Stand Out With Free Image Editing & Logo Creation Software
How can great images help your business?
Having great images and branding can really help in business. It matters because the right choice will help to distinguish you from your competitors and make a huge difference to how you are seen by your suppliers, partners and customers. In a crowded marketplace, that's a very important advantage to have.
This article explores the key areas where having powerful, consistent imagery can really help convey your message, principles and approach. Some of the main areas where having great visuals can benefit your business include:
- Your business logo
- Your business branding
- Your website
- Product and service images
- Your marketing and advertising
That first impression matters and will help to drive customers to your website, engage with it and encourage them to purchase.
You'll find out how using the right image can help you and discover the main types of software that can help you create effective images quickly and easily.
Whatever your small business needs, image editing software exists that can help you enhance how you put your business across. If a picture is worth a thousand words, make sure that the picture is the best you can make it.
Should you design your own images?
The first question to ask is if you should design your own images? You have several choices:
- You may decide to create and edit images yourself,
- get a colleague or friend to do it or,
- outsource your work to a designer
There are lots of areas where having the perfect photo, graphics or artwork can make all the difference, including:
- Your business logo
- Marketing and advertising materials
- Your products and services
- Information and explanation
So you'll need to be sure that if you want to do the work yourself that you're up to the task. If you're not, then taking on a professional maybe the way forward.
Your business logo
Your logo is the most important visual element for your business. It will immediately begin to tell people about the type of business that you are.
Is it traditional, bold, elegant, modern, colorful, monotone, playful or serious? For example, the Apple logo speaks of being iconic, simple, designed and elegant. The HubPages logo on the other hand suggests something curious. The handwritten style puts across individuality and quirkiness, both essential values of what that website represents.
Once you know what the core values are of your business and what you want to put across to people, you can look at designing your logo. The colors, fonts and graphics you choose can be blended together to create a logo that's memorable, appealing and captures your business message.
Branding your products and services
Branding isn't just for the big household names, it’s important to any business that wants to convey a consistent theme.
Next to your logo, the choice of images that you use in your promotional materials, website and elsewhere will also help to convey the type of business that you are.
This will include the colours and images you choose, the tone and style and how they look on a website or in print. Your branding conveys the values you hold as a business. You might go for something classic or traditional, something quirky or a more modern and clean look.
Marketing your business
We’re all subjected to hundreds of marketing messages and advertising images every day; using an image that both stands out and conveys a message is vital to getting noticed against this overwhelming background noise.
When you're creating marketing and advertising materials, you'll need to create something eye-catching and distinct that's going to capture and hold people's attention. Having a 'visual link' between your branding, logo, marketing and advertising will create something distinctive and clear that people can immediately associate with.
Your business products and services
Whether you’re selling a service or a product, online or offline, people need to see what they are getting. For example, Amazon are experts at providing attractive images of all their product lines.
Using an image that shows your product or service in the best way can make a big difference to the decision to buy. Showing an uncluttered, clear photograph so that people know exactly what they are getting will drive more sales.
You might even want to provide multiple images of the same object, shown in different ways. If your product or service isn't physical, then screenshots, boxshots or other abstract images can be good ways to show it off.
An increasingly popular way to share information, infographics show complex data in graphical form and are designed to allow people to understand things at a glance.Although they are becoming somewhat overused now, an infographic can still be a powerful visual aid to tell a story.
The best infographics take data that we find hard to comprehend or understand and break it down into easily digestible visual cues. If you're lucky, then a good infographic can ‘go viral’, promoting your business along with it.
Infographics vary greatly in terms of looks, complexity and design.
Information and explanation
Many people absorb information more easily through images than words. Providing information in a visual format is a great way to engage with people and can expand your audience.
If you're using a lot of text to explain concepts and processes, think about using images instead. They can provide an alternative view and will often simplify potentially complex subjects.
For example, my hubs make extensive use of images to explain and expand upon concepts.
Remember where image editing software can help
Your business logo
Your business brand
Your marketing messages
Your products & services
Information & explanation
What area of your business needs great images the most?
