Here is our list of must-have tools and resources for graphic designers.

We use these exact tools here at Aventive Academy, so we fully recommend them and know they can help your business too.


When your design business is structured and organized, you can focus on creating incredible work for your clients, doing what you love, and making more money!



Adobe has solutions to all of your creative needs, from Lightroom (photography) to Photoshop (image editing) to Stock (stock images) to Premiere Pro (video editing) and more. If you want to grow your skills, Adobe also includes tutorials to help you.


Trello is the secret ingredient to keeping your graphic design business organized and on track. We use Trello to manage our content strategy, day-to-day tasks, client deadlines, internal assignments – everything!



Kiss the days of “does this email have too many attachments?” goodbye. With WeTransfer, you can share your files with clients and contractors around the world at no cost. It’s easy to use and generates a simple link that leads to your files.

10 Steps to Become a Successful Freelance Designer – Free Cheat Sheet

If you’re new to the world of freelancing, start here with our free cheat sheet. We cover the 10 core things you need to know when starting your graphic design business so you can focus, execute, and see results without getting overwhelmed.



Speaking of websites… while we know there are a lot of website providers out there, WordPress is the best option for graphic designers who want to grow your SEO. There are endless varieties of plugins and themes to help your WordPress site stand out.


Wondering how to organize “the business side” of your business? FreshBooks is the best tool we have found for making invoices, getting paid, generating income reports, tracking receipts, and handling your business finances.


Creative Market

This is your one-stop design shop for WordPress themes, Instagram story templates, fonts, graphics, e-book designs, and more design elements to build your visual brand. The items on Creative Market are fresh and updated constantly.


If you’re just starting your email list and don’t need extra features, Mailchimp is a great user-friendly option. You can use a free account until you exceed 2,000 contacts, and the paid plans have additional functionalities.



Once Aventive Academy grew, we switched from Mailchimp to ConvertKit for our email marketing. We love ConvertKit’s inline forms, detailed rules and tagging options, and advanced sequence-building features.


Don’t waste another moment forgetting passwords, proving you’re not a robot, or answering security questions. LastPass saves your passwords and credit card information so you can log into sites automatically and securely.



We have saved at least hundreds of hours of time using Buffer. Buffer is a social media scheduling tool that helps you create content in batches and schedule posts ahead of time so you can move on with your day.


Once your business starts growing and you have a team working for you, Slack is a simple and fun way to communicate. We use Slack for chat-like messages that don’t need to be tracked in Trello but don’t need to be an email either.


Aventive Academy Facebook Community

You could have all the tools in the world, but without a supportive community to help you through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, you’ll miss out on all the fun! Join us in our free Facebook group of motivated women graphic designers.

Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business

This gorgeously-designed book is written for and by creative freelancers. It’s filled with practical advice and fascinating interviews with creatives from a variety of fields.


BrandFix: A Brand Strategy Guide for Busy Entrepreneurs

As a creative business owner, you will end up developing a reputation – and ultimately a brand. Our founder Kady Sandel wrote this book for businesses of all sizes who want to build memorable brands that attract more clients.

9 Simple Ways to Grow Your Graphic Design Business

We made this free downloadable guide for graphic designers who have gotten their first few clients and are ready to grow, focus, and make more money. These 9 real-life tips will help you attract more clients with ease!


20+ Instagram Post Ideas for Designers

Have you ever wondered how to use Instagram to help you land graphic design clients? Do you sit and think “Hmm what should I write about today…” before each post? This free resource gives you over 20 post ideas to revive your creativity and attract the right followers to your account!