The Best 7 Free and Open Source Graphic Design Software
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” - Steve Jobs, Philanthropist, and Founder Apple.
At times, visually appealing content speaks more than ideas and thoughts expressed in words. For those having a knack for creativity and sketching, graphic designing has given a boosting impetus to play with variable colors, different shapes, images, topographies, etc., to create innovative designs and optimize the user experience.
Today, graphic designers leverage crafting pictures, animations, and graphics due to the impact that it has on this generation of readers. This is possible because of an escalation in computer graphics technology and the advent of a new emerging player known as the graphic design software. The wide range of sophisticated tools has simplified and streamlined the task of designing complex images and layouts.
What is Graphic Design?
In the simplest of words, Graphic Design is an art and craft of projecting your ideas and thoughts in the form of visual content through topography, creating beautiful icons and beautiful illustrations.
Graphic designing aims to make an ordinary design interactive and eye-catching. This visual communication can convert a simple shape or symbol into an appealing message.
Thus, graphic Design is extensively used in various fields such as advertising, print media, product branding, website designing, presentations, infographics, user manuals, and more.
Role of Graphic Design in Boosting Brand Identity
As a business entrepreneur, you may adopt different tactics to boost your brand identity, but you cannot subdue graphic Design’s importance in creating brand awareness. Let’s see how graphic design is critical for branding.
- Creating a Distinct Brand Identity- Do you know that a creatively designed logo can also attract your potential customers? Yes, it sends a strong and powerful message with a sense of emotion. Remember, people identify Apple products or a Mercedes through their logo. That is what a unique and distinctive brand identity is.
- Designing an Attractive Website- Most people would say that it is a digital marketing and SEO-based strategy that drives traffic to a website. Still, graphic Design also plays a crucial role in getting more audience onboard. Putting the best visual graphics and images leads to a positive impression on visitors.
- Advertising- There is no better way to promote your products and create brand awareness through advertising. And graphic design is an integral part of digital marketing, which is a popular player to customers’ attention. Also, businesses are still using letterheads and posters to get in touch with prospective clients.
- Crafting Blogs- The use of graphic Design in blogs, articles, press releases, and various other content formats have become prevalent. A blog with stunning relevant images quickly grabs the attention of the reader.
- Social Media Posts- When graphic designing gets paired with social media posts, it leads to seamless brand promotion and increases traffic as the content easily gets shared across different platforms.
- Motion Graphics- Motion graphics such as creating innovative videos, GIFs, emojis, animations do play a pivotal role in boosting brand awareness.
Challenges Related to Graphic Designing
Even the best and professionally experienced graphic designers do face challenges when crafting designs or vector graphics. So, let’s highlight the standard graphic design issues encountered by most designers.
- Not Able to Shape Up the Ideas- Ideas keeping pouring in and out of mind. But the issue props up when the designer cannot shape up and translate an idea into a design. He or she cannot draw the actual picture on the canvas due to a lack of creativity.
- Working on Strict Deadlines- Often, graphic designers have to work on tight schedules and strict deadlines where there is crunch time. The result is that they cannot thoroughly explore the viable options in making the designs and image unique.
- Following the Old Traditional Design Practices- Another challenge is that some graphic designers still follow the old methods and traditional designing practices to create designs, graphs, and pictures. This often becomes tiring and time-consuming.
- Creating Exclusive Designs- At times, the designers find it challenging to create unique designs and develop innovative images.
- Not Having the Proper Tools- Graphic designers may find it challenging to give shape to their ideas because they do not have proper tools and assets to work with.
Also, there may be various issues apart from the ones mentioned above. But the best way graphic designers can resolve all problems and simplify their task is by implementing graphic design software that offers several features and benefits.
What is Graphic Design Software?
Graphic design software is an advanced and innovative tool that enables a graphic designer to visually manipulate the models, graphics, and animations to make them more aesthetically pleasing and adorable. The best graphic design tools provide flexibility, scalability, and intuitive control with 2D and 3D variants to create striking designs for the website, print, and mobile applications.
