Do you want to create professional posters, presentations, websites, invitations, or reports? Then you need the tools and resources to design better. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite (and most promising) design tools to help you with your design skills. From easy to advanced, and from free to paid.
You can find high-quality images for free, so you never have to use an image from Google images.
There are more and more membership services where you can download all sorts of designs. Like images, icons, presentation templates, music, sound effects, fonts, stock video, 3D mockups and report templates. Usually a very good deal!
Illustrations, 3D and mockups storytale.io From $19 per month
Creative market for graphics, fonts, templates, photos, web themes, 3D, and even add-ons. Free or $19.95 per month.
Storyblocks.com Digital assets such as videos, audio, images, from €15 per month.
Monster One. Images, video and 3D models, but also WordPress templates. $7.40 per month.
All-in-one online design software
Create your own amazing designs with these free and paid tools. These tools also have their own design library with images you can use plus templates made by designers. It’s simple and free and I often recommend it to people with no design experience.
Canva is an easy to use online editing program that’s great for social media posts, flyers, posters, invitations and simple infographics. With a lot of templates to kick-start your design with. Free or $12.99 per month.
Visme.co Online editing program suitable for print, social and more complex infographics and graphs and even video. Free; Paid plans start at $29 per month
Mind the graph. Very promising design tool aimed towards scientists to create poster presentations, diagrams and graphical abstracts. You can create detailed graphics of bacteria, amoeba, and molecules. Free and paid plans starting at $14 per month.
Piktochart helps you create infographics, reports, videos, and more with just a few clicks. Free or $29 per month.
Easel.ly for reports and infographics. Free or $2 per month for students and $4 per month for individuals.
Infogram is an online design tool with a focus on graphs and data visualisation. Free or $25 per month.
Snappa is good for simple graphics for social media, ads, blogs. Free or $15 per month.
I’ll mention biorender.com again, since this is also an online editor for creating scientific diagrams. Free for limited use or $35 per month.
From simple grammar tools to AI-powered writing bots.
Grammarly is a browser extension that helps me write without spelling mistakes wherever I am on the web.
Quillbot.com is a paraphrasing tool I use all the time to see some other options for my text.
Hemingway App checks your text for readability and improves your writing style.
Jasper.ai is a full AI-powered writing tool that helps you write entire blogs.
Image editing tools
Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign). A great design tool. I do 90% of my design work with this software, but there is a steep learning curve. If you’re a student or employee of a university check whether you can get a free or cheap license. If you’re a researcher in the Netherlands, check out Surfspot.
Alternatives for Photoshop
Photopea, a free online image editor that supports PSD files.
Liesbeth combines her knowledge of science communication, technology and design to explain difficult topics to a wide audience. You can use her practical tips immediately in your (poster) presentations to create a bigger impact. She developed dozens of websites, infographics and animated videos, and regularly gives workshops about design at The Online Scientist.