20 Design Tools for Startups on Budget

Starting a business often means you and your laptop against the world. Every entrepreneur can relate to this. You have a grand vision for your product but translating that into reality can be a challenge, especially when you’re working solo from a co-working space.

While you can hire freelancers from various networks like Upwork, the quality is often a gamble. If you’d rather not take that chance, read on for 20 design tools perfect for entrepreneurs and marketers on a budget.

Ready to take the plunge? Let’s get started with these cost-effective design solutions!

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Your One-Stop Web Development Platform

Wix Web Development Platform

Wix is a cloud-based platform for website development. It allows complete customization, making it easy to build anything from a business site to an e-commerce portal or a personal blog. And the best part? You can start for free.

What sets Wix apart is its user-friendliness. You don’t need any prior web development experience to create a professional-looking website. The sites you build are SEO-friendly, optimized for mobile devices, and can be integrated with features like online booking or e-commerce.

Getting started with Wix is a breeze. Simply pick a domain name, choose from hundreds of templates, customize your chosen template with a drag-and-drop editor, and publish. You can also use Wix’s SEO tools to increase site traffic and boost your online presence.

Cost Breakdown:

Wix provides free hosting and a variety of templates. If you require additional features, premium plans range from £4 to £21 per month for websites, and £15 to £27 per month for business and e-commerce sites.

Visit Wix

Creative Market

A Treasure Trove for Designers

Creative Market Resources

Creative Market is a hotspot for designers looking for inspiration. The platform offers a wide array of design resources, from templates and icons to Photoshop add-ons and 3D elements.

The “Simple License” offered here covers both personal and creative uses of most items. What’s more, every week they offer six free resources. Sign up for their newsletter to stay updated on these freebies.

Cost Details:

Browsing through Creative Market is free and the items for sale are reasonably priced. Additionally, loading your account with $100 or $200 will earn you 10 or 22 free credits, respectively.

Visit Creative Market

Adobe Color CC

The Ultimate Color Tool

Adobe Color CC Tool

Formerly known as Kuler, Adobe Color CC is the go-to tool for color schemes. Whether you’re struggling with color choices or simply don’t have the time to start from scratch, this tool has got you covered.

The idea is simple. Use the color wheel to pick the perfect color palette for your project. You can choose up to five harmonious colors based on predefined rules.

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For those short on time, the tool also includes an “Explore” tab that features ready-made schemes from other users. You can copy, edit, and save these into your own library.

One of the best features of Adobe Color CC is its integration with other Adobe products. You can import your new color theme directly into Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign. An Adobe account is required to maximize the utility of these themes.

Cost Breakdown:

Adobe Color CC is completely free to use, as is the Adobe account needed to make the most of its features.

Visit Adobe Color CC


The All-in-One Design Resource

Freepik Design Resources

Freepik serves as a comprehensive platform for those dabbling in design. Based in Spain, the site offers a wealth of icons, vectors, and even photos, making it a one-stop-shop for all your design needs.

You can combine it with Pexels, Pixabay, or any of the numerous free stock photo providers to elevate your projects.

Cost Information:

Freepik offers up to 60 free downloads a day. However, proper attribution to Freepik is required for the files you use.

Visit Freepik


Buffer’s Social Media Design Tool

Pablo by Buffer

Pablo, a free tool by Buffer, allows you to create and share visual quotes across your social media channels. With seamless Buffer integration, your social media management becomes a breeze.

This tool automates the design process, offering pre-selected quotes and images. You can also upload your own backgrounds and customize them with effects like contrast and blur.

Cost Breakdown:

Pablo is a free tool with no hidden charges.

Visit Pablo


High-Quality Images for Free

Pexels Free Photos

Pexels is a treasure trove of high-resolution images that are perfect for any project. All photos are covered by the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, allowing you to use them for both personal and commercial projects without attribution.

Cost Summary:

Pexels is free, but you’re encouraged to make a small donation via PayPal to support the platform’s hosting capabilities.

Visit Pexels


Your Go-To for Visual Content

Visme Platform

Visme’s presentation maker is a game-changer for businesses looking to enhance their communications and presentations. With a plethora of professionally designed templates and a myriad of design elements, Visme makes slide creation a breeze.

You can enrich your visual content by using stock photos, stock videos, vector icons, and more. Insert your brand’s colors and fonts for a cohesive look.

The versatility of Visme extends beyond presentations. You can also create infographics, social media designs, marketing materials, and other types of visual content. The business plan is priced at $29/mo (billed annually).

Visit Visme


The Landing Page Maestro

Instapage Landing Page Tool

Instapage is a go-to choice for landing page creation, boasting over 250,000 users worldwide. This platform offers an array of templates that you can customize to fit your brand’s unique identity.

