7 Top Design Tools for Non-Designers, Ranked [Interactive Diagram]

Written by:
Chloe West

design tools - header

While professional designers often lean towards design tools like Adobe Suite, there are non-designers who still need to create beautiful graphics and visual content – marketers, HR and trainers, comm teams, business owners, bloggers, students, educators and more.

This is why design tools like Visme exist – to help empower these individuals to create beautiful content, without needing a college degree’s worth of design skills.

There are several different design tools on the market right now, each with their own strengths, and we wanted to cover the top 7 and how they stack up against each other.

 

Top Design Tools [Interactive Diagram]

We put together this interactive grading diagram based on the features, user satisfaction, robustness and flexibility of all seven platforms to help users make the best design tool choice for them.

Create your own interactive content today!Try It For Free

You can hover over each brand mentioned in the diagram above to see their individual scores. (Best part? This entire grading diagram was made inside Visme.)

We’ve broken the grading system down into the following criteria:

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Flexibility
  • All Format Types
  • Data Visualizations
  • Interactivity
  • Team
  • Branding
  • Imports/Exports
  • Sharing/Publishing

The criteria was found based on our research of the top features that today’s users are looking for. The grading is based on internal investigation and analysis after thoroughly diving into the platforms and searching for each and every feature.

We then compiled our results into a spreadsheet to generate the weighted point system before creating the above diagram in Visme. 

We designed this interactive diagram based on the weighted calculations and applied our interactive rollover effects for viewers to dig in and learn more about how each tool scored.

 

Design Tools Criteria

We wanted to compile as full of an initial look into each of these top design tools as possible, so we put together a list of the top criteria that we know users are looking for in their go-to design tool.

In this section, we’ll walk you through how each criterium was measured and what it was broken down into so that you can get the full scope of what each software offers.

 

Customer Satisfaction

The customer satisfaction data was pulled from Capterra and G2, based on reviews from existing users of each platform mentioned in this grading diagram.

Customer satisfaction was worth 5 points out of the full 16.8 point scale.

 

Flexibility

There are six different things we looked at when it comes to flexibility. These include:

Custom Dimensions

This refers to the ability to change the size and dimensions of the design elements within your project. 

There were two parts to this: first, the fact that elements can be resized, and second, whether they can be resized by typing in custom dimensions or only by dragging the corner of the object. 

Visme offers both; while all of the other tools currently offer the ability to resize an element by dragging the corners.

Media Embedments

We investigated to see which platforms allow media to be embedded within projects created in their software, and the design tools received points based on if this is an included feature.

Content Blocks

Does the tool have premade content blocks that can be added into projects for easy designing? If so, they received points in this category! Additionally, Visme allows users to save their own custom content blocks – a feature you don’t see in other tools. 

Drag and Drop

If the tool features a drag-and-drop interface where the user can drag design elements into the canvas, they received points in this category.

Custom Canvas and Project Sizes

Custom sizes refers to the size of the canvas that a user is working on, and whether users can fully customize their canvas size or only choose from preset sizes.

Color Customization

How much freedom is provided when it comes to colors? This category is based on the full range of color options each tool offers.

 

All Format Types

This category of our grading diagram focused on the format types that can be created within each tool.

The formats we looked at were Presentations, Infographics, Documents, Printables, Web Graphics, Social Graphics, Video and Custom Sizes. 

While tools may offer all format types, users should do their homework and test all appropriate design types they look to work with in the tools. Many of these tools launched first with one format type (like infographics) and expanded in their offering later. 

What you’ll find such tools is that the usability for other other secondary design formats is not as seamless and integrated with the rest of the editing capabilities. 

 

Data Visualizations

Since infographics are a major part of our repertoire here at Visme, data visualization capabilities are important to us, and it turns out that they’re also important to a lot of design software users. 

People want to be able to quickly and easily turn numbers into charts without having to manually measure out each bar chart length or each radial percentage.

This is why we had a whole category dedicated to data visualization features.

We broke this category down into the following criteria:

Number of Charts/Graphs

Obviously, the larger variety of charts and graphs that can be created, the better. Here at Visme, users can create more than 30 different types of charts and graphs. 

Data Widgets

While things like bar charts and pie charts are considered to be under the Charts and Graphs section, things like pictograms and radials are what we call data widgets. 

Progress bars, hourglass visualizations, thermometer charts and other data visualizations like this are included within this category, as they extend further than simple charts and graphs. And in Visme, many of them come into the project with animations!

turn boring numbers into beautiful data with visme

Import From Excel or CSV Files

Not everyone wants to type or paste their data right into the data visualization tool. This criterium focuses on whether a software allows users to import premade XLSX or CSV spreadsheets full of data, which makes the creator’s life much easier.

Integrate With Live Data

Google Sheets gives users the ability to publicly publish a spreadsheet, then some design tools allow users to connect those live spreadsheets to charts and graphs in their projects to create live and dynamic dashboards that update your visualizations in real time.

Animated

Who wants a boring, static chart sitting on their presentation screen or social media post? This factors in animation abilities that are available within various platforms’ data viz tools.

