Top 21 Design Tools If You Are On A Tight Budget

Your laptop and a few hours of playtime may be enough to create an MVP (Minimal Viable Product), but building the best product requires more than just code.

You have a larger-than-life vision of what your product or app should be, and you need the right resources to make that vision a reality.

But since you’re a business on a budget, a design team and expensive software tools are not an option — it’s just you, rented space or a shared office, and maybe a few other contract workers. 

We understand you can get the design on tap from freelance marketplaces such as UpWork, Fiverr, or Freelancer, even with limited resources. But what if a shot in the dark or trial and error isn’t your style?

Fortunately, there are many tools specifically designed to help you create amazing designs without breaking the bank. From wireframing to vector graphics, these 21 design tools should help you get your MVP ready in no time:

#1. Canva and Canva Pro

The first and most obvious solution for businesses on a budget is Canva. Boasting a massive library of templates, images, and illustrations that can be used for free or upgraded with paid features like unlimited downloads or premium elements, Canva is an excellent tool for getting the professional design quality you’ll need without shelling out big bucks for a designer.

In other words, you can use Canva to create anything, from social media graphics to infographics, event invites, or even product packaging.

Designing with Canva is as easy as drag and drop to load up templates with your own images and text, and then you can customise it with tools specifically designed to help you create the perfect layout.

Canva Pro takes things even further by providing you with a more powerful suite of tools, like allowing you to create a brand kit with consistent colours and fonts, customise templates with customised branding, resize designs into different formats, and access to a library of over 10 million high-quality photos and illustrations — not to mention the unlimited downloads and premium elements.

Key Features: 

  • Import and Edit PDF Files: Canva Pro’s PDF editing tool allows you to easily edit and annotate PDF documents. 
  • Create Brand Kits: Create brand kits with consistent colours, fonts, and logos. 
  • Access 10 Million+ Photos & Illustrations: Access over 10 million high-quality photos and illustrations from the Canva library. 
  • Customisable Templates: Create custom branded templates with your own colours, fonts, and logos. 
  • Canva Live: Streamline your design process with Canva Live, a real-time collaboration feature. 
  • Costs: Canva has three pricing plans, with the Pro plan starting at $12.95/month or $9.95/month if paid annually.

Canva Pricing

Canva has three pricing plans. 

The free plan is great for basic tasks like creating social media graphics and simple flyers. The Pro plan gives you access to more powerful tools (like unlimited access to premium templates, 100 + premium stock photos,  and importing PDF files) for $6.49/month, or you can save 16% if you pay annually ($54.99/year) 

The Canva for Teams plan is designed for organisations and offers collaboration capabilities with team reports and insights. It starts at $8.49/month (84.90/year) for the first five individuals and then scales up from there.

#2. Infogram

Creating infographics has never been easier.

Even better, the tool makes the process of creating infographics and charts genuinely fun.

Simple — just choose one of the thousands of templates, input your data, add a few design elements, and then decide if you want to turn it into a map, chart, video, image, icon, or presentation. 

The tool boasts over 35 charts, 200+ maps, and dozens of other icons and illustrations, giving you a wealth of options to create stunning visuals.

Key Features:

  • Dazzling Design Themes: Choose from over 20 ready-made design themes or create your own. Remember, the themes can be customised with your own logo, colour, fonts, and more.
  • Over 1 Million Images and Icons: There’s no shortage of inspiration when you have a library of 1 million images and icons to choose from.
  • Easy Drag and Drop Editor: Create the perfect infographic with Infogram’s straightforward drag-and-drop editor in a few clicks.

Infogram Pricing

The free version of Infogram offers basic features, such as access to 37 charts and up to 10 projects, five pages per project, 13 map types, and more.

Pay just $19/month ( billed yearly ) for access to advanced features, such as premium visuals, download HD videos and images, privacy control, more projects and pages per project, and much more.

If you opt for the Business plan ($67/month billed yearly), you get all the Pro plan features plus integrations with SQL, version, Callouts, Custom Links, version history, and more.

#3. Instapage

A leader in the landing page building space, Instapage is the perfect solution for businesses looking to build a powerful landing page quickly and easily. Their drag-and-drop builder and array of templates make it the ideal tool for designing high-converting landing pages in no time.

Be it sign-up forms, contest info pages, or product launch pages, Instapage has it all covered for you. You can experiment with many versions until you find something that fits your brand best.

Once you’ve settled on a design, you can customise it by adding your brand logo, text, images, fonts, etc. Their built-in A/B testing feature helps you test different versions and pick the best one.

