It did an awesome job, and I was able to use the graphic for a flyer and business card I’m making.

It also allowed me to change the color of the graphic. WHAAAAT!?!?

It was a solid black graphic that I wanted to be white. I accidentally turned it purple but then fixed it. I don’t know how sophisticated the color changing capabilities are, but still!

I was pretty blown away. I’m new to this stuff, so being able to customize things and make them look exactly how I want them to is pretty exciting. And it was FREE!

Be Funky

Be Funky is a picture editing site that allowed me to turn the typewriter in this picture from orange to red, and I just about fell out of my chair when I figured it out. P.S. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to figure out what I did, but I know what it can do!

This is another site that I haven’t had the time or need to fully get into, but I know that it’s there if I need it.

So there you have it! What other FREE resources should I know about???

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