Interactive

Another major element that sets data visualization apart is interactivity. This includes features like having data appear when you hover over pieces of a chart, creating pop-ups in your chart and more.

Embed Tableau

Many large companies use Tableau to create in-depth visualizations, but want to include them in other presentations and projects.

This criterium focuses on whether or not the platform includes a Tableau embed option.

Interactive Maps

Maps are another great way to showcase data, especially when pertaining to geographical areas. We determined which design tools in our list include the feature to create and share interactive maps with user audiences.

 

Interactivity

We mentioned some facets of interactivity when talking about data visualization, but this category dives into various interactive elements throughout all projects, and whether or not they’re available within the design tools mentioned.

Pop-Up

Creating pop-ups means objects within a project can be linked so that something pops up when a specified object is clicked.

Rollovers and Hotspots

Rollover is similar, except something appears when a specified object is rolled or hovered over with your mouse.

This is exactly how our interactive grading diagram (which, remember, was made right in Visme) was created.

Jump to Links

This will most likely be used within presentations, and it’s how non-linear presentations are created. You can internally link slides to from one to another so that you can jump around based on your preferred format, rather than going in order.

Additionally, Visme allows you to set conditions when viewers jump to a slide. For example, in Visme you can set it so that on your click, the presentation will jump to a specific slide and even a specific timestamp on that slide to play or stop. 

Video Playback

This means videos can be embedded and played right inside of a project created in the design tool.

Audio Playback

Similarly, audio playback refers to audio clips being embedded and played inside of a project. (And with Visme, you can even record your own audio right in the editor.)

 

Team

Designing content is great for you, but it’s always better with your team. Companies and teams that are using these design tools need easy ways to work and collaborate on designs and projects together.

This is why we took a look at each platform’s team features, and how easy it is to create things together.

Editable Seats

If you often have seasonal projects and/or contractors assisting your team for short periods of time, you might need the flexibility to change seats and roles within your design tools. Points are allotted here for platforms that offer this feature.

Permissions

This pertains to the ability to adjust the permissions of various users on your team and what they have access to in the platform within your team landscape. 

For example, in Visme’s dashboard, Admins can do everything, Marketing Managers and Designers are given access to the Brand Area and Slide Library. 

Projects and folders created within the Team Plan can then be shared with users of permissions or user groups to allow for systemic, organized projects sharing and workflow.

Custom User Roles

While some plans have standard permissions that can be set, some design tools have larger plans that allow users to completely override the default permissions to create custom user roles.

These can be used to create custom regional groups, organizational division user groups and the like.

Collaboration

How easy is it to collaborate with users? This includes features like project sharing, annotated comments, markup editing and more.

Single Sign On / Two-Factor Authentication

If a platform offers either of these security/efficiency sign-on options, they got points in this area.

 

Branding

So you want your designs to match your brand. That’s fair enough. But not all design tools make it easy to do so.

We awarded points based on the following criteria in this category.

Fonts

Can you upload your own fonts? While many design tools offer a number of fonts already, most brands use very specific fonts for their materials. You want to be able to access those for your designs.

If the ability to upload brand fonts is included, the platform got awarded points.

Colors

Same goes with colors. You want your branded materials to match your company colors exactly. The platforms that allow you to input your specific brand colors’ hex codes received points here.

Theme Colors

Theme colors make it easy to change the colors of your entire project with just one click. If you set up a color theme, you can click it and your entire design will change according to the theme you set.

Brand Templates

If a platform allows you to save your customized templates in your dashboard to refer to again and again, they received points in this subcategory. 

This is another great way for organizations to further manage their brand by offering fully designed brand templates for their team of users.

Logos

In Visme, we have a logo upload area in our Brand Kit to display your logo on your published/shared designs. If a design tool had something similar, they received points in this area. 

Branding Restrictions

Branding restrictions means that admins can turn off the tool’s default fonts and disable their team's capabilities in selecting colors outside of their brand colors. They can also restrict use of any template outside of their brand templates.

This is helpful to ensure that all creators within a team are using the same, specific branding guidelines across the board.

Custom Domain

Are you able to create a custom subdomain to host your own content? If so, that design tool was allotted points here.

Custom Roles

Again, this refers to various people on a team being able to access branding changes, while others can only access the brand guidelines within the editor.

 

Imports/Exports

The design tools received points based on how many import/export formats are supported within the platform. The formats included in the grading were: JPG/PNG, PDF, HTML5, PPTX (editable), Video and GIF.

spice up your boring PowerPoints with Visme

 

Sharing/Publishing

Of course, sharing and publishing is an incredibly important aspect of any good design tool. 

You’ve created these stunning designs for your company, and now you want to share them with the world, whether it’s in a blog post or as part of a marketing campaign.

We included the following sharing/publishing capabilities in the grading diagram:

Public

Users are able to publicly host their designs with that tool and share a live link with their audience. These published projects will also be discoverable by search engines.

Private

Users can also create privately hosted designs that only people of their choosing can see.