The graphic design software is often aligned with popular tools such as vector graphics software, animation software, drawing software, video editing software, and more. The graphic designing applications provide standalone artwork, professional illustrations, and drawings. It further helps to nurture the talent of graphic designers exponentially.
The Core Features of Graphic Design Software
A graphic designing tool is well equipped with powerful striking features, which are as follows-
The Benefits of Graphic Design Software
Today graphic designing focuses more on aesthetics and improved interaction along with creating an outstanding design. This is due to the various benefits offered by graphic design software, which can be summed below-
- Helps to Create a Strong Brand Presence- The graphic design software plays a pivotal role in creating a strong brand presence providing social proof of your brand. You can easily get connected to your target audience with attractive social media posts, blogs containing stunning designs, and more.
- A Well Designed Website Draws More Traffic- A website with a clumsy design will not find a visitor. But a robust web design is certainly going to enhance the customer experience and trust, resulting in more traffic.
- Creates a Robust First Impression- Implementing a free and open source graphic design tool allows you to win the battle in the first impression. Upon visiting your website, he /she will adore the designs to build a strong relationship with the business.
- Effective Communication With Viewers- Graphic designing applications provide more precise and concise visuals to viewers that help them understand the designs and product much better. You can communicate your ideas more effectively without any second thoughts in mind.
- Lets Your Content Do the Talking- Graphic design software makes content shine and makes it user friendly. You can even simplify and display complex information, which is hard to express in words.
- Allows you to Stay Consistent- The free graphic designing tools make your images, logos, and illustrations more consistent, increasing credibility. The software helps to choose the right set of colors, templates, shapes, symbols, etc., to vent to your designs.
- Freedom to Express Imagination- Having a graphic design solution gives you the freedom to use your creativity and imagination to their fullest potential. You can design the image, logo, animation, etc., the way you want, customize it, and use the best features.
- Compatible with Other Software- Graphic design software is easily integrated with various tools and other software applications. It also supports all critical operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and others.
Reasons for Choosing the Best Free And Open Source Graphic Design Software?
The free and open source graphic design software is one of the best and affordable options for all graphic designers worldwide, whether they are a beginner or an experienced professional. A wide range of free open source graphic designing tools helps every designer grow as a proficient artist.
The open-source software is backed by a community of developers, where everyone is free to give their suggestions, add new features, and do modifications to the tool.
List of Free and Open Source Graphic Design Software
- Gravit Designer
Comparison Table of the Best Free and Open Source Graphic Design Software
Inkscape (Free and Open Source)
Inkscape is one of the best free and open source graphic design software that provides you free and flexible designing tools with spiro and Bezier curves. These powerful applications help you create outstanding illustrative images, vector diagrams, flowcharts, and simple drawings.
Thus, Inkscape is a top-rated graphic designing tool and a vector graphics software, photo editing software, flowchart solution, and drawing application. The users can also unleash the benefit of efficient text tools. The best part is that the developers have fixed the bugs and updated the software with a multiple-language support facility.
The designers can edit the Design in a CSS stylesheet, enabling them to select whole objects within a specific CSS selector. The software is compatible with CMYK using Scribus. Besides that, there are various other useful applications such as pencil and shape tools, text tools, and more.
- Inkscape is credited with a wide range of handy tools for freehand drawing, creating curves, calligraphic strokes, and carving out different shapes.
- The designers also get various other useful applications such as clones, embedded bitmaps, and text tools.
- The software provides graphic designing applications for manipulating objects, groupings, and transformations.
- The designers are free to play and use their imagination with color selectors, dashboard strokes, and path makers.
- The free and open-source graphic designing software allows node editing, boolean operations, path simplifications, etc.
- The other features include rendering, multi-line text support, and support for different file formats such as SVG, PNG, XML editor, etc.
GIMP (Free and Open Source)
GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program is a free and open source graphic designing software and popular cross-platform image editor. The free graphic design tool supports all major operating systems such as Linux or GNU, Windows, Mac, etc. Since it is an open-source solution, the software allows designers to change the source code and distribute the modifications.