The different types of image editing software
There are several different types of image editing software, some of which can carry out general tasks and some specialized to specific results, including:
- General image editing and manipulation
- 3D software
- Image management software
- Infographic software
- Banner creation software
- Screenshot software
- Box and book art software
We'll cover each of these below.
General image editing & manipulation
These applications allow you to create, manipulate and edit images (similar to Photoshop); these applications might be installed locally on your computer or used through a web browser and have a very wide variety of functions and approaches, from freeform drawing through vector illustration, photo manipulation and more.
This software allows you to create and edit 3D models and images, rendering two dimensional plans into compelling 3D objects.
Image management software
Programs that allow you to organize and manage all of your images and artwork. These are very useful for keeping an inventory of all your art and image assets so you can quickly locate and use them.
These programs allow you to create, manipulate and edit infographics, presenting complex information in an approachable, entertaining and informative way.
Banner creation software
Programs that allow you to create, manipulate and edit images used in banner advertising. These are useful for creating strong imagery to promote your brand online, for example through Google AdWords display advertising.
This software allows you to capture and manipulate images from your computer. Useful if, for example, you are illustrating how to use a software tool through step-by-step instructions and screenshots.
Box / Book art software
These programs allow you to create authentic looking box and book art covers for selling virtual / downloadable goods
Combining image editing software with business needs
You can see at a glance the type of software you might need, based on your business requirements.
You can download and try out image editing software via the links below
Image editing software (local install)
Image editing software that you can install and use on your PC.
- Gimp – Probably the most well known image editing program, Gimp is very fully featured and includes a customizable interface, lots of special effects, built in enhancement capabilities, plugins and lots more
- Paint.net – An impressive photo editing solution that features layers, special effects and lots of other tools
- PhotoFiltre – A good photo editing application with standard features that also allows plugins
- Open Office Draw – Part of the popular Open Office suite; also features 3D editing
Image editing software (web based)
Software that runs in the cloud, through your web browser.
- Pixlr – The most popular online image editing tool, Pixlr has many features that make it fast and easy to use
- FotoFlexer – FotoFlexer features layering, effects, fonts, shapes and distortions
- iPiccy – A specialized photo editing application
3D image editing software
3D software that allows you to edit and render 3D models.
- Art of Illusion – Features a good interface, rendering, modeling, animation, textures, rendering, post processing and scripts
- Blender – An exceptionally fully featured 3D rendering, modeling and editing program
- Sketchup – A simple, easy to use 3D program that allows you to quickly and easily create models
Image management software
Applications that allow you to manage images and enhance them.
- Picasa – A popular image sharing and manipulation program from Google
- IrfanView – A fast, small and easy to use image viewer
- Photoscape – A simple viewer, editor, organization and animation program
Infographics creation software
Applications that allow you to visualize data and present it in visually appealing ways.
- Creately – allows you to make diagrams, wireframes, flow charts and other graphics
- Infogr.am – An online solution that lets you design and create interactive infographics
- Visual.ly – A very popular online tool that allows you to easily create, share and edit infographics
- Wordle – Wordle allows you to create ‘word clouds’ from text that you enter
Banner creation software
Applications that specialize in creating banners for advertisements and as website headers.
- Bannerfans – A point and click banner creation and sharing application
- Bannersnack – An easy to use banner creation application that lets you create banners in HTML, Flash and GIF formats
- XHeader – Fully featured header graphics and banner software
Applications that allow you to capture images from your computer screen.
- Snipping tool – A simple screen capture application built into Windows Vista and Windows 7
- Greenshot – A lightweight, easy to use screenshot tool optimized for productivity
- Screenshot Captor – A tool for capturing, managing and annotating screenshots
Box and book shot software
Applications that create images of boxes and books for downloadable and virtual products and eBooks.
- Box Shot Maker – A simple boxshot maker that can also produce images of books
- 3D Box Shot Maker – An easy to use boxshot maker
How to use Gimp - Beginner's Guide
Do you have any advice or experiences to share with editing images and how you've used them in business? If so, please let us know in the comments.
If you found this article useful, interesting or informative, please do check out my other guides for small business owners here.