7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Looking for an Online Design Tool
There are many online design tools out there and it can be confusing to know which one will be the best fit for you and your needs. I have compiled a list of 7 questions that you should take into consideration when looking for the perfect graphic design platform. Obviously, being the founder of Designsta I am slightly biased as to which design platform I think you should use wink wink, but you can take these questions and ask them about any online design tool you are considering using. Whether you are a small business owner, a blogger or an interior design guru - whatever your jam may be, the chances are you will need to be creating graphics.
1) What kind of graphics can you create?
In this day and age of digital marketing, there are three magic words…content, content and, you guessed it, content. No matter what your thing is, whether you own a blog, or you’re growing a social media following, or you are just starting a business, one thing is for sure you’re going to have to put a whole load of visual content out there in the world if you want to get noticed. So, a whole load of visual content means a whole load of different sized graphics! When searching for your perfect online design tool be sure that whatever software you choose it will make it easy for you to create a whole range of graphics in all different sized templates and genres. With Designsta, there are easy-edit, pre-designed templates available for social media graphics like an Instagram post, infographics, web graphics, web images, workbooks, planners, printables, logos, branding design, business cards, vision boards, create your own t-shirt design, design for print, the list goes on. With the pre-designed templates all you need to do is choose your template, open it in Designsta, change the text and fonts, change the colours and if you want to add any extra design elements or your own images you can by using the simple drag and drop features, then simply save it and download your file straight from the designer tool. The graphics options are endless. If you're using the mobile version of Designsta you can create an Instagram post on your phone and upload it straight to your social media account saving so much time!
2) Is it easy to learn?
It doesn’t matter whether you have years of design experience in your back pocket or whether you’re a complete beginner, there is always going to be a slight learning curve when using a new piece of software. If you’re as impatient as me, you will want to be able to get a handle on the functions and features pretty quickly and be whipping out new designs ASAP. So make sure when searching for your perfect online design tool that it has all the functions you need but you won’t need a college degree to work it out - leave that for the professionals. We’re talking, quick to pick up, plenty of easy-to-follow training and an intuitive platform. With Designsta, there is a teeny learning curve but all of the drag and drop functions and features are covered in short snippet training videos, plus members get access to me, the founder and Lucie the Creative Director in The Designsta Classroom Facebook group where they can post questions for me and the rest of the Designsta community, meaning using Designsta never gets tricky (or lonely.) If it's step-by-step instructions you need then be sure to check out the Designsta Video Vault to find short snippet videos to show you exactly how to do what you need to do. Plan a short learning session where you will sit and get to grips with the functions and features and the layout of the software and you will soon be a whizz.
3) Is there support?
Being a DIY designer can be daunting at first. This is one of the reasons I created Designsta in the first place, I wanted to create an easy-to-use online design tool and build a supportive community around the platform. If you don’t have a ton of design experience then how do you find the answers to questions such as, “do these fonts go well together?”, “is my text readable enough?”, "where do I find the infographic templates", “how can I make my heading stand out more?” or, if you can’t work out how to do something, who do you turn to? Over in The Designsta Classroom Facebook group I have witnessed members of the Designsta community starting out as complete beginners openly admitting they ‘didn’t have a clue’ then, by spending time sharing their designs, asking questions and getting feedback in the group their confidence and creativity grew.
4) What file types can I download?
Depending on what kind of graphic you are creating you will need to choose the appropriate format to download your design in. The three most common file types for online design tools are PNG, JPEG and PDF. For all web graphics including social media a JPEG or PNG will be suitable. If, for example, you are creating an image where you don’t want to have a background - such as a circular badge for your website you will need to download your design as a PNG - if you download it as a JPEG your badge would have a white background. If you are designing for print you will need to download your design as a PDF. In Designsta designs and images can be downloaded as a JPEG or PNG which download at 72dpi which is perfect for sharing on screen ie. for a Facebook or Instagram post, or a PDF which downloads high res at 300dpi which is perfect for printing or if you need a super sharp graphic. If you are creating a logo - you will need to download the PDF, PNG and JPEG files - the PDF will download as an editable vector which is always important to have for future logo editing or print jobs.
5) What design resources are available to me?
Any design is made up of several components; backgrounds, imagery, fonts, icons, shapes to name some of them. But if you’re a DIY designer and you don’t have huge archives of design elements and images saved on your computer then where do you find this stuff from? You will want to make sure that your online design tool of choice comes with pre-designed templates and lots of them, a well stocked font library, lots of design elements - editable and none editable - meaning that with the editable elements you can change the colour of them to suit your branding or a particular design you’re working on. With Designsta, users get access to hundreds of pre-designed templates, an extensive font library and over 4,000 design elements (including editable and none editable elements) - we’re talking backgrounds, icons, shapes, lines, illustrations, glittery bits, watercolour splodges, so many options - all at no hidden costs. The best part is, every month at Designsta we release a brand new, hand painted, themed bundle of over 100 beautiful watercolour design elements and images - giving users endless amounts of inspiration to work with. All of the design templates in Designsta are so easy to edit and make your own.
6) Is it available to use on Mobile?
Whilst you may not want to create all of your designs from a mobile device and nor would I advise it - it is extremely handy to able to create some of your social media graphics on your phone as you go about your day. We create all of our Instagram graphics using the new mobile version of Designsta and it is so quick and easy - there’s no need to download an app - you just log straight into the Designsta online design tool from your phone and get designing on the go. You could be doing graphic design on the bus if you want to! I love thinking up an inspiring quote and uploading a photo I have taken to Designsta, then I add the text and tweak the fonts and colour to make sure it looks beautiful, then I simply save the graphic to my phone and upload it as an Instagram post.
7) Can I create on-brand graphics?
This one is kind of a big deal, whatever you are working on, if you are sharing visual content it’s a great idea to develop a strong, cohesive, visual presence. This is all part of building your brand and your following on social media. You want to make sure that any online design tool you choose will help you do this. Important things to check for is the ability to change colours of design elements to make sure they fit in with your colour palette, an extensive library of fonts, a good selection of icons and images that you can use regularly as part of your branding plus the ability to upload your own images and elements. With Designsta we even have design templates for brand mood boards and brand style boards set up so you can start from scratch and build your brand using all of the available elements, or if you already have a brand created you can edit any of the templates and the vector art elements to fit in with your branding. Easy. You may sometimes just want to create a simple graphic where you upload your own photo and add a text overlay in your brand font, you can do this in a matter of seconds in the Designsta designer tool.
Bear in mind that whichever online design tool you choose, there will always be a slight learning curve - as with any new piece of software or app, so remember to give yourself time to learn the basics and try not to get frustrated. I have watched first-hand people starting out with Designsta who had never attempted to put together their own graphic and they are now confident designers whipping out new designs left right and centre. All it takes is practice. If you would like to find out more about Designsta please click the 'Start Designing' link below.