The software proves incredibly helpful for graphic designers, illustrators, photographs, and even scientists. The sophisticated tools simplify the designing tasks and surge efficiency with the third-party plugins and customization options.
GIMP also becomes a crucial component of the desktop publishing workflow system, helping color management and color reproduction generate high-quality digital prints.
Graphic designers, artists, and illustrators can convert and transform ordinary images into stunning and unique creations with high-end tools.
The software provides the best-in-class graphic designing components that are highly suitable for creating beautiful icons, different design styles, interactive user interfaces, and mockups.
GIMP has a top-rated tool for the best image manipulation. It can help you to redefine your imaginative power and restore creative composites.
GIMP also offers extensions during integrations with various programming languages resulting in the best customization.
Krita (Free and Open Source)
Krita is a free and open source graphic design software and painting program. The tool aims to provide comprehensive support to all artists, designers, and studios to create eye-catching digital art. Using Krita, the designers can create beautiful concept art designs, matte paintings, textures, comics, and unique illustrations.
The software offers two different desktop versions; Krita Plus and Krita Next. Krita Plus supports Windows and Linux platforms, with the main focus remaining on bug fixing. On the other hand, Krita Plus is compatible with Windows, Linux, and OS X. It focuses on adding new features, which are not stable.
If you are a newbie designer, you get a supportive user manual guide and tutorial to design attractive designs and art from scratch to end.
- Krita provides an intuitive user interface that allows designers to shift the panels and dockers, customizing the workflow.
- Designers get the choice of selecting more than thirty dockers to get additional functionality, light, and dark color themes.
- The software provides over a hundred preloaded professional brushes and brushes stabilizers for those whose hands shake while designing.
- The best free open source graphic design software comes with built-in vector tools helping to create comic panels.
- The tool also includes nine sophisticated and customizable brush engines with extensive settings.
- Easily create patterns and textures with the wrap-around mode feature.
- The software also provides a set of productivity features that include drawing assistants, full color and layer management, PSD support, etc.
Blender (Free and Open Source)
Blender is another free and open source graphic design software that offers best-in-class tools for creating 3D animations and objects. The graphic design application supports a complete 3D pipeline that includes animation, modeling, rendering, motion tracking, stimulation, and more. You can also create 2D animations and edit videos.
If you want to customize the tool and specifically implement applications, you can use the application programming interface (API) for Python scripting. The software proves an ideal suite for small studios and individual designers who can take advantage of the responsive development process.
Blender is well compatible with popular platforms such as Windows, Linux, and macOS. The interface of the cross-platform tool uses OpenGL to provide an improved user experience.
- The best free and open source graphic design software is entirely developed for creating stunning animations, 3D and 2D images, and rigging.
- Blender allies you to create splendid digital sculpting, modeling curves, retopology, and eye-grabbing renders with the help of an extensive toolset.
- The VFX tool enables you to track motions, amplify camera settings, compositioning, and masking.
- Enhance the 2D and 3D designs with a 3D viewpoint and grease pencil feature.
- The software provides robust simulation tools such as MantaFlow and Bullet, and it can easily integrate with several pipelines.
- This is also a video editing tool with essential features and functionalities.
Pencil2D (Free and Open Source)
Pencil2D is a top-rated and intuitive free and open source graphic designing tool specializing in 2D handmade animations. You can create hand-drawn animations with vector graphics and bitmap. One of the advantages of using this tool is that it is user-friendly and lightweight, providing full comprehensive support while making animations. It also becomes much more comfortable to shift between the vector workflows and raster while drawing graphics and using ink or paint.
Pencil2D is a free cross-platform graphics designing solution that operates seamlessly across all critical operating systems such as macOS, Linux, Windows, and FreeBSD.
- Pencil2D is an easy to use and lightweight tool perfect for minimal Design.
- Seamlessly switch between the raster and vector workflows while sketching with ink and paint.
- The software supports all major platforms.
- You can also find tutorials and guides on creating designs and animations.
Gravit Designer (Free But No Open Source)
Gravit Designer is a free graphic design tool and a comprehensive vector graphics tool that seamlessly runs on all platforms. The application helps you unlock your creativity with flexible tools built to suffice professional graphic designers’ needs.
