• Alexander Müller

3 Free Design Tools to Make Your Website and Shop Fit for Germany

Updated: Feb 8

the eye eats too”

- Lousy translation of a German common saying

“The eye eats too” is a common saying in Germany that means the presentation of something is as important as its content. Or simply the best product in the world will not appeal to the customer if it's not presented well. Presenting something was hard in the past, but over the years, the (free) options which will help your product presentation got more diverse and easy to use. Of course, those tools can not compete with the work of a professional, but for businesses with a tight budget, these tools can be relatively easily handled by a beginner. And with some experience can produce some really beautiful results.

3 free tools to improve the look of your website, product  and social media

1. Canva – design for everyone

I love this website. It has everything, and despite that, it is not overwhelming. First, you chose what kind of graphic you want, no matter if its a logo, Facebook – event, info graphic, brochure, shirt design, etc. Canva will format the design into the usually used size and give you a lot of templates to choose from. These templates can be edited freely, and editing is a piece of cake. This option is small but multi-factional. Also, there is little and practical helping mechanism, like lines which show you if your texts are on the same axis or if they are centered. You can upload photos, designs or use free ones, with an easy to use search engine.

This Instagram design was done in 5 minutes and 37 seconds, only using free assets from the site. Is it a design masterpiece? Probably not. Is the joke good? Definitely not. But it looks good enough to catch the interest in the rest of the post. Time that can make the difference between clicking and not clicking!

Canva – Design for everyone

But of course, there are also some downsides. The simplicity can sometimes stop you from getting the special extra you want, primarily when you use the free version. Things like transparent backgrounds are not possible with the free version. In addition, there are a lot of templates, graphics, and photos, which you will see after a search, but for which you have to pay additionally. There is nothing like a free lunch, I guess.

But all in all the best free design software for beginners out there. And an easy way to make your website look pretty.

2. Pixler – upgrade your pictures

Sometimes you need only some tool to make you already existing photos look good. And this in browser software is just that, a make your picture beautiful machine. A good comparison would maybe be the Instagram editor on steroids. It has everything you need in a dozen main options on the left side of your picture. Crop your image or change its properties in a few clicks. Use filters or adjust the colors. Even some enhanced functions like shrink or delete specific parts of the picture.

For example, an old vacation photo I gave some extra treatment. Nothing special just played a bit with the sliders, added out a lamppost, and “planted” some small bushes in the background. All in all, maybe 10 minutes and if I had any idea beforehand what I wanted (and not only sliding some sliders till it looked pretty to me) probably less.

Pixler – Upgrade your pictures

I’m afraid I can not say anything about the paid pro version since I never came close to use it. It definitely gives you a lot of free stock photos to work with, but there are other sources for free stock photos out there: how to write a blog

3. Gimp – Photoshop light

It is the closest you will get to a free Photoshop alternative. For most people, this should be enough. Experts will prefer Photoshop... but you are not an expert… which is the whole point of this article. Following this flawless logic, it should be obvious that you don’t need Photoshop and need something else. What do you need? Gimp. And why? Because Gimp helps you to create fresh, unique designs or pictures, the other two in this list can not archive.

But this software is far from easy use. You have to bite your teeth into it, but that can be rewarded with some astonishing pictures. Helping you is a fantastic online community with tones of video tutorials and a legendary lack of good microphones for recording.

I really want to show you an example, but since my good PC is broken and this software must be installed, I’m afraid not today… or at least this is what I told my editor.

Honorable Mention - Paint

You are probably thinking, what that old glorified digital version of a paintbox has no business here. And yes, it is a weak tool without any unique feature, but sometimes that is enough. And as B – Movies and this Article shows, sometimes a bad look can be a successful marketing strategy (of course, it needs to be compatible with your cooperate identity). Sticking out from a big pile of average looking competitors can make the difference.

Just look at the best performing bars in big European city's (I give you a tip – they are the weird ones).

Honorable Mention - Paint