Customize your page with your logo, message, and other brand elements to make it truly yours. You can even A/B test different page versions to find the most effective layout for your audience.

Pricing Options:

While Instapage offers a free plan, it comes with limitations, such as the absence of a mobile-responsive feature. The paid plans—Basic ($29/month), Professional ($79/month), and Unlimited ($179/month)—offer a more comprehensive set of features, making it a valuable investment for your online presence.

Visit Instapage

Canva and Canva Pro

Design Simplified


Canva is an excellent tool for startups or individuals looking for an easy way to create visually stunning content. Whether you’re crafting social media posts or event invitations, Canva’s drag-and-drop interface simplifies the design process.

Canva Pro takes it to the next level, allowing for brand kits, template customization, and sharing capabilities. Easily maintain brand consistency with preset colors and fonts.


The Canva Pro subscription is priced at USD 12.95/month or USD 9.95/month if billed annually. Additionally, individual paid images can be purchased, often at discounted rates when bought in bulk.

Visit Canva


Font Recognition Made Easy


WhatTheFont is an ideal tool for those who lack design skills but wish to emulate a designer’s touch. Simply upload an image containing text, and the tool will identify the font used.

Once you have the font name, you can find it on various font repositories like FontSquirrel, Google Fonts, or 1001 fonts.


WhatTheFont and most font repositories are free to use. However, make sure the font you select is also free for commercial applications.

Visit WhatTheFont!


Effortless Color Generation

Coolors.co is a top-notch color generator designed for ease and accessibility. Whether you’re a seasoned designer or a newcomer, Coolors offers a range of features to help you find the perfect color scheme.

The platform includes HEX codes, adjustable color components, and toggles for brightness, temperature, hue, and saturation, making it incredibly flexible and intuitive to use.


Coolors is a free-to-use tool, accessible to all.

Visit Coolors.co

Design Seeds

The Artistic Approach to Color

Design Seeds

Design Seeds offers an alternative perspective on color generation. Founded by an artist who appreciates the nuanced art of color selection, the platform provides hand-crafted color palettes for those seeking something more emotionally resonant.

Each palette is created with meticulous care in Illustrator, often paired with an inspiring photo. The HEX codes are provided, making it easy to integrate these carefully curated palettes into your own designs.


Design Seeds is free to browse, though the founder offers freelance services for those seeking customized solutions.

Visit Design Seeds


The Free Photoshop Alternative


If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to create logos and graphics without committing to Adobe’s subscription model, Pixlr is worth checking out. This free online photo editor offers a user-friendly interface that closely resembles Photoshop, making the transition to this tool relatively seamless.

It’s not just the UI that’s impressive; Pixlr also offers a variety of file-saving options, including the ability to save files as TIFF, which will come in handy for future design work.


Pixlr is free to use, both on desktop and mobile, although the mobile version is still under development.

Visit Pixlr


Your One-Stop-Shop for Photo Editing and Design


BeFunky goes a step beyond conventional photo editors by offering a comprehensive suite of creative tools. Whether you’re creating a collage, editing a photo, or designing graphics, BeFunky has an interface tailored to each activity.

The platform provides a rich array of resources including icons, templates, and fonts. It’s an ideal solution for a wide range of projects, from event invitations to infographics.


BeFunky’s basic tools are free, but to unlock its full potential, including an ad-free experience and premium templates, a Pro account is available for $4.95/month or $24.95/year.

Visit BeFunky


Your Source for Free Dribbble Content


Freebbble serves as a curated hub for free design resources available on Dribbble, the popular showcase site for professional graphic designers. Whether you’re after fonts, icons, or templates, Freebbble has neatly categorized them according to license and resource type. However, it’s advisable to double-check the license terms with the original creator before using any free resource.


Freebbble is a completely free platform that aims to make high-quality design resources more accessible.

Visit Freebbble


Visual Content Marketing Made Easy


In the age of decreasing attention spans, Easel.ly provides an intuitive platform for creating infographics and other visual content to engage your audience. The platform offers a range of templates, objects, and images, making it a one-stop solution for your visual content needs.


Although Easel.ly is free to use, it comes with limitations on the number of images and fonts you can use in each infographic. However, its Pro plan, priced at $3 per month, offers extended features and customization options.

Visit Easel.ly


Your Gateway to UX Design and Prototyping


If you’re contemplating diving into the world of UX design, UXPin is a comprehensive platform for prototyping apps and websites. It features a user-friendly dashboard, collaboration tools, and resources for easy prototyping, making it ideal for beginners and professionals alike.


UXPin offers multiple pricing tiers, starting from $19 per month. While it provides a wealth of free learning resources, a subscription is necessary for full access to its design capabilities.

Visit UXPin