Small businesses and sole proprietors often have budget constraints. Because of this, hiring a full-time graphic designer for producing marketing and advertising materials may not be very cost-effective. Is it still possible to produce decent graphic promotional materials without incurring expensive expenditures? Yes, it is possible.
Here in this article, we will find out how this can be done. This article will present the various low cost alternatives that are available and how can we obtain them. This will enable the budget-conscious to produce his or her own promotional materials inexpensively.
Firstly, we need to know the various marketing and promotional routes that are available. The list below shows some of the more common promotional channels:
1. Large prints or posters
A poster is a large piece of printed paper meant to be pasted on the wall. Posters which may contain both texts and graphics, are designed to be both eye-catching and to convey information.
2. Brochures, flyers and pamphlets
A pamphlet is a little booklet that is without a hard cover. It may consist of a single sheet of paper that is printed on both sides and folded in half or smaller sections.
3. Periodicals or newsletters
A newsletter is a regularly distributed publication.
You know what this is.
Routes 1, 2 and 3 require some sort of printing services. The PDF files is an industrial standard that is used to relay design layout and artwork for professional printing service. In another word, many printing houses and services will gladly accept PDF as an artwork source. Thus, you will need to find a way to output your finished artwork as PDF. Fortunately there are free options out there. Below are two of them:
1. Open Office and Libre Office suite is able to export its documents to PDF outputs. For pamphlet and flyer layout designs, Open Office may be good enough. For those who are not familar with OpenOffice, it is a multilingual office suite that is compatible with most other major office suites. It is also multi-platformed and is free to download, use, and distribute.Additionally, you may wish to do some of the fancier graphics in another program and import them into Open Office Writer as bitmap image files. Openoffice can be downloaded from http://www.openoffice.org.
2. Scribus is another open-source program. It brings award-winning professional page layout capability to Windows, MacOS X and Linux desktops . This can be used to produce base files or artworks for print. Like Openoffice, it also can outputs to PDF. Scribus can be downloaded from http://www.scribus.net.
For more specialised graphic design works, there are many free options as well. The more popular ones are:
1. GIMP or The GNU Image Manipulation Program is a raster graphics editor application for general and web graphic design. This software is the free equivalent to Photoshop, which is one of the most widely accepted graphic and photo editing software in the world. Gimp can be downloaded from http://www.gimp.org.
2. Inkscape is an open-source SVG Compliant Vector Graphics Editor. It has functionality similar to Freehand and Illustrator.
3. Blender3D is a complete application for creation of professional quality three-dimensional graphics. This program is ideal for making rendering such as 3D logos and product packaging. Blender3D can be downloaded from http://www.blender3d.org.
All three programs can produce and export JPEG and other types of bitmap files which can be imported into your preferred desktop publishing program such as Open Office Writer.
Basically, we have covered quite a bit on the more competent free software options. Now, where can we get them? These tools can be downloaded directly from the their homepage.