Key Features:

  • Landing Pages: Create and customise high-converting landing pages in no time.
  • A/B Testing: Test different versions of your page to find the one that works the best for you.
  • Team Collaboration: Invite your team members to collaborate on design and content creation.
  • AdMap: You can effortlessly connect ads to corresponding pages.
  • Templates: Instapage has hundreds of professionally designed templates you can use.

Pricing: 

Instapage has a free plan that gives you access to basic features like landing page creation, team collaboration, and basic analytics. The problem is that it doesn’t include a mobile responsive version of the landing pages you create. You’ll need to upgrade to their paid plans for that and many more features, starting at $29 monthly.

#4. Pexels

Good design isn’t just about layout and colour schemes. It’s also about visuals. Pexels is the perfect tool for businesses looking to add a bit of visual flair to their projects. It provides access to millions of free, high-quality stock images that you can use to enhance the look of your designs. You don’t need to worry about copyright infringement; all images are licensed under Creative Commons Zero. 

Key Features:

  • Search: You can easily search for photos using relevant keywords.
  • Categories: Search by category, like nature, business, technology, etc.
  • License: All photos are under Creative Commons Zero license.

Pricing: Pexels is completely free to use.

#5. Freebbble

Dribbble is one of the largest showcase platforms for professional graphic designers. However, as you might have noticed, most of the exhibitors on the platform are top-notch artists on four-figure payrolls.

And yes, not so many options for a budget-conscious business. Fortunately, there’s Freebbble—a free alternative to Dribbble that allows access to some of the best design assets by talented designers from Dribbble.

It’s affiliated with Dribbble but only provides parses the site for free resources.

Key Features:

  • Search: You can easily find the type of design asset you need with relevant keywords.
  • Browse By Type: Background, Font, Illustration, UI Kit, Template, Mockup, etc. 
  • License: All assets are free for personal and commercial projects.

Pricing: Freebbble is completely free to use.

#6. Easel.ly

Easel.ly makes graphic design easy for non-designers. It’s an online tool that allows users to quickly create visually attractive infographics or flyers using thousands of templates and shapes.

Easel.ly does not require any design skills or software installation. You can just drag-and-drop elements, upload images and customise colour schemes. 

Key Features:

  • Drag-and-drop editing: Easily drag and drop elements onto the canvas to create your design.
  • Templates: Choose from thousands of templates for your design. 
  • Colour Scheme: Customise the colour scheme to fit your needs.
  • License: All designs created with Easel.ly are released under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Pricing: Easel.ly is free to use but restricted on the number of fonts and images you can add to any infographic (10 and 60, respectively).

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However, their pro plan is still a bargain, starting at $3/month.

#7. Remove.bg

Remove.bg is a free tool that allows users to quickly and easily remove backgrounds from images, making using the isolated subject in other designs easier. It uses AI technology to automatically detect and remove the background, leaving only a transparent image behind.

Key Features:

  • AI Technology: Remove.bg uses advanced AI technology to detect and remove backgrounds from images quickly and accurately.
  • Speed: Remove.bg can process up to 60,000 images per hour.
  • Backgrounds: Automatically removes backgrounds from images, leaving only the foreground subject behind. 
  • License: All images created with Remove.bg are released under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, meaning you can use them freely without any restrictions.

Pricing: The basic plan is free and allows up to 50 monthly images.  Paid plans start at $9./month (for 40 credits) and go up to $5450/month for 75,000 credits.

#8. Corel Vector

Formerly Gravit Designer, Corel Vector is a powerful vector design tool with a wide selection of features and tools. It allows users to create high-quality designs for websites, logos, icons, banners, presentations, and more.

Think Photoshop but for vector-based designs.

Key Features:

  • Multiplatform: Corel Vector is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Chromebooks.
  • Access from anywhere: Corel Vector allows users to access and work on their designs from any device, online and offline. 
  • Supports a Wide Range of Standard Industry Formats: Corel Vector supports the most popular vector file formats, such as EPS, AI, SVG, and PDF.
  • Visual Design Elements: Corel Vector includes a wide variety of visual design elements such as shapes, text, gradients, and more.
  • Professional Editing Capabilities: Corel Vector includes an array of professional editing capabilities, including masking, layers, effects, and more. 
  • Thousands of Project Assets: Corel Vector includes thousands of project assets such as illustrations, icons, emojis, fonts, templates, photographs, and more.

