Here are my favorite blog design tools for creating graphics and finding inspiration, all mostly free.
1) Canva – the new kid on the block of in-browser graphic design tools. It’s still in beta, and there’s a waiting list. (I only waited 4 days. I’ve waited longer for fast food.) Holy smokes, this this thing is rad! They have great shapes, graphics, icons, and photos. It’s a free tool, but they do have stock photos and custom design elements for $1 each, which can add up if you go nuts, but is still a steal compared to stock photos, although you won’t find any crazy amazing photos like iStockphoto’s Vetta collection. If you know how to use Adobe Creative Suite or anything like that, you’ll be frustrated by this rad web simpleton. Everyone else: try it out.
2) Icon Monstr – a free online tool for icons by a German graphic designer. Thousands of icons, which you can customize the size, frame, and color. It’s available in two formats, PNG & SVG. Although you might not find exactly the thing you want, or it might not have the (insert novelty effect) look you’re looking for, you can’t beat Icon Monstr because it’s free and versatile.
3) COLOURlovers – I bet you can guess. This is a site for color lovers (translation for all the Americans out there). If you have opinions about color beyond your favorite color, this is the place for you. ColourLovers isn’t just a site with color palettes. There’s a community aspect, so you can discuss colors, palettes, trends, etc. Also, there are tools like Photocopa, which lets you found out what exactly that color is in a picture, and Themealon, which helps you build a custom Twitter background with cool color palettes and/ or jazzy patterns.
4) Pinterest – Pinterest is no longer for wedding planning and OMG recipes. It’s becoming the top social media referral site and is used for bookmarking all kinds of things other than makeup tips. I use it for collecting/ organizing images and favorite things, as well as bookmarking work-related tools. It’s not just for collecting, either. While Pinterest’s search algorithm is no Google competitor, it’s a great place to find something you might be looking for, like comedy quotes or Tennessee Williams memes. I think I got that backwards. Anyway, pin and search away.
Honorable Mentions go to Skitch for easy cropping and the blurring tool and Design Seeds for its beautiful images and accessible color palettes.
Are your favorites here? If you learned about something new, I want to see what you made with Canva/ COLOURlovers/ Icon Monstr/ Pinterest for your blog, so share it in the comments, especially if it’s funny or food-based.