Password Protected

Users can password protect privately published projects as an extra layer of privacy. Passwords can be shared along with the privately published content to recipients for that extra bump in security of important information.

Lead Generation

Users can require a name, email address and company name to sign up before being able to access the content.

For example, turn your presentation or document into a white paper and require users to fill out a short form to collect data for lead generation.

Embedding

Users can grab an embed code to their content and place it in their website, whether on a blog post or landing page. Also great for company intranets.

Analytics

Users are able to see how many people have viewed their projects and for how long.

Below, we rank each tool in order of highest points to lowest points and cover how they fell when it comes to each of these included features. Learn more about why each tool ranks the way they did and what they bring to the table.

 

1 Visme

Visme is our powerful, all-in-one content creation tool that allows you to create any type of visual content and share it with your team, audience, classroom and more.

Based on our grading diagram, Visme scored a 15.6 out of the highest possible 16.8 points.

design tools - visme's score

This is because Visme offers nearly every single one of the features listed within this grading diagram. Whether it’s branding guidelines, powerful data visualizations, team collaboration or flexibility, Visme has it all.

Check out Visme in action:

Create your own stunning designs today!Try It For Free

2 Canva

Canva is another popular design tool, ranking second in our grading diagram with 11.4 out of 16.8 points.

design tools - canva's score

This is mainly due to their variety of format types, flexibility and import/export types. However, the platform is seriously lacking when it comes to data visualization, interactivity and branding guidelines.

While Canva is a popular design tool, its features simply aren’t as robust as Visme’s features, and users are limited to what they’re able to do.

 

3 Piktochart

Piktochart placed third in our rankings, just behind Canva with 11.2 out of 16.8 possible points.

design tools - piktochart's score

As an infographic tool, Piktochart’s data visualization options are much improved over Canva’s, but along with their format types, export and sharing options, and flexibility, they still don’t quite stand up to Visme.

Only offering JPG, PNG and PDF export formats, the limits of what you can create and share in Piktochart leaves users suffering gaps in how they can get their content/designs to their audiences.

 

4 Infogram

Next in our list, Infogram tied with Piktochart, scoring an 11.2 out of 16.8.

design tools - infogram's score

Infogram certainly offers more export formats and their branding capabilities are better than Piktochart’s. However, they are very closely aligned when it comes to their team collaboration, data visualizations and flexibility.

Compared to Visme, Infogram doesn’t have nearly the amount of flexibility, format types or interactivity elements that users can take advantage of with our tool.

 

5 Venngage

Fifth in our list is Venngage, garnering 10.0 points out of a total 16.8.

design tools - venngage's score

Venngage’s low rank comes mostly from their lack of import/export formats, format types that can be created, flexibility and interactivity features.

What started out as an infographic tool, Venngage slowly started to add more format types without changing the usability of their platform. In short, it’s hard to create a presentation or marketing graphic with a tool that’s meant for infographics.

 

6 Prezi

Presentation tool Prezi scored a 9.8 out of 16.8 in our grading diagram.

design tools - prezi's score

Though Prezi has been around for a while now, its biggest fallback is that only two format types can be created with their design tool – presentations and videos.

They’re also lacking in their data visualization features, branding guidelines and flexibility. However, they do have several sharing/publishing options available at the end.

When it comes to Visme, you’re still given the ability to create non-linear presentations, but you have so many more robust features and options for content creation, including much more visually appealing templates and slides.

 

7 Beautiful.ai

In last place, we have Beautiful.ai, with 7.8 points out of 16.8.

design tools - beautiful.ai's score

While Beautiful.ai is a simple and easy to use presentation tool in its own right, this is because it has created major limitations to customization within its platform.

Users can only create presentations with this design tool. Its flexibility functionality is little to none, as users can choose preset slides to add to their presentation, customizing only the slide theme, colors, fonts and slide content.

There are very few data visualization tools, and their team collaboration options are limited as well.

With Visme, users are able to create stunning presentations by choosing slides from a premade slide library and having full customization options, alongside data visualization tools, tons of fonts and color themes, and more available.

 

Choose Your Design Tool

Which design tool seems right for you? We hope you’ll give us a try here at Visme and give our high-ranking graphic design tool a test run on your own. Sign up for a free account to see what Visme can do for you and your team.

SPEAK LOUDLY. SPEAK VISUALLY.

65% of the population are visual learners

Create, share and download beautiful visuals with the world’s most versatile and powerful visual communication tool.

Create Your Design. Sign Up Free
 
We’re stingy and don’t share emails with anyone.

About the Author

Chloe West is the content marketing manager at Visme. Her experience in digital marketing includes everything from social media, blogging, email marketing to graphic design, strategy creation and implementation, and more. During her spare time, she enjoys exploring her home city of Charleston with her son.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Access Free Design Assets

Want to create visual content that rises above the noise? Start creating engaging content within minutes with our easy drag-and-drop software. Access 100+ beautiful templates, 100+ free fonts and millions of images and icons right now.

Get our 125-page guide to creating visual slides with impactDownload for Free
Get our 125-page guide to creating visual slides with impactDownload for Free