The tool is best suited for creating eye-catching graphics on varied topics such as marketing, website designing, user interface design, making presentations, and any other art for a particular purpose. The vector tools allow you to unleash imaginative power and precision. Also, you can build wireframes and mockups with different symbols, shapes, and shared styles. The application offers a wide range of photo effects such as lighting adjustments, filters, and blending for perfect editing.
This is free software that does not offer any open source feature.
Source: Gravit Designer
- Gravit Designer is compatible with all operating systems, and the designers can access it from anywhere.
- The tool is empowered with a graphics processor and accelerated rendering engine.
- The designers can create diversified designs such as printed artwork, logo, branding, banner, etc.
- The software is also available on mobile phones and touch screen devices.
- Free graphic design software is suitable for both beginners and experienced professionals.
- The application automatically saves the cloud-based files with the option of customizing the time interval.
- The designers can save and synchronize the work in the cloud and access it from anywhere, anytime.
Lucidpress (Free But No Open Source)
Lucidpress is free for all graphic design software, a simple and intuitive option for beginners and experienced designers. The tool has been handy to speed up the designing task with hundreds of predesigned and professional templates. There is a data automation facility, which means you don’t have to look for the information every time.
The free graphic designing tool also offers the benefit of template locking allowing the designers to customize the shared templates. Furthermore, the application improves brand management, team management, real-time collaboration, and multi-channel distribution.
- Lucidpress is a user-friendly and intuitive graphic design software that helps to grow your brand.
- Seamlessly collaborate with your teammates while working on a project.
- The software provides lockable and customizable templates.
- You can even customize the content storing all information in one place.
- You don’t need to download the software as the designs can be accessed from a web browser.
- Auto-fill the information in the templates and save time to update the content.
When you explore the internet world, you will come across several other graphic designing tool options to showcase your creativity, imagination, and upsurge brand image. But Adobe Illustrator has excelled above all to become the preferred choice of many graphic designers.
Adobe Illustrator Popular Choice)
Adobe Illustrator is one of the best and leading graphic design software that allows you to create stunning visuals for mobile applications, web designing, and print media. The designers can also craft standalone artwork, graphics, and animations for a large project. The fantastic tool can bring design ideas to life. Also, share the design patterns and artwork seamlessly with teammates and across different platforms.
Adobe Illustrator is also a vector graphics software that enables designers to draw different graphics, logos, icons, book illustrations, product packing, billboarding, and more. They can even create their mountaintop or desktop, work on other devices, and even offline. The software is further powered by Artificial Intelligence technology. Adobe Sensei allows one to import colors and automatically track the hand-drawn designs.
The tool provides various plans and pricing models along with a 7-day free trial period.
Source: Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Illustrator provides flexibility and scalability to graphic designs and drawings with robust tools
- The software allows to add and remove the shapes and create intricate designs.
- The designers are free to add different colors to the shapes with the help of fills and strokes.
- The designers are also free to save their designers in various formats. They can easily export and share the file amongst the team members.
- The Puppet Wrap feature helps to adjust the image seamlessly. You can easily create natural distortions and changes in the Design.
- The best graphic design software allows you to gain more control over the fonts.
- Create high-quality customized templates based on the project requirements.
Report indicates that the graphic design industry in the US alone generated $15 billion in 2019. The report further says that the annual growth rate of graphic designing business in the US is 3.5% during the last five years. It has also been noted that business organizations and industries from different verticals are encouraging creativity and are ready to invest in innovative graphic designing tools.
There is no surprise that the graphic design software is witnessing exponential growth, thanks to the emergence of the latest trends, such as muted color palettes, innovative and flat icon illustrations, data visualizations, and more.
Interestingly, this blog familiarized you with the seven best free and open source graphic design software. But you can certainly check out many more options such as Canva, Vectr, BeFunky, Crello, Fatpaint, etc.
Have you used any of the software tools in the past? If yes, then please feel free to give your important feedback and review on the same.
You are also invited to visit our extensive software directory to glance at all the software listings that may help you in the future.