Pricing: Corel Vector has a free version

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Starting Price: $69/year

Free Trial: It has a 14-day free trial

#9. WhatTheFont

Ever looked at another website and admired its perfect typography? Well, you can copy the designer’s eye by using WhatTheFont. It’s a web-based tool that allows you to identify the fonts used in any website or image. 

WhatTheFont makes the process of font identification incredibly easy and efficient, as it only requires a screenshot or photo for analysis.

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Key Features:

  • Identify from the image: WhatTheFont allows users to identify fonts by providing an image of the text they need to be identified.
  • Search Our Collection of Over 230,000: WhatTheFont’s database of over 230,000 fonts makes it easy to find the perfect font for any project.
  • Match Fonts by Font Features: WhatTheFont offers advanced searching capabilities to match fonts by font features such as serif, sans-serif, script, slab-serif, and more.

Pricing: WhatTheFont has a free version

#10. Coolors.co

Coolors.co is a web-based colour palette generator that allows users to create, explore, and share colour palettes for their projects. This tool is especially helpful for digital designers looking for the perfect colour combination for a website, logo, banner, card, etc.

Key Features: 

  • Generate Color Palettes: Coolors.co allows users to generate random colour palettes with the click of a button.
  • It Comes with HEX Codes: All generated colour palettes include the HEX codes for easy referencing.
  • Create Gradients with Ease: Coolors.co allows users to create gradients with its revolutionary gradient tool easily.

Pricing: Coolors.co is free

Remember, you can also reverse engineer any colour scheme you see online and use their colour codes for your own projects.

For this, you want to use an iOS app called Quolor or a Google Chrome extension called ColorZilla.

Starting Price: $0

#11. Design Seeds

Jessica Colaluca created the Design Seeds site in May 2009 to help other creatives find colour inspiration in everyday scenes. It provides a library of over 4,500 colour palettes and photos that designers can use to spark creativity and find perfect colour combinations for their projects.

Jessica isn’t a big fan of Coolors.co, as she thought it was too flat and lacked colour depth. The Design Seeds site was created to fill that gap.

Key Features: 

  • Over 4,500 Palettes and Photos: Design Seeds provides a library of over 4,500 colour palettes and photos that can be used to spark creative ideas.
  • Real-Life Color Inspiration: Jessica draws inspiration from landscapes, nature, and everyday scenes to create unique colour palettes.

Pricing: Design Seeds is free

#12. DocHipo

DocHipo is a powerful, easy-to-use design tool that helps businesses create beautiful websites, campaigns, and presentation visuals. It comes with a variety of pre-made templates to get you started, and its drag-and-drop editor makes it easy for anyone to customize their designs.

Key Features: 

  • Lots of Pre-made Templates: DocHipo has various templates to help you get started quickly.
  • Drag-and-Drop Editor: DocHipo makes it easy for anyone to customize their templates with its drag-and-drop editor.

Pricing: DocHipo has a free edition and a paid plan that unlocks all the features at $7.5/user/month.

#13. ColorZilla 

ColorZilla is a Chrome extension that allows anyone to quickly and easily pick colours from any web page. It also provides various tools to help designers get the exact colour they’re looking for, such as a gradient creator, eyedropper, and palette viewer.

Key Features: 

  • Colour Picker: Quickly and easily pick colours from any web page with the ColorZilla Chrome extension.
  • Gradient Creator: Create stunning gradients with ColorZilla’s gradient creator tool.
  • Eyedropper: Instantly pick any colour from the page with ColorZilla’s eyedropper.

Pricing: ColorZilla is free.

#14. Placeit

Placeit is a powerful design tool that allows anyone to create beautiful visuals with just a few clicks. It has thousands of templates and mockups that can be customized quickly and easily.

Key Features: 

  • Template Library: Placeit has thousands of templates and mockups to get you started.
  • Customization Tools: Placeit makes it easy for anyone to customize designs with its drag-and-drop editor and other tools.

Pricing: Placeit has free and paid plans starting at $9.99/month.

#15. Piktochart

With Piktochart, you can easily create stunning infographics, reports, videos, and presentations. It has hundreds of templates and designs that can be adjusted to fit your brand’s style.

Plus, it has one of the gentlest learning curves for anyone new to design.

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Key Features: 

  • Template Library: Piktochart has hundreds of templates and designs to get you started.
  • Customization Tools: Piktochart makes it easy for anyone to customize designs with its drag-and-drop editor and other tools.

Pricing: Piktochart has a free plan, with their paid plans starting at $15/month.

