Updated: Jan 26, 2022
Graphic design software is crucial and without the software you’re not going to get anything done. If you’re interested in becoming a graphics designer there are plenty of free tools one could use. Maybe you’re already a seasoned designer but it wouldn’t hurt if you started using some of these free tools.
Plenty of Graphic Design Software to choose from
This blog is mainly aimed at people just starting in the industry and don’t have the knowledge, tools or income to get started, well you’re in luck. Now, remember there are many different tools and software you can use, but I am giving some of the more popular ones which I found to be great.
Canva is a free online graphic-tool, founded in 2012. It has pre-built templates of posters, business cards and even flyers which one can simply choose to base their designs on. Although Canva offers various premium templates there are tonnes of free already made templates where you can input your own copy. It’s also great for inspiration for all those seasoned designers.
You don’t have to use the templates but you could simply drag and drop the text and imagery, another thing that’s great about Canva is that you can import your own imagery as well.
DesignBold is very similar to Canva and if you’re familiar with Canva you shouldn’t have any trouble getting used to DesignBold. DesignBold has a larger photo repository than Canva. If you’re not happy with the photo selection from Canva. Most of these images come with a fee of course.
DesignBold has a free plan, just like Canva, if you would like more features you can always upgrade to a plan to get access to tools like:
Downloading transparent PNG
Custom colour palettes
The ability yo upload custom fonts
20MB upload limit whereas the free plan only has 5MB upload limit.
Logos are key to any business, group or organization’s first impression. This online software is easy to use and it’s use is quite self-explanatory. It has pre-built vectors and art which anyone can easily incorporate into their own logo.
There’s more science and skill to creating good logos, but this tool is great for beginners.
Platforms: Linux, Windows, Mac
This program is a free open-source graphics editor. Many people consider GIMP to be the free alternative to Photoshop, especially for the Linux users. It is a very powerful and easy to learn program used for image retouching, editing and converting between different image formats.
GIMP even has an alternative called GIMPshop, it has the same functionality and features as GIMP but uses a Photoshop-like user interface making it easier for people familiar with Photoshop to use GIMP.
Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8MDmZKk-zI
Platforms: Linux, Window
Creating vector art is a big part of any graphic design and Inkscape does just that. Some people see it as an alternative to Adobe’s Illustrator although Illustrator has far more capabilities. Inkscape can definitely get you started in creating vector graphics and even logos.
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Although Photoshop is not free software, Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) is available for a free 7-day trial. 7 days is a decent time to quickly learn the ropes of Photoshop. Photoshop CC is payable on a monthly basis after the 7 day trial.
Platforms: Linux, Windows, Mac
Blender is an exteremely powerful open source 3D software. It’s popularity in the 3D community is growing year by year. Although this is 3D design and not necessarily considered graphic design by some, you will very possibly be tackled with a problem that can only be solved in 3D. This powerful piece of software can solve that. And needless to say, 3D design skill is a super valuable skill to have.
It’s community is very supportive and Blender gets new updates and better features regularly. Blender also has an amazing learning community.
Google is always creating new innovations and Goolge Fonts is another one of these. It’s a large catalog of free and open source of fonts used by thousands on designers every day. This is a great resource if you’re looking for free fonts that match the fonts you wish to use for your websites or graphics.
This is an online creative community which receives millions of views each month. Behance allows you to showcase your work and create a better reputation for yourself. You will also be able to gain inspiration from this site.
Similar to Behance, Dribbble enables designers to share their work and it also serves as a place to gain inspiration and it’s a great way to promote your own work.
The above mentioned are free stock imagery websites. These sites supply massive content of free, high-definition images one can use for freely for their designs. In Unplash you need to credit the author of the image. But it’s a great place to get professional imagery free of charge. Places like Adobe Stock and Shutterstock have a much higher repository of professional images, but who can say no to free stuff?
These are great sites to get free vector art from. On Freepik you’ll be able to find free PSD files as well as stock imagery.