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Graphic Design Tools for the Nurse Entrepreneur

Monday, August 27, 2018 7:30 AM | Christy Hendricks (Administrator)

*this page contains affiliate links.

You wear a lot of hats and have to learn a boat-load of new skills once you enter the arena of entrepreneurship. There are blog articles to be written, connections to make, emails to write, and social media posts to be shared. Creating graphics is just another task to add to the list.

If the thought of creating your own graphics scares you, check out these graphic design tools for the nurse entrepreneur. They make easy work of what many find intimidating. But watch out: you may enjoy the process so much, you’ll be brainstorming ways to create a side gig out of your newfound skills!

Use Color Palettes to Explore Color Combinations

You want your audience to quickly recognize you in a crowded field, but how do you help them do that? Remove the mental exercise they go through in trying to discern whether they know you and your content with this simple branding technique.

If you haven’t yet chosen a color palette to represent your brand, or doubt your “inner designer” capabilities, put your mind at ease. Start by taking a look at online color palette collections from sites like Colourlovers,  Coolors, or my favorite, Design Seeds.

I recommend searching palettes that contain the colors you may already have in mind. Otherwise, you’ll be distracted by all the other beautiful palettes and wind up second-guessing yourself and wasting precious time.

Color Pickers and Eyedroppers Help to Grab and Identify Color Codes

Color pickers and eyedroppers are most commonly available in your browser as an extension. If you use Chrome, go to the 3 little dots in the upper right hand corner and click to get the dropdown. Select “More tools,” then “Extensions.” Then just search “color pickers” or “eyedroppers” and add the one you want. 

Have you found a website with a color you absolutely love? Eyedroppers are handy in that they allow you to grab the hex or rgb color codes from websites. Just place the dropper over the color you like and the eyedropper will show you the codes for that color. 

Color pickers let you mix your own palette and download a csv file of the codes from your palette. That way, you’ll always have the codes at your fingertips and be able to consistently use the same color codes across your branded graphics.

Free Images Are Easily Found Online

For whatever reason, the days of having to pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to acquire the rights to use images are gone. While you still have to be careful to ensure a graphic you download gives you license to use it commercially, its become easier to obtain images for free.

Pixabay was my favorite source of free images, and still is my favorite for small video clips, but my new favorite, Unsplash, is the clear leader.

The sheer volume of available images on Unsplash is mind boggling. What I like even more is the ability to save and curate your favorites into collections. I don’t download every image I save, but it sure will be easier to go to my “Desktops and Workspaces” collection when I decide to write a blog post on workspace organization and need an image to go with it.

Image Editors Help to Edit, Resize, Crop and Compress Images

Inevitably, you’re going to arrive at a point when you need to resize, crop, or edit an image. It sounds like it could be difficult: something you need a professional to handle. Poppycock!

My favorite image editor is PixlrExpress. You can upload images directly on their website, or find the app in your app store. (I got mine in the Chrome app store.)

PixlrExpress lets you easily resize images, which is helpful since most apps and software you use require or recommend certain size uploads. You can also crop, enhance, add text, stickers, and borders, and even create collages.

A quick and easy way to compress your images (which is helpful in keeping your website running fast) is to do it on either TinyJPG or Tiny PNG.

Simply upload your image file in either .jpg or .png format and the app does the rest. I’ve not found any perceptible difference between the original images and the compressed images I’ve compressed. 

Graphic Design Apps Put it all Together for a Professional Look

In some cases, like for a blog post, all you need is an image, a picture. Social media and marketing assets generally require more in the way of graphic design, though.

The best graphic design apps for non-graphic designers are Canva and Stencil *. These tools come with pre-designed layouts, or templates, which you can customize with your own images and text. They both make it easy to create covers, headers, social media posts, advertising layouts, and more.

When I first started out, I used Canva all the time. You just can’t beat free. Well, no, you can. While Canva is a wonderful graphic design resource, free tools also have their limitations. The number and quality of images and templates available with a free account frustrate anyone wanting to present a more professional face. It would be well worth the money to upgrade to a paid account.

After picking up a phenomenal deal on Stencil * through AppSumo *, and using Stencil * for all my social media posts and other graphics, I became a huge fan. I especially like being able to create a social media graphic and immediately post it to one of my pages or groups. I also like being able to set custom image sizes for graphics I create for other sites.

Pick up your toolbox and have fun with graphics

I never knew I'd have so much fun creating graphics as I do now! I'll admit, in the beginning I was intimidated. I thought I'd have to pay for every single image and hire a designer to do all the work. Now I have to watch the clock, staying on task, otherwise I'd spend all day designing! I hope you have as much fun as I do.

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