#16. UXPin

UXPin is a powerful prototyping and wireframing tool that makes it easy to create user interfaces. It has hundreds of templates and components that can be easily customized to fit any project.

With UXPin, you can wireframe just about anything from websites to mobile apps. It boasts a user-friendly dashboard interface, handy collaboration, and real-time feedback.

Key Features: 

  • Template Library: UXPin has hundreds of templates and components to get you started.
  • Customization Tools: UXPin makes it easy to customize designs with its drag-and-drop editor and other tools quickly.

Pricing: UXPin has a free plan. Paid plans start at $14.5/editor/month.

#17. 99 Designs 

99 Designs is an excellent tool for entrepreneurs who need help designing logos, websites, and other graphic elements. It’s an online marketplace that connects entrepreneurs with talented designers worldwide.

With 99 Designs, you can find the right designer for your project and only pay when you’re satisfied with the design. It also allows designers to showcase their portfolios and bid on projects. 

Key Features: 

  • Design Marketplace: 99 Designs is the go-to marketplace for entrepreneurs who need help with design projects.
  • Talented Designers: Find talented designers from around the world with 99 Designs

Pricing: 99 Designs pricing is based on the scope and complexity of your project.

#18. BeFunky 

BeFunky combines a photo editor, collage creator, and graphic design tools into one handy package. It’s a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs who need to create visuals quickly and easily. With BeFunky, you can edit photos and create stunning graphics with just a few clicks. 

Key Features:

  • Photo Editor: BeFunky has all the tools to edit photos quickly and easily.
  • Collage Creator: Create fun and unique collages with BeFunky’s easy-to-use editing tools.
  • Graphic Design Tool: Create stunning graphics with BeFunky’s extensive selection of templates and elements.
  • AI One-click Background Remover: Easily remove backgrounds with AI-powered one-click technology. 
  • Batch Image Editor: Make bulk edits to photos quickly and easily with BeFunky’s batch image editor.
  • Smart Touch-Up Tools: Perfect photos with BeFunky’s innovative touch-up tools.

Remember, most of these features are only available when you upgrade to the paid version. With the free version, you’ll get access to basic editing tools and a limited selection of templates and editing tools.

Pricing: BeFunky has a free plan, but you can upgrade to their paid plans starting at $5.99/month.

#19. Pablo

Buffer’s little brother, Pablo, is an excellent tool for entrepreneurs looking to share visual quotes or images quickly and easily. With Pablo, you can create stunning visuals in seconds with just a few clicks.

Key Features:

  • Quote Maker: Create beautiful quote images with Pablo’s easy-to-use editor.
  • Image Maker: Make stunning images with Pablo’s selection of templates and elements. 
  • Advanced Filters: Take your visuals to the next level with Pablo’s advanced filters.
  • Image Optimizer: Optimize your visuals for social media with Pablo’s image optimizer. 
  • Share to Social Networks: Easily share your visuals to social networks with Pablo’s built-in sharing feature. 

Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy way to create visuals or need a more advanced tool, Pablo has it all.

Pricing: Free
#20. Snappa

Snappa is an excellent tool for entrepreneurs looking to create eye-catching visuals quickly and easily. With Snappa, you can create stunning graphics with just a few clicks and no design experience necessary.

Key Features:

  • Template Library: Choose from Snappa’s library of over 10,000 templates to get started quickly. 
  • Advanced Editing Tools: Utilize Snappa’s advanced editing tools to take your visuals to the next level. 
  • Social Media Sharing: Easily share your visuals to social networks with Snappa’s built-in sharing feature. 
  • Team Collaboration: Invite team members to collaborate on visuals with Snappa’s collaboration tools. 
  • Image Optimizer: Optimize your visuals for social media with Snappa’s image optimizer. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced designer, Snappa has powerful tools to help you create stunning visuals. 

Pricing: Free and paid plans are available starting at $10/month.

#20. Iconstore

Icons are like the building blocks of great visual design. IconStore is a tool that helps entrepreneurs easily find high-quality icons for their projects. With IconStore, you can search for over 1 million royalty-free icons and download them in various formats. 

Key Features:

  • Advanced Search: IconStore’s advanced search feature helps you find the perfect icon quickly and easily. 
  • Icon Collections: Choose from IconStore’s library of over 1 million icons, organized into different categories. 
  • Royalty-Free: All icons downloaded from IconStore are 100% royalty-free and can be used for commercial projects. 

Pricing: Free