Bill Gates once said: “The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.” How right he was! No offense to my college or instructors, but the only thing I learned in school that I still use today is the basic idea of how to string sentences together. But the technology they trained me on? It’s a memory, for the most part. Most of what I use now, which is wholly necessary for my clients to get their messages out in today’s world, wasn’t even a thought when I graduated in 2009.
Some technology didn’t keep up. (Shout out to that palm pilot I had in high school!) Others evolved. (Hey Facebook, maybe slow down your evolution a little for the old millennials over here.)
So which tech tools are “must-haves” for today’s marketers? There are a lot, so this is just part one – the things that can meet a marketer’s (semi) professional design needs. You’ll certainly never catch me claiming to be a professional graphic designer. But when engaging visuals are critical for so much of my work, I’ve found there are a few great tools to have in my arsenal.
Primitive designers rejoice! Canva, which has free and pro options, is excellent for things like social media graphics, ads and even simple videos. Their endless library of design templates and stock images makes life easier. The ability to easily create or resize graphics to the correct dimensions for Instagram Stories, LinkedIn cover photos, posters or countless other sizes saves lots of time.
It’s not perfect, and sometimes I still pull up Photoshop to do something like remove a background. But it’s certainly a top choice in my design toolkit.
Before you write this one off because you don’t have an Apple computer, hear me out. I’m even less of a videographer than I am a designer. But thanks to iMovie, I can make magic happen sometimes. (It’s honestly a great selling point for a Macbook if you’re a marketer, in my opinion!) The easy-to-use interface is great for pairing separate audio and video or trimming different spots for a social ad. And remember, you may have access to iMovie on an iPad even if you use a PC.
If you don’t have any Apple products, you’ve got some other options. There’s Windows Movie Maker, for example, or you could go with something like the Vimeo Create video maker. Of course, if you need really great video footage and are a perfectionist with the editing, it’s certainly worth engaging a professional.
Sometimes, clients send me their font names and/or files and all is right with the world. Other times, I’m kind of on my own. That’s where FontSpring’s matcherator comes in. Now, it isn’t perfect. But it can often point you in the right direction.
Just upload an image of the font you’d like to identify. It will show examples of several that are exact or close, and it will have links to download or purchase the files, as available. For the sanctity of your brand, matching fonts are a must.
If you’re not quite satisfied with the product, there are certainly other options out there, like FontSquirrel or What Font Is, among others.
More often than fonts, I find myself in need of a specific color. A best guess is often even the slightest shade off. That’s where a pantone identifier comes in. I like the one linked above from Ginifab. They even have tools for other needs, like converting RGB color to CMYK. Just upload an image and click the color you need to match. The site will give you a HEX value, along with the HEX values of other colors nearby. You can copy this directly into any number of programs, including Photoshop, InDesign, Microsoft Office, Canva and more.
Got any other basic design tools you love? Shout out in the comments.