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Design tools for those of us that can’t design

I am not a designer! I wish I could design, but I’m just not that kind of creative. Fortunately, there are some really great tools I found that have helped me with this weakness of mine.

You might wonder why I don’t hire a designer?

It’s not that I don’t hire designers, it just, sometimes, hiring a designer is overkill and to time consuming.

Let me give you a simple example with one of the design tools I use often.

I was building out a new site, and just needed a few banner ads to test positioning and message for both the site I was building but also for the call to actions on these ads.

If I would have hired a designer, I would have had to wait 24 to 72 hours, in most cases, to get back some design ideas, then do any tweaking, and maybe have something useable in another day or two. I’m now about a week out.

In this case, instead of hiring a designer, I used my resources and tools. Which got me what I needed within an hour.

First, I opened up my design tool,

Once I’ve got open, I’m going to go to the ads section and start looking through the hundreds of pre-made ads to find one that I like and can use as a template, a starting place.

Again, I’m not a designer, so design ideas for ads don’t naturally float around my mind.

Here’s a quick demo:

[videopress OX4KDWVZ w=800]


One of the other tools I’m going to use to help me with the design is Google.

I’m going to look for banner ads that I can model. Usually I want to find examples from well known companies who have probably spent millions of dollars testing their ads. At least that way I can have a bit of confidence in the ads design and layout.

In this particular situation I just did a Google search for “banner ad examples” and found this post: 27 Brilliant Banner Ads Examples from Tech Industry

Once I find an ad I want to model, I find a template in that gets me close and I go to work to build out the ad.

Pretty simple. With the right tools.

Another tool I use regularly is

The thing I love about this resource is not only do I get color patterns and font combinations, I get to see how to apply the color palette to the WordPress theme I am building.

The creator of this site, Rafal Tomal, is one of the most brilliant designers I’ve seen. He is the lead designer for StudioPress and Rainmaker Digital.

Again, as a non-designer, I need all the help I can get making things look good and this has been a huge help.

Here is a little demo video on what’s available at

[videopress PxZqmrnx w=800]


Here are a couple other tools I use regularly

Font Awesome great solution for icons. For website design and for your graphics.

Unsplash Probably the largest and resource on the web for free images that don’t look like stock images.

For WordPress themes I use the Genesis Framework, so there are a list of child theme providers below, but I also use sites like Betheme to find design ideas. I then convert those designs into Genesis Child Themes (example here).

Genesis Child Theme providers I frequently use…

The Wrap Up

You may be more of designer than me and think you don’t need these tools, but even if you can design, all of these tools will only make you more proficient at what you do.

You should at least try them out.

If you use tools like Divi or Elementor or Beaver Builder,  they have market places and showcases where you can get design ideas too.

If you have questions about any of these tools, let me know, I’m happy to provide any insights or support I can. Just use the comments below.

If you have any design tools you’d like to share, please use the comments below!

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