One of the most common excuses I hear from people who are thinking about launching a store, but don’t – is that it’s expensive. That’s true, but not in the way that they think.
The real expense is time. You do have to put in some hours to make sure that you set things up correctly, and can actually make money. But the pieces that make up your store, your lumber, windows, and concrete – this stuff is so close to free that it’s silly.
Over the next several weeks, I’m going to revisit this subject, each time focusing in a a particular aspect of building and running an ecommerce business.
In this post, I’m going to share some of my favorite free graphics tools, tell you how to get them, and why they rock.
Hey check out this awesome logo! Guess what? You don’t need one!
Believe it or not, my own website logos – with a single exception – are simply text, with minor modifications. Logos are like most things we worry about – we think about them a lot more than other people do.
It’s easy to spend a lot more time and/or money on a logo than you really need to. I’m not saying you should just type out some text and use that, but you can put together something nice in just a few minutes without spending a cent.
First up on the list is Cooltext.
Don’t let the cheesy logos up there fool you. You can start with one of their logos and then make it your own:
- Select your own font
- Change color
- Change shadowing
- Select a color transition
- Select size
- Much, much more
The biggest issue with Cooltext is that it can be a time-suck. You’ll be surprised how much fun it is to twist and tweak every aspect of your logo until it’s just so.
Depending on what you’re selling, you may even be able to use their logo as is. We have a site where we sell women’s products, and the logo is the website name using the gold trim logo above. It works perfectly.
One one if our Industrial Sites, we downloaded the text as an image, and paired that up with a free icon. It looks really custom, and it didn’t cost a scent. And speaking of icons…
Take a look at Icons8.com
Nearly 30,000 icons in multiple styles, with the ability to change line with, color and more. I’ve never gone there an NOT found what I needed. The intuitive design makes it a snap find and customize what you need.
Tip: When you’re ready to download your icon, select custom size and type in 200 pixels. This is the largest size they’ll let you have for free.
Next up is the free logo maker from Shopify:
It couldn’t possibly be any easier to use. Simply type in your business name, select an icon, color and few other settings – then download your logo.
OK, you’ve got a logo – what about all of the other images you’ll need for your store?
I’m not talking about stock photos – Free stock photo sites are a dime a dozen. That’s nice and all, but how many images of a man smiling at a lake do you need? For your store, you’ll need a few other specialty images, like these:
You can snag full sets of each of the images above, free of charge at Monster Small Business.
When you click though, you’ll see that the site looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2003, but OK – there’s nothing wrong with the graphics. They’re only 180 pixels, but that can be perfect for a cart page or a footer.
More shopping cart graphics sets from Tips and Tricks HQ
If you’re using WordPress to build your store, you’ll want to take a look at the Projects tab in his top navigation. The eStore plugin may not be as widely used or as fancy as WooCommerce, but it’s rock solid. I had two stores using it for over five years without a single hiccup.
In fact, it’s the shopping cart solution I used when I wrote The Grabapple Guide to Ecommerce, and built the book’s companion website.
There will come a time when you’ll have to do some editing – there’s apps for that
And that will be the subject of the next article in this series. There’s really an embarrassment of riches in that space, so I’ll point out which ones are worth your time.
If you have any favorite free graphics source or tools, please leave me a comment. I always like to know what my readers are up to.