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What’s Hot & Cool? #16: Do-It-Yourself Design

Founders need to look sharp. DIY design is one way to plump up those visuals on a budget.

What’s happening? Instead of hiring web developers and Photoshop specialists, organizations and independents are turning to easy-to-use apps and sites that allow for editing and design without the hassle and money. For example, anyone today can watch a tutorial and make interactive maps on applications like CartoDB rather than ArcGIS, and in lieu of InDesign and Photoshop, there are many photo editing apps out there (we use Canva!).

Why should you care? As a business owner, it’s important to know when to hire, who to hire and where to cut costs. Knowing the tools to make your job easier is always a plus.

Who’s leading? Melanie Perkins founded Australian startup Canva in 2013 with goals to make graphic design easier to learn and use. The company went from 1.5 billion users to 10 billion and currently has over 50,000 clients. Canva has since raised over $45M in seed funding and now values at over $458M, according to Business Insider. Talk about success! Her advice? Start out niche (Perkins began by creating user friendly design tools for yearbooks before expanding) and realize that overnight success is a myth for most of us. “I’ve never met a start-up that’s had overnight success,” Perkins told The Huffington Post Australia. “It was three years between meeting our first investor and actually landing investment. We launched in 2013.”

What can you do?  Don’t be fooled. You may not be able to do everything yourself, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Lots of small business owners still need design advice and expertise from those who know it best. Consider connecting with experts online on sites like this one. If you are a graphic or web designer yourself, stay up-to-date on the latest tools out there and make sure to develop skills that differentiate you from the machine.

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