Graphic design is a professional discipline that focuses on visual communication in its simplest form. Graphic designers are critical thinkers and problem-solvers combining artistic and technical skills to choose, place and arrange words and imagery to create visual representations of ideas and messages. Designers focus primarily on print media such as brochures, promotional posters, publication design for books and magazines, logos, branding and more. Graphic design skills are use in, but not limited to, corporate identity design, web site design, publication design, motion graphic design, advertising design and product packaging. Using industry standard software, you can develop technical skills to create meaningful and creative designs that visually communicate to a target audience.
We have compiled this list of the very best free graphic design software available to download or use in your browser right now.
Not everyone has the spare cash to spend kitting themselves out with the most expensive graphic design software, particularly when starting a new business or embarking on a new career in design. Fortunately, there is a whole heap of great free graphic design software out there to get creatives started.
To help separate the wheat from the chaff, we’ve compiled this list and divided it into five sections: vector editing, image editing, 3D, infographics, and other useful tools. Thinking about getting a subscription with Adobe instead?
Although SVG-Edit is limited to the SVG format it’s surprisingly capable for free graphic design software
If you’re looking to quickly output SVG, or edit an existing SVG file, there are a few online editors that will do the job just as well as Adobe Illustrator. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an open format that allows you to reproduce your Vector drawings programmatically, and one of the nicest projects is SVG-Edit.
The standard, albeit basic, toolset of every vector-image editor is here, and although it’s limited to the SVG format it’s surprisingly capable.
Free graphic design software Inkscape has very good SVG integration and supports a number of advanced features
As with many of the free options available, Inkscape focuses on the SVG format as its primary file format. This highly capable editor has a very good SVG integration, supporting many of the more advanced features that aren’t always available in other apps – such as alpha blending, cloned objects, and markers.
Full support for different colour modes means this is a viable alternative to Illustrator for both print and web design, and although the interface is somewhat simpler than Illustrator, it’s still possible to achieve extremely sophisticated artwork. Of particular note is the ability to trace bitmap images, support for variable width strokes and native import of Illustrator files.
There are source binaries available for Windows, Linux, and Mac, and compiled versions currently offered for Windows and Linux.
DrawPlus isn’t really intended for professionals, but it’s got some impressive feature considering it is free graphic design software
Although at first sight you might think DrawPlus isn’t really intended as an app for professionals, it’s actually surprisingly capable, and as it’s offered in a free version it muscled its way into our list of free graphic design software. DrawPlus is designed to be intuitive in use, and has a wide range of tools that mirror functionality in Illustrator, but in a more approachable manner.
There are also some nice extra features that are actually implemented in a more user-friendly way than Adobe’s software – 3D being a prime example, where you can quickly make an object 3D via extrusion, apply a wide range of 3D styles or draw your own bevel profile that’s instantly applied to your object. Similarly there’s a collection of brushes and pre-defined templates to get you started working quickly.
The app works happily in CMYK, allowing you to easily output print-ready artwork and it’s also capable of working with Pantone colour profiles.
Free graphic design software Pixlr comes with more than 600 effects
Pixlr claims to be “the most popular online photo editor in the world”, which may have something to do with the fact that it’s free graphic design software.
But it also boasts more than 600 effects, overlays, and borders and lets you do all the main things you’d expect from a photo editor, from cropping and re-sizing to removing red-eye and whitening teeth.
And if you’re used to using Photoshop, then you’ll find Pixlr’s user interface easy to pick up quickly, as it’s very similar. This free app is available in both iOS and Android varieties.
For photo editing, free graphic design software Paint.net is an excellent alternative to Photoshop
Paint.net is a Windows-based alternative to the Paint editor that Microsoft shipped with versions of Windows. Don’t let that put you off, though, as it’s surprisingly capable, useful and free graphic design software.
The focus is on ease of use, and there’s a definite tendancy towards photo editing rather than artistic creation. That said, there are a range of special effects available, allowing you to easily create fake perspective, blend and push pixels around the canvas, tile and repeat selections, and so on.
A good range of selection tools, support for layers, and adjustments such as curves and brightness/contrast mean thatPaint.net is a great alternative to Photoshop for photo editing, especially if you can do without some of the more recent additions to Photoshop’s toolset.
Free graphic design software Sumopaint works in the browser, and requires Adobe Flash to use
Sumopaint is a highly capable browser-based image editor. All the standard features you’d expect from a desktop tool are present and correct (and by buying the Pro version for $19 you can install a desktop version of the app if you prefer).
You need the Adobe Flash Player to use this tool, so you’re not going be using Sumopaint on your iPad. That said, it’s lightweight and quick to load, and the free version is very usable.
The standard range of tools and adjustments you’d expect are all included. Brushes, pencils, shapes, text, cloning, gradients, etc are all quickly accessed from the Photoshop-esque floating toolbar. It can also open saved documents from your hard drive, making Sumopaint a perfectly viable option for editing and reediting.
GIMP is a popular, free graphic design software alternative to Photoshop
Open-source free graphic design software that debuted on Unix-based platforms, GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. Today it’s available in versions for Linux, Windows, and Mac.
GIMP’s interface differs somewhat from Photoshop, but a version of GIMP is available that mimics Adobe’s look and feel, making it easier to migrate over if you’re ditching Photoshop. The full suite of tools is available here – everything you’re accustomed to is within easy reach, including painting tools, colour correction, cloning, selection, and enhancement.
The team that oversees development has worked hard to ensure compatibility too, so you’ll be able to work with all the popular file formats without any trouble at all. You’ll also find a very capable file manager built in, along similar lines to Adobe’s Bridge.
Normally retailing at $249, 3D software Daz Studio is currently available to download completely free of charge
Daz Studio is a 3D figure customisation, posing and animation tool that enables artists of all skill levels to creating digital art using virtual people, animals, props, vehicles, accessories and environments.
With Daz Studio, you can create custom 3D characters and avatars, design virtual environments, produce graphic design elements and much more. The latest version of Daz Studio 4.5 normally retails at $249 but is currently available to download free of charge.
Master the art of digital sculpting with Pixologic’s free graphic design software Sculptris
If you’re interested in the art of digital sculpting, check out 3D software Sculptris, from Pixologic. Perfect for all skill levels, the software is a great starting point for users new to the discipline and more experienced CG artists will find the software a quick and easy way to realise concepts.
Sculptris is based on Pixologic’s ZBrush, the most widely-used digital sculpting application in today’s market. So, when you’re ready to move on to the next level of detailing, skills learned in Sculptris can be directly translated into ZBrush.
Get to grips with the Houdini graphic design software with this free Apprentice version
Houdini is a 3D animation and visual effects tool, used widely throughout the media industry for film, broadcast, entertainment and visualisation. And its cheapest version costs just a little under $2000.
But the makers of the programme – Side Effects Software – are a good bunch and, knowing that cost can be an issue, offer an Apprentice version for free. With this you can access all of the features of the full version in order to develop your skills in the software and work on personal projects. The programme is purely for use non-commercial and learning purposes.
Culled from : creativebloq.com