11 Best Free Graphic Design Software And Tools of 2017

Graphic Designers, most of us imagine them to be the weird geeks or the nerds that use complex software to get things done. If this were so i.e. if they were in fact once nerds, it s not so now. Graphic designing nowadays don’t require specialized knowledge nor does it require expensive software. Graphic designing can now essentially be done by a person from his home using a free software most of which are powerful enough even for professional application.

Graphic design software can often be a major investment. The top editing suites available like the famous Adobe Photoshop software can cost well into the thousands of dollars. For fledgling designers on a budget, downloading free graphic design software is the way to go. Many different options exist and all have their pros and cons as well as a wide range of tools and features. Hardware specifications do vary, but this is the same for any piece of software. If you have a powerful processor and graphics card, you will not have to wait for rendering or previews very long. All of the tools on this list will run on Windows, Mac and Linux and are completely free to use. They are all virus free but you should always check any files you download before using them.

You may find that you need more than one piece of software to achieve different results. For example, a tool like Gimp will let you perform the basic photo editing and touch ups. You may also need a typography software to increase the quality of any lettering and vector designs you need. Downloading and using the latest versions of these pieces of software is your best option if you are on a budget.

The drawback of using a mixture of softwares instead of one centralized creative suite is the number of different file types you will encounter and have to sort and compile for projects. These programs are all free of charge but may require you to sign up on the website before downloading. This will allow the company to email you about new features and upgrades. Here are 11 best free graphic design software and tools of 2017:

1. Inkscape

Inkscape

Inkscape is a professional image and graphic designing tool that can be used in all the major operating systems currently in use today. Inkscape has extremely powerful set of tools for creating graphics from scratch, or for editing existing photographs or graphics. There are numerous drawing tools present in the program, which can be used to create layers and combine them. These tools are broadly categorized into different heads such as Object creation tools comprising the basic pencil tool, text tool etc, the Object manipulation tool involving tools such Skew, Rotate etc.

The other heads include operations on paths, text support etc. The program provides compatibility to many file formats and hence this is a prime advantage of this program. This program supports the standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) which allows your images and graphics to be compressed with a minimal amount of quality loss. It can import and export files from various vector formats.

Website: Inkscape

2. Sumopaint

SumoPaint

Sumo paint is a web based graphic design software, which can be used only for computers and laptops. Its basic version offers only standard tools of graphic designing. All the basic features offered by Sumopaint are like that of Photoshop. Similar to photoshop the layering feature plays an important part in Sumopaint’s position as a formidable competitor to the graphic design software available today.

The image adjusting tools also available in the software allowing for large degrees of image manipulation is well beyond what some paid software provides to users. The interface of the software too is quite simple and very easy to use, with the standard view of toolbar, workspace etc.

The only requirement for this software is that it requires the latest version of Adobe Flash Player, which makes it unavailable for iPads. It is a free program and it allows you to choose editing your saved documents. All the features expected from a graphic design software are met by Sumopaint and by the Pro version, a desktop version can be installed.

Website: Sumopaint

3. Blender

Blender

Blender is a free 3d graphic design software. It is an open source content creation suite. It works on all operating systems, but only under a General Public License. It is being developed fast, and pretty much anything 3D related like modeling, texturing, animation, rendering and compositing can be done using this software.

The efficiency of Blender as a 3D tool can be easily understood if one was to watch the short film Big Buck Bunny that was made entirely using the interface that Blender facilitated. Even though the interface is tough to use and is not suitable for rookies it does not take away the formidable position of Blender as one of the most powerful animating tool which provides enough flexibility in the hands of a skilled programmer willing to put in the effort.

Website: Blender

4. Paint.net

Paint

Paint.net is one of the many graphic design software that is available to a user for free. It is a very intuitive and a powerful pixel editor, and has a very innovative user interface and will look familiar to designers who have worked with the adobe creative suite. The interface is so simple that it is quickly learnable and can be understood easily. It uses a tabbed document interface to handle multiple images easily.

The navigation is also made easy by the use of thumbnails instead of textual description. It has a active net forum with a huge community which is always helpful enough to address any of the user’s queries. The use of layers by the software ensures that it matches the professional quality that can be brought about by other paid software. The updates to the software are free and unlimited and is very easy to do. It has very powerful tools for drawing shapes such as easy to use curve tool for drawing splines etc.

Many adjustments can be made to the image such change in hue, saturation etc. There is Magnifying glass as well as zoom in and out buttons; and the floating Tool menu boxes become transparent. There are multiple support for layers. But the layers works like an overlay which we can turn on and off and cannot be locked. There is no transparency and no effects within the layers. It is user friendly and is easy to use.

Website: Paint.net

5. Xara Xtreme

Xara

Xara Xtreme is one of the fast growing all-inclusive graphic design software that is exclusively being used in Unix platforms i.e. the software to date has not come out with a version for windows or other operating systems. It is a open source software similar to GIMP and hence possesses high degree of flexibility which the use can make good use of, to meet his needs. The software has a very clean uncluttered interface with very few floating dialogs, palettes etc.

