Choosing Design Software
One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is choosing what type of design software you’re going to use. Choosing the right software will not only help you create the most visually appealing billboard but it can also save you a lot of time and money. Thankfully, you have a number of solid options to choose from, each having its own pros and cons you’ll need to consider.
While there are countless options to go with, consider these as a starting point in your search:
Founded in 2012, Canva has gotten close to perfecting the process of simplifying the design process for non-design professionals. It’s simple to use interface, along with countless templates and stock images, makes it a great option for the small business owner wearing multiple hats. One of the best parts is its simple to use drag and drop functionality – far easier for a beginner to pick up than a more advanced software like Adobe Photoshop.
With this simplification, there are certain limitations. For starters, touching up images and adding various textures to images is far more difficult to accomplish. Anything more advanced is going to be more difficult to accomplish in Canva, although googling solutions can provide potential hacks you can use to your advantage.
While Canva does offer a free trial, it’s pricing for business use is $12.95/month or $119.40/year.
One of the most popular graphic design solutions, Adobe Photoshop has been around for over 25 years. Used primarily for image editing and photo retouching, it provides small business owners and graphic designers alike a robust option for billboard creative design. Photoshop has a number of features that make it a preferred choice of graphic designers (along with its brother product Adobe Illustrator).
With all of these features comes potential confusion for the beginner designer. While there are countless online resources (some free and others paid) to help you become more familiar with how you can get the most out of your use of Photoshop, it can take a bit longer to grasp and isn’t as user-friendly to the beginner as Canva.
Photoshop costs about $10/month or $120/year.
Gravit Designer is a full-featured free vector design app. Similar to Adobe, there are a number of related services you can use through Gravit to help you in your design efforts, truly trying to become your one-stop design provider. Some of these additional services include Gravit Klex (another design solution), Gravit Cloud (to store and share your designs), and Gravit Tech (innovative tech solutions to help bridge the UX/UI gap). Gravit themselves provides a lot of tutoring and training services to help you get the most out of their design software.
Some have expressed their appreciation for the desktop app, while at the same time the mobile app has been said to be limited in its function. Overall, Gravit is a great option for beginners, while more advanced designers will most likely get more out of another type of design software (like an Adobe product).
If you’re wanting a similar function of Photoshop but don’t want to spend the money, try this in-browser experience powered by Pixlr. Some pros to Pixlr includes it supports layers and masks and showcases a customizable interface. The negatives include it requiring Flash and you will have to deal with ads while you design – the price you pay in experience for it being free.
There are a ton of design tool options available to you and your business. Most of these options include a free trial period, if they aren’t free already. Take advantage of that offering by trying out your top few options to better understand how they work and if they’ll be the right solution for you and your business.