There are soooooooooo many creative tools to choose from. I am loyal to Adobe products when creating one-of-a-kind designs for small businesses, but here are a few platforms I use in tandem to create and communicate those designs and keep my projects on track.
- ClickUp – With so many projects to keep tabs on, I needed a platform to quickly organize each project. ClickUp is a free program. There is a paid version to use some features, but I can do everything I need in the free version. I can organize my projects, update statuses and keep customer contact information all in one place. It beats having sticky notes everywhere.
- MailChimp – What’s the point of having a really great portfolio if nobody sees it? MailChimp is how I send my newsletters to get the word out on new t-shirt designs and graphic design services I offer. It has a variety of templates and easy drag and drop features that make creating and blasting out emails a Brees (<- see what I did there?).
- Capitalize My Title – Before you send out that email blast to a ton of potential customers, use this tool to verify your subject is capitalized correctly. This one is for all you lazies out there like me that would rather spend brain energy on important stuff like thinking of lame jokes to slip into blog posts.
- GIMP – Where are all my cheap peeps at? Don’t want to purchase Photoshop to manipulate photos? GIMP is a free version of Photoshop with tons of tutorials on YouTube. If you’d rather a professional alter your photos, hit me up (<-my attempt at being young and hip).
- Canva – A user-friendly graphic design program for creating social media posts, email headers, etc. Canva is making major moves lately in acquiring a few stock photo sites, so they will be a major player in the creative game for a while. The whole company was started by a high school senior from Australia who was frustrated with laying out a yearbook. Just goes to show you that every business has to start somewhere.
- Clips – A straight-forward mobile app for making quick videos for social media on the fly.
- Creative Market – Get on their newsletter and receive free graphic goodies weekly.
- Grammarly – Download this extension for Microsoft and catch any glaring grammar mistakes instantly. Just make sure you close the Grammarly extension before saving your document. For some reason, it won’t save correctly when Grammarly is open.
- DaFont – DaFont is the best site I’ve found to find fantastic fonts for free. (how about that for some alliteration.)
- This isn’t a tip. I just wanted 10. Hey, I’m a busy man. But I DO have some bonus tips to add.
These have nothing to do with graphic design or marketing, but I’m not done dropping knowledge-bombs on you just yet.
- PaperKarma – I use this to reduce the amount of junk mail my household receives. I use the app to take a picture of the piece of mail, click send and PaperKarma notifies the company that I want to be taken off of the mailing list. It has greatly reduced the junk mail my wife and I receive. It is about $20 annually, but that is a small price to pay to help the planet just a little with minimum effort. Captain Planet would be proud. For all you youngsters who don’t know who Captain Planet is, click here to educate yourself.
- Business bank account – I wish I would have separated my personal and business bank accounts when I started. It seems like a no-brainer, but hey, I’m still learning.
- Southwest business credit card – Did you know you can get a personal AND business credit card through Southwest? If you are all about those points and own a small business, this may be something to look into. Here is a great article by the Points Guy explaining how to earn enough points to qualify for a coveted companion pass.
That’s it everybody. If you’d like to continue receiving insightful information sprinkled with lame jokes, subscribe to my newsletter. Now stop procrastinating and get back to work!