Design in the Time of COVID-19

Ben Moss.
April 01, 2020
Design in the Time of COVID-19.
It’s April Fools’ Day, and each year on the 1st of April we normally join the rest of the world in posting a humorous, and entirely fictitious story. But this year, we decided to go a different way. These aren’t normal times. Around the world, millions of people are struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. Many people have lost family members, and many more are struggling to support themselves and their families. For too many of us, the future feels uncertain. If we’ve learnt one thing in the last few months, it’s that the design community is at its best when we support each other. And so for today’s post we wanted to give a shout out, and a heartfelt “thank you” to all those companies going out of their way to support our readers. (Laughter is a great medicine, so if you were looking forwards to another April Fools’ prank, you’ll find a few of our most popular from the last few years here: Domain Shakeup, The Web That Time Forgot, and Google Makes Material Design Compulsory.) Here’s a list (in alphabetical order) of the industry leaders putting our community before their profits:


Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud products focus their support on students and Enterprise-level customers affected by the coronavirus:
  • Students using Creative Cloud with in-classroom licences now have personal in-home licenses instead;
  • Web-based PDF services are free until 31st May 2020;
  • Team and Enterprise customers on the VIP plan have an extra 60 days to renew;
  • Additional license charges for Enterprise Term License Agreement customers eliminated for 60 days;
  • Adobe Summit has gone fully digital.
Read Adobe’s COVID-19 statement.


Affinity — makers of Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Publisher — has introduced three measures to support designers of all levels:
  • Free trials of the Affinity suite of products (for Mac and Windows) have been extended from 30 days to 3 months;
  • Anyone who wants to buy a license for any Affinity product (for Mac, Windows, and iPad) will receive a 50% discount off the normal price;
  • Affinity have also pledged to spend the equivalent of their entire 2020 commissioning budget in the next 3 months, engaging 100+ freelance creatives.
We know we’re not saving the world, but we hope these measures can at least provide some form of relief to those who need it. We’ll pull through this together…
Read more from Affinity.


Apple is probably the largest single technology firm in the design space and has announced several measures to combat COVID-19 in the US, and around the world.
  • Apple will match employee donations two-to-one to COVID-19 response efforts;
  • All hourly workers will continue to be paid in alignment with normal business operations;
  • WDC will be entirely digital this year;
  • Trial versions of Final Cur Pro X and Logic Pro X have been extended to 90 days.
The entire Apple family is indebted to the heroic first responders, doctors, nurses, researchers, public health experts and public servants globally who have given every ounce of their spirit to help the world meet this moment.
Read Apple’s statement.


This is a bit of a niche offer, but may be perfect for someone. If your team is a non-profit engaged in medical research or disaster response, specifically related to the coronavirus outbreak, Asana will give you 12 months of their Business subscription free of charge. Apply for your free Asana license.


Bannersnack is an online banner maker; cloud-based, you can design responsive and animated banners in your browser, no matter where you, or your team, are working from. Bannersnack is offering 90 days of its Team plan for free to any nonprofit organization that’s fighting COVID-19. Get your free Bannersnack Team plan.


Codecademy is a leading provider of online web and mobile development courses. To support students who are unable to access their regular learning resources, Codecademy is offering 10,000 free memberships of Codecademy Pro for high school and college students anywhere in the world, for the rest of the school year. Join Codecademy Pro.


Coursera is an online learning platform that partners with major institutions, including Ivy League schools. Coursera is offering free Coursera for Campus access to any college or University affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Students need to be registered by their learning institution and will need to complete online courses by September 30th. Learn more about Coursera’s offer.


Cloudflare offers a range of different solutions for keeping remote teams connected. Cloudflare for Teams allows your team to work securely on your remote-access applications, and access company data, without fear of exposing anything sensitive to prying eyes. Cloudflare for Teams is offered for free, to organizations of any size, at no cost until September 1st, and they’re throwing in an optional 30 minutes onboarding session with one of their experts to get you up and running.
Originally conceived as a communications network for humanity during a crisis…in this moment, [the Internet]’s being put to use for that original purpose.
Schedule a free Cloudflare onboarding session.


