14 Free tools to design beautiful things with low skills!

A guide to the free or almost free tools that allows you to design absolutely beautiful looking presentations, graphics, app mockups, videos and more! | Time to read: 5 Mins |

In this post I will be listing some of the amazing design tools – graphic, video and app templating – I’ve come across. This will include design tools, video editing, royalty free images and making killer presentations. The kind of stuff you might need to showcase and market your startup. If you’re looking to do any of this, read on.

Design, Photo and Video Tools

  1. Canva: This one can’t be beaten for most design tasks. The free version does A LOT! From making long pitch decks and presentations to social media posts, infographics, logos and more, Canva is great for it all. It even does short videos (GIFs) and websites, but I haven’t used that part. For all graphic design and presentation tasks though, Canva is my go to tool.
  2. Jitter Video: If you’ve ever wanted to create short and quick animated GIFs or videos, this tool will blow your mind. Only major downside of the free version is that it’s watermarked. Pro at $4/Month. [Sample below.] PS: If you’ve seen those animated mobile chats, this is a tool that does that.
Jitter Demo
Jitter Demo
  1. GIMP: Totally free and open source photo manipulation tool that can replace photoshop. It has a steep learning curve though. Not as intuitive as the online tools, but super powerful.
  2. Figma: A design tool that’s great for app mockups, UI/UX, brainstorming and more. The company was just bought by Adobe for $20 Billion! This is what I’m using to mock up the App screens.
  3. Balsamiq: If you want to quickly wireframe an app (list down what each screen will contain and what’ll happen when you click something), this is a great tool. No colours or designed icons, just speedy wireframes!
  4. Mixkit: If you’re making a video, this is a game changer. Free stock video footage, music, sound effects and templates!
  5. Blush.Design: Lets you make beautiful looking cartoons and illustrations. I haven’t used this one yet, but it looks super fun!
  6. Lordicon: Animated icons for apps, webapps. Haven’t used this, but it looks interesting!
  7. Unsplash: Great source for royalty free images! If you’re doing a project, try this instead of lifting something off of google images that might be copyrighted. I use it often.
  8. Piktochart: Great online tool to make presentations and infographics. Has more extensive templates in the free version than Canva and sometimes feels more formal. It was my go to presentation making tool earlier, but Canva just feels more modern. Do check it out though!
  9. Pitch.com: The new kid on the block that a lot of startups are using to make their pitch decks. Allows for collaborative building, is modern and looks great! Great templates for startup pitch decks, so it definitely has value. The exported PDF will be watermarked though, and it’ll cost you $8 / month (billed annually) to get a non watermarked version – feels expensive for making a pitch deck if it’s the only thing you’d make. I’m just viewing their templates for inspiration.
  10. VideoScribe: Ever seen those whiteboard explainer videos on YouTube? Any channel that’s doing a voiceover and has whiteboard animations for the video is likely using VideoScribe. Totally a great tool. [US$ 113.28 / INR 9,400 billed annually].

Some of the tools above can be used to make short animations and stitch together videos etc, but I haven’t used a great free tool for video making. I’m using iMovie on a Mac for basic video editing (it comes free on every MacOS and iOS device), but if you’re doing anything even a little more complex, you’ll likely have to enter paid territory. Final Cut Pro for mac and Adobe Premiere Pro everywhere are the industry standard, but they’re expensive. [INR 27,900 / $349 and INR 1,675.60 / $20.99 per month respectively].

The best free and open source video editors I’ve gotten recommended are:

  1. ShotCut: Available on Mac, Windows and Linux. Has a YouTube channel that teaches you just how to use it, and comes with many advanced features. Looks promising!
  2. OpenShot: Easier to use and prettier looking UI (User Interface). Might be better for basic editing tasks.

I’m about to try out both as this project moves forward. Both have come highly recommended in the free and open source category.

What My Current Stack Looks Like

I‘m using GIMP to remove backgrounds from images, resizing and layering images on top of each other. Unsplash to get royalty free images. Canva to make presentations and Figma to make app mockups.

About BehindTheBuild:

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