Signals #8 – No-Design Tools

Challenge

  • Solopreneurs and small business owners can’t afford professional designers when starting out.

Opportunity

  • Use no-design tools to bootstrap your brand.

Get Started

  • Understand that in the long run no-design tools cannot replace a professional graphic designer. You need both skill and experience to create credible brands.
  • Learn enough of design basics to be dangerous and beat 95% of the competition.
  • Build a basic set of visuals for your company:

Tools

Pros

  • Save money when you don’t have inbound cash flow yet. Most listed tools are free to use or freemium.
  • Save time and spin up quick designs for fast-paced content marketing: ads, blogs, newsletters, social media.
  • Save effort: Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign are great tools but can have a steep learning curve.

Cons

  • There is actual design involved. Even if you use pre-made libraries and blocks, you can’t escape from basic laws of design.
  • Putting it together still requires work. Time investment is greater than 0. But the quality is probably a lot better than when a non-designer starts from scratch.
  • Designs converge to similarity when everyone’s using the same basic blocks. Same happened with Bootstrap and web development.

Cases

Forecast

  • No-design tools are part of the bigger emerging creator economy trend. It’s easier than ever to get started. But more difficult than ever to stand out from the masses.

Resources

Takeaways

  • No-design tools can be a fast and a cost-efficient way to bootstrap a brand. In the long run, you should start using professionals at least to create the core items.
  • Learn enough of design basics yourself to get the big things right.
  • Expect some similarities with the visuals of other businesses if you use a lot of templates and pre-built blocks.