Tools For The Web Designer on a Budget

Web designers may require the features of high quality design software such as the Adobe Creative Suite to unlock the design potential for their websites.  However, the costs of buying this software can be quite daunting for a web designer on a budget.  As a result, you may need to find the right alternatives to this software that can provide you with the convenience you need for maintaining your web design functionality. Especially if you’re looking to create a powerful website that requires effective and dynamic coding, you may find the right tools tough to find or too expensive to obtain. These 7 tools are all free for you to access and utilize for your web design.  Don’t let the hefty costs stop you from furthering your career or pursuing a hobby!

Icon Generators – Favicons are important in putting your website out there in the market.  That is, you can “brand” your website with favicons, or little icons that appear next to the website’s name on a tab or window.  Icons are important in effective visitor retention, and with Dynamic Drive, you can generate your own icons by converting image files into .ico formats. Alternatively, you can also use Favicon.cc, which allows you to generate your own favicons right from the convenience of an online medium. With this, you can draw your own favicons and preview them as they would look like in a browser. Favicons are your key to retaining your visitors, so make sure to use them wisely.

Color Palette Generator – If you’re looking to match a theme suggested by a client, an image might help you out.  However, if you lack the right graphics software, getting the right colors can be quite difficult.  With this Color Palette Generator, simply link the URL of the image and check out the colors it comes up with.  This can help you create an innovative layout that will reflect the colors present in the image.

Navigation Generators – Effective navigation is an important aspect in web design, but sometimes tedious CSS programming and lack of effective graphics software can hinder web developers from obtaining such fine results.  Generate a variety of menus, tabs, and lists with OverZone CSS Tab Designer, for providing an ordered manner in handling website navigation. You can benefit most from these tools if you’re a beginner or you don’t have enough time to go through complex code.

CSS Type Generators – Being an important component in web design, CSS facilitates everything from modifying HTML tags all the way to typography.  Sometimes coding in everything can be quite tedious or if you’re new at CSS, confusing.  With CSS TypeSet and TypeTester, take it easy and generate CSS code for your website that can save you time and effort, especially if you’re on a tight deadline!

CSS Table and Border Generators – Website tables don’t have to be boring! In fact, with CSS, you can generate your own CSS tables and even supplement sleek CSS borders to add a little flavor. For example, check out Somacon.com for a very dynamic table generator, which can help you produce the table that will fit your requirements, using an interface that is manageable and convenient to use. Also, you can spice up your tables by adding rounded corners. This CSS3 technology is now hitting the mainstream, and you can implement such rounded corners by checking out this generator, aptly named RoundedCorner. CSS is effective in producing tables that are innovative to look at, which will enhance the overall dynamic present in your websites.

GIMP – If you’re looking to utilize the powerful tools present in Adobe Photoshop but you don’t have enough money to afford the program, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a great alternative that you can work with while you’re saving up.  This software is highly powerful, providing you with the chance to design creative layouts for websites.  Check out GIMP for a tool that will bring your web designing career or passion to a whole new level, for free. GIMP is designed as an effective alternative to expensive programs because it has potential features of layers and a lot of effects that you can get for free. Furthermore, GIMP can read almost any Photoshop format, so you can work very effectively using this graphics editing program. In fact, GIMP supports almost 39 image formats, including .png, .gif, .bmp, and many more, which makes the program useful for web-based editing or even photo editing. The advanced functionality of GIMP makes this program notable for being a great Adobe Photoshop or Corel Draw alternative, especially if you are on a tight budget. However, you should consider that GIMP does not have the combined functionality of a workspace, like in Adobe Photoshop. This means that you may navigate through multiple windows if you’re working with a lot of files.  Other than this, GIMP still is a tough contender as a powerful graphics editing program, creating smooth images at high qualities when you need them. With this in mind, give it a try and you can continue designing graphics for websites with relative ease, and to make things better: at no cost at all!

Free Fonts – Have you ever wanted to use specific fonts for your website design but you can’t find any in your computer?  Using diverse fonts can present a creative twist to effective web design, and with free fonts, you can find the best fonts to complement your design.  Explore and realize the potential of creative typography.  Here is a list of some highly popular resources for free fonts:

–        Urban Fonts

–        Search Free Fonts

–        Vital Friedman’s Notebook: 25 Best Free Quality Fonts

–        Smashing Magazines: Top 40 Excellent FreeFronts for Professional Design

In the course of effective web designing, it is important for web designers to consider alternatives to the costly programs that they would otherwise use.  These 7 free tools cater to any web designing need, especially with their availability online at any given point in time.  Web designers can structure their websites effectively with these tools, especially when they want to produce dynamic sites for visitors. Web designers don’t need to wait to purchase expensive software to use the tools they need! Free tools are available right when they need them.

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By Brian Flores

Author on Jaan Kanellis' Search Marketing Blog.