Pictures make great stories more enticing. We know this intuitively, but there’s plenty of data and analysis from no-name companies like Facebook, to back up the assertion.

So, once you’ve strung your syllables into sibilant sentences about your startup, it’s time to call in the graphic designers and illustrators. Except that you can barely afford to get T-shirts printed up, let alone to hire a full time visual storyteller.

How do you start making visual content on a budget? Don’t fret, we’ve got three freemium tools that will have you making professional-looking content after a quick sign up process.

  1. CanvaCLoikloUYAAxiY0

Canva is one of my favourite tools for social media visuals. Whether it’s infographics, Facebook covers, or just cool images I like to edit, Canva has yet to disappoint. If you look on our social media pages, a lot of those pictures were designed using Canva.

The platform offers a variety of customization features. These include arrows, icons, and some free images to spruce up your visual. In addition, for the base icons and images you can also adjust things like colour, while all images have settings for transparency.

Sitting on $3.6 million of total funding with new services rolling out every couple of months, look for Canva to get even better with time.

What can I say, I’m a fan.

  1. CartoDBstartup_rank_by_sejung_09_11_2015_04_50_28

CartoDB is an interesting one for data nerds. If you have datasets on hand, you can upload them onto the server and they’ll do the rest of the work. As the sample posted suggests, the visuals come out quite nicely. My biggest gripe here is that the colour scale legend is not present in the exports.

The site does the all the work for you placing on the information in the appropriate locations. The placement extends to the cityscapes and regions as well, so the painstaking work is taken care. The colour differentiations are also quite distinctive, making regional distinctions easily seen.

Whether you want to show where your customers are coming from or where your product is being used most, CartoDB has you covered.

Quick FYI, CartoDB raised $23 million in their series B round. So you can expect things are only going to get better from here.

  1. PowToon

I discovered PowToon the other day and I had a bit of fun with it. Obviously the style is very cartoonish and light but it can be dressed up, if you will, to make it work in different ways. Now the videos will have a quick ending animation which can be removed with a fee.

The reason I went with PowToon here is specifically the light-heartedness. If your startup relies on a particularly difficult-to-explain piece of technology, a cartoon like PowToon’s could very easily redefine how people approach your tech.

With these tools you should be able to spruce up your blog, social media, or website with eye-catching images and videos. Think back to your school days and make sure that your pictures liven up that great block of text you got going.