GoToMeeting is a collaboration platform for remote meetings. It’s great for touching base with clients quickly and easily. GoToMeeting have put together an Emergency Remote Work Kit with four tools to ease your move into remote work. They’re free for 3 months for eligible healthcare providers, educational institutions, municipalities, and non-profits, as well as current LogMeIn customers. Get your Emergency Remote Work Kit.


Jamm is a lightweight voice and video collaboration app to help teams collaborate, and bond. It is offering 4 months for free to support teams remote working during the coronavius outbreak. Sign up for 4 months of Jamm free.


If you’re a US-based business that is being forced to vacate its premises leaving valuable equipment inside, or if you’re working from home with valuable equipment that’s normally protected by business insurance, then security will be high on your list of priorities. In partnership with Staples, Kangaroo has launched a small business initiative to supply a security kit, including a camera, and professional monitoring (and free inbound and outbound shipping) for 3 months.
This small but hopefully meaningful gesture is entirely consistent with our mission to make security accessible to everyone. Thanks for making our communities great, and here’s to getting through this together.
Learn more about Kangaroo’s offer.


Loom is a time-saving app for communicating visually. You can record yourself, as well as your screen, and share the video in seconds. It’s excellent for remote design reviews. It has implemented several measures to help teams adjusting to the current work situation:
  • The number of recordings on free plans, normally limited to 25, is now unlimited until July 1st 2020;
  • Monthly subscriptions have been reduced by 50% until July 1st, 2020;
  • Trials have been extended from 14 days to 30 days, again, until July 1st;
  • Loom Pro is now free, forever, for education.
Our hope is that by stepping up, we’re making a dent in the global impact this pandemic is causing, not just by making our product more accessible, but by helping set the kind of example we hope more businesses will follow.
Read Loom’s statement.


Microsoft is make Teams — part of Office 365 — free for everyone for six months to help your team keep working during the COVID-19 outbreak.
By making Teams available to as many people as possible, we aim to support public health and safety by keeping teams connected while they work apart.
Read more from Microsoft.


Nailted is a product for remote teams that helps you maintain a supportive and growth-orientated workforce through feedback, helping you take care of your most important assets, your colleagues. During the coronavirus crisis Nailted is offering its product free of charge. Create a Nailted account.


Pluralsight is a huge online learning platform and it is offering free access to its Recorded Technology Conferences, which show pre-recorded content from technology conferences and events around the globe.
  • Conference content will be available free of charge to anyone until July 1st 2020;
  • Any tech conference or event can host its content with Pluralsight free of charge until July 1st;
  • Singularity University’s live streamed event “COVID-19: The State & Future of Pandemics” will be hosted on the platform;
  • Pluralsight’s own LIVE Europe conference will be free to access.
More details on Pluralsight’s content.

Professional Photographers of America

The PPA (Professional Photographers of America) has made its 1100+ online classes freely available for the next few weeks.
Times are tough - we need to be at our best. More kindness. More patience. More giving.
Access PPA’s education resources here.

Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow for Teams is a question and answer space for companies to share knowledge within their team. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak Stack Overflow for Teams will be free until June 30th 2020.
We want to help everyone better collaborate and share information as we navigate remote work during these uncertain times.
Get started with Stack Overflow for Teams.


WeFunder has launched a Fight the Virus Challenge with grants of up to $1m for startups tackling the coronavirus crisis. If you’re working on a project that could help — from remote education tools, to protective clothing, to small business support, and anything at all that helps combat COVID-19 — you have until April 3rd 2020 to apply.
In times of great need, the next generation of great startups is born.
Apply to the Fight the Virus Challenge.

& The Rest

These are all generous offers from companies that want to make a difference to the world we live in. But don’t forget that there are thousands of free and open source projects that are available for free 24/7 365; they deserve support too. Stay safe everyone. Stay home, flatten the curve. We will, eventually, come out the other side of this. If you know of an organization that is offering its goods and/or services free of charge, or at reduced cost, to support the design community during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, please let us know and we’ll add it to this collection.

Ben Moss

Ben Moss has designed and coded work for award-winning startups, and global names including IBM, UBS, and the FBI. When he’s not in front of a screen he’s probably out trail-running.

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