5 Free and Easy Design Tools for Water Testing Labs

Creating visual marketing materials for your water lab can feel daunting at first — but there are many design tools available that can help make tasks easier. Whether you're looking to make printable marketing hand-outs to distribute in your lab, create images for your website, or design some fun graphics to share on social media, there is software that can help you get it done.

Design Tools and Software to Consider

You don't have to know how to code to build a website for your lab, and you also don't need to be a graphic designer to create compelling images for your lab's online presence. So, consider tools that offer drag-and-drop options for creating customized images. Although these tools won't replace a skilled and strategic graphic designer, they include templates that are built by professionals to help busy people like you with your marketing needs.

Here are five design tools that are easy and affordable for water testing labs.

1. Canva

With more than 30 million users worldwide, Canva is the first choice for many marketers. This popular software strikes the right balance by offering plenty of features without complications. The only catch is that Canva is so popular your audience might have already seen the templates around the internet. To avoid looking generic, personalize the templates with your lab's branding. Add your logo and use your lab's signature colors and fonts. Make tiny tweaks to the templates, such as rounding a square border or choosing a different stock photo, to make it fresh enough to capture your audience's attention.

Price: Free, with upgrade options starting at $9.99 per month.

2. DesignWizard

Graphic designers love programs with endless tools for customizing designs. That said, lab managers will be more productive using pared-down design software, such as DesignWizard. This may not have as many options and possibilities as other tools, but that's a benefit. With fewer options, you can quickly make decisions and move on to your next task. Much like Canva, you can choose from a library of templates and images to make the graphics you need.

Price: Free, with upgrade options starting at $9.99 per month.

3. Adobe Spark

Adobe is the go-to software provider for photographers and graphic designers. And while Photoshop and Illustrator are expensive and likely too complicated for your needs, Adobe Spark is a free alternative to these gold-standard design tools. It is also available on mobile or desktop, so you can quickly put together graphics when you're working outside the lab. Plus, many people are already familiar with Adobe's products, so this is a good choice. You can delegate the marketing tasks to an intern or another team member.

Price: Free, with upgrade options starting at $9.99 per month. (Seeing a theme? Most of these design tools have similar pricing tiers.)

4. Piktochart

If you have data to share with your team, the public, or customers, Piktochart will help you create expert visual representations. For example, you can create infographics about the most common contaminants your lab has detected in local water samples. Piktochart also offers several templates for social media images. This is a tool you could use a few times per year — when putting together a presentation, meeting with a big client, or preparing materials to hand out at a conference.

Price: Free for the basic version or $24.17 per month for a Pro account.

5. Crello

If your lab is exceptionally clean and up to date on the industry's best practices, you don't want your online presence to be sloppy and outdated. Crello is a great option for unique templates that feel modern and fresh enough to set your lab apart from your competitors. You can easily add animation by putting your lab's name on a Facebook video cover. By using a tool like Crello, you can create graphics that align with your lab's strengths.

Price: Free for the basic version or $7.99 per month for a Pro account.

Top Picks at the Right Price

These five design tools will help you create compelling images for your marketing needs at a fraction of the cost of hiring a design firm. Start with a free trial and then upgrade later if you want access to the advanced options. Most premium features include more templates, images, cloud storage, customization, and watermark removal.

When you can't hire a dedicated marketer, you can do the next best thing by choosing software programs that will make marketing easier for you and your team. Even if you outsource marketing for your lab, you can save time and money by handling many of your marketing tasks in-house using these design tools.

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Kelly McSweeney
Science and Technology Writer
Armed with a master's degree in writing and a decade of professional work in scientific publishing, Kelly McSweeney writes about science and technology innovations. She translates complicated topics into stories that capture the curiosity of everyone from casual readers to technical experts. Kelly has degrees from Emerson College and the University of Vermont, and has worked on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics publications at Wiley, In Compliance magazine, and Pearson. Her articles about the latest research are published by ZDNet, Northrop Grumman, and Wiley.