September 30, 2022

Top Design Software for Founders to Get Started

15 tools every founder or marketer need to be able to take his/her idea from nothing to fully built out websites, ad campaigns, and graphics without a designer or developer.


You’re starting your new project. 

A company, a personal brand, or an internal initiative.

BUT, you’re not a designer or developer and don’t have the budget to hire them. However, you DO need to:

  • Build a basic landing page to begin testing your idea
  • Create some ads to drive traffic to your idea 
  • Or just put together a basic website

What are you supposed to do without professional talent?

Over the past 5 years, we’ve helped companies like Logitech, Asana, Amazon, and so many more with their designs. 

And we’ve used every tool under the sun. 

Below is a list of the only tools you’ll need to bring your idea to life without being a designer or developer. 

Tools to Help You Start Brainstorming & Get Inspired 

Sometimes the hardest part about getting started with a landing page, an ad idea, or a website is actually knowing what you want to make. 

It’s like staring at a blank canvas before starting an art project. Just a whole lot of intimidating nothingness. 

But don’t worry, we know exactly how to get rid of that feeling. 


You need to start by getting inspired.

Ad Creative

If you’re trying to figure out an ad creative idea, there’s no better place than the Facebook Ads Library. Pick a brand or competitor who you know has had success and learn directly from them. 

A few examples:


If you’re trying to get inspired for a website design, check out  Awwwards or Brutalist Websites

They have a bit of everything and more than enough for you to begin thinking about how you’d like to structure your own site. 


Just go to Really Good Emails and filter by keyword or category. They’ll do the rest. 

A few examples:

Color Palette

For those of us who don’t have a natural eye for aesthetics, Coolors is a lifesaver.

Easy enough right? 

Now, you have your inspirations and maybe even a moodboard, but where do you get the raw resources to get going? 

Some Places for Raw Resources

Two things that make every project more professional: iconography and photography. 

Free Icons - Noun Project 

The Noun Project gives you access to hundreds of thousands of professionally designed icons. They’re all free to download and come in all file types (just make sure to properly credit the creators). 

High quality iconography elevates all designs, whether it’s apps, websites, or marketing material. 

High-Quality Photography - Unsplash & Pexels

These sites are perfect for getting high quality stock photography. They’re entirely free to use and can be modified however you’d like. 

BONUS: Illustrations - unDraw

Illustrations are an excellent way to diversify your designs. unDraw has a whole library of free to download illustrations that you can adjust to spice up your content.

With inspo in hand and the raw resources for some high quality designs, let’s talk about tools to actually do the designing. 

Graphic Design for the Masses 

While we all wish we knew how to use software like Photoshop or Illustrator to make beautiful graphic design, most of us don’t have the time or inclination to learn them. 

Thank god for Canva, with free print and web designs that you can use for things ranging from banners, to ads, to blog cover images. On top of that, they have templates for absolutely everything to give you somewhere to start. 

A true lifesaver. If you use any recommendations from this list, we’d say this is the one. 

From there, you’ll most likely want to start targeting customers with landing pages…

Building Quick Landing Pages That Work 

Both Unbounce & Instapage are phenomenal resources to build landing pages that are quick, easy to put together, and already optimized. 

They both also have a deep bench of examples and content focused around helping you make more effective landing pages. 

Also, if you haven’t built your website just yet, we’d definitely recommend at least getting started with one of these tools to get a landing page up! A landing page is a great way to direct traffic and market your product without having to build out too much content.

And if you want to get more hands-on with your DIY and build a whole website, we have the best recs for that as well.

Building A Website 

There are a million and one website builders out in the world. Here, we’re just going to give you the ones we’ve personally tried and loved. 

We’ve organized them below by persona. You decide which one fits you best.  

Wix - For someone who wants the simplest possible process for getting a full site up. It has all the relevant tools and is by far the easiest for upkeep. 

Webflow - For those who want the power of a custom site without having to do any coding. However, the deep level of customizability comes with a bit of a learning curve. Thankfully, Webflow has a pretty deep library of how-to content, as well as a super active community forum. 

Cargo Collective / ReadyMag - For our designers who want to REALLY be able to showcase their creativity without the need for code. 


While these tools are definitely not exhaustive, they’re everything you need to get started on a project without a designer or developer on hand. 

Let us know if you know of any other software that should be added to the list! We’re always looking to add to our tool belt.

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