It provides a user with very powerful tools such as Shadow, Blend, Bevel etc to make images according to his needs. It is easy to use, fast to operate and simple to learn. Also, it provides vast resources for learning materials, tips, and tutorials courtesy of the open source nature of the software. The software comes packaged with a massive library of user tutorials and tips to help designers with their profession.

Website: Xara Xtreme

6. Pixlr

Pixlr

Pixlr is a free graphic design software, which is available in both iOS and android and is one of the best photo editing tools on the web right now. It is a web based software, whose features are similar to that of Photoshop. The software even though free is a advanced photo editing software with many tools capable of manipulating images to the user’s needs. The free version of the app itself provides the user with a wide variety of tools such as Blur, Sharpen, Red Eye, Heal, Contrast etc.

The editor allows working in different layers, transforming objects etc. This is supplemented by the ability to add creative effects such as stylized borders etc. In addition to that, this software offers excellent filters. The software also has a desktop version and a web app which can be easily downloaded. The interface of the software is also an important distinguishing feature. It is simple and very easy to use and can be quite easily grasped by even rookies.

Website: Pixlr

7. Active Pixels

ActivePixels

Active pixels is a software much like Photoshop which provides a user with a wide variety of editing operations that can be used to make significant changes and manipulation to an image. With a huge range of features, the user interface can seem clunky, but once you get use to the layout, it becomes a great and powerful tool for your photo editing needs. Even though the software is composed of many different features, it does a good job of ensuring that the layout for the entire platform is simple, efficient to use and easy to learn.

The software provides many tools starting from the one allowing the capability of embedding text messages to resizing photos without affecting the quality adversely. The tools with regard to the adjustments such as hue, saturation etc are also advanced and well developed. The photos once edited can be exported in many formats making it accessible to a wide variety of applications for further use.

Website: Active Pixels

8. PaintStar

PaintStar

Paintstar is multipurpose software, which can be used for photo retouching, composing and authoring images, image morphing, displaying image thumbnails and screen capture. It is a free software and it works on all Windows platform laptops and computers. Also, it has one of the best sets of transformation tools like scale, rotate, shear, flip, perspective and wrap, provided by freewares.

It also provides a user with many filters such as erosion, dilation etc along with other texture, saturation and hue options and also text options. The interface of the software is simple to use and can be quickly learned by rookies trying a hand on it. It provides grid support and an excellent zooming capacity ranging from 10-2000%. The tool is very similar to others on this list and comes with all the expected features such as filters, layers, path and many more.

Website: PaintStar

9. Gimp

Gimp

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is an open source free graphic design software which confers on the user a high degree of control over the interface he wants to work in. The entire interface is customizable and by the user from changing the widget theme, widger spacings etc.

The entire is divided into workable units known as  where different tasks place. The photo enhancement of GIMP is in fact a wonder to look at with many options that can fix many problems associated with a picture. The channel mixer tool provided by the software allows a user to change the nature of the picture itself thereby hiding inherent flaws and using it in his favor. The tool has been used for so long that it is overflowing with user made plugins to help you with your design projects with ease.

GIMP supports a variety of hardware which can be configured to be used as a part of the software and it works with a large array of file formats. It started with Unix-based platforms and now is available in Linux, Windows and Mac.. It helps for photo retouching, image authoring, image composition, etc. third party plugins are available in this program, which increases its productivity. It is a program with good compatibility.

Website: Gimp

10. Infogram

Infogram

Infogram is an excellent tool which offers access to a wide variety of graphs, charts and maps. It enables uploading of data from multiple sources. It has the ability to upload pictures and videos to create good infographics. Infogr.am offers an interactive data visualization. It offers a variety of templates or ready-made designs which the user can easily choose from.

Another important feature of the software is that almost all the elements that is used in the projects are completely customizable by the user such as changing the colors, the type of the object used etc. The integration capability of the software is also to be praised with seamless integration with many other platform allowing import and export of data. It is available free of cost and it works well in teams. After the designing is done, it can be published in the Infogr.am website or can be shared to any other website or social media.

Website: Infogram

11. Daz Studio Tool

Daz3d

With over 2.5 million downloads, Daz Studio is one of the best 3d graphic design software around. Use the tool to design complex 3d models and short animations for your next project. The tool is reinforced by an active community of passionate users who upload their models for others to use in the dedicated marketplace.

Website: Daz Studio Tool

There are tons of other graphic design softwares available on the internet. The list above suggests few 11 best free graphic design software and tools. If you know of any other software that does a better job than any of these ones listed above, please let us know in the comments below.

Rinkesh Kukreja

Rinkesh Kukreja is very passionate about environmentalism, technology, cloud computing and latest gadgets. He loves to write on these topics and has received accolades from various people.

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