Best Free Graphic Design Software

May 3rd, 2021 13 min read

Graphic design software creates multiple forms of visual content. This type of software can be used to make infographics, logos, digital paintings, or photo-realistic images. Free graphic design software is either open source or part of a “forever free” subscription plan. When evaluating free graphic design software, you should consider design tools and ease of use. The six graphic design software options discussed in this piece are:

Graphic Design Software for Each Type of Content 

Graphic Design SoftwareOpen Source?PlatformsSuitable for Beginners?Biggest ProBiggest Con
CanvaNoBrowser, iOS, AndroidYesDesign TemplatesLimited Photo Editing
SVG-EditYesBrowserYesSimple User InterfaceCreates basic SVG images
InkscapeYesWindows, Linux, MacYesAdvanced ToolkitDoes Not Offer Customer Support
KritaYesWindows, Linux, MacYesCustomizable BrushesRequires a Lot of Computer Memory
Daz StudioNoWindows,  MacNoTutorials and Training VideosLimited Selection of Free 3D Content
BlenderYesWindows, Linux, MacNo3D Modeling ToolsLearning Curve

Canva – Customizable Design Templates

Canva is the ideal choice for those who do not have any experience with graphic design. This platform uses pre-built templates to create everything from infographics to logos. The free version gives users access to over 250,000 templates and at least 100 design types. These templates are known for their professional, eye-catching design that makes extremely high-quality content easy to produce.

The platform includes a drag-and-drop interface that adds new images into the template. You can resize your pictures and apply filters to enhance your image quality. Canva is well known for its photo editing capabilities.

Canva’s photo editing tools are often compared to PhotoShop. Canva is easier for beginners to use and has less of a learning curve. If you are new to photo editing or have a limited design budget, then Canva is your best option. It has all of the essential photo editing tools in a completely free subscription plan. 

This tool is also a great choice for projects that require collaboration. The platform enables real-time collaboration with the online whiteboard. You can also use Canva’s mind maps to share ideas with the rest of your team. 

SVG-Edit – Simple Editing Tools

SVG-Edit is an open source vector graphics editor. This software is used to create and edit Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) files. Vector graphics are commonly used in logo design. SVG-Edit is only available to use in a web browser.  It is extremely user-friendly and well suited for basic projects. 

SVG-Edit’s user interface is easy to navigate, if a bit outdated. You can import an existing SVG file or start designing your own vector graphics. The design tools are conveniently located on the side panel. 

SVG-Edit includes a text editor, shaping tools, and pathing tools. Beginners should not have a problem learning how to use SVG-Edit’s features. SVG-Edit also includes a conversion tool. It converts SVG files into other formats such as JPEG and PNG. 

The main advantage of SVG-Edit is that it is accessible from any web browser. This software is ideal for beginners or those who have limited experience with graphic design.There are videos available to help beginners learn how to use SVG-Edit. If you are looking for more advanced vector graphics tools, then you should consider using Inkscape.

Inkscape –  Advanced Vector Graphics

Inkscape is another open source vector graphics editor. Even though Inkscape includes some advanced tools, the software is extremely user-friendly. There are multiple tutorials available to teach new users how to create and edit their own vector graphics. You can access interactive tutorials within the software or read copies of the tutorials on Inkscape’s website. 

Inkscape’s drawing features include a pencil tool, pen tool, and calligraphy tool. Users also have access to shaping and text tools. Inkscape allows node editing, which is useful for adjusting vector graphics. Inkscape does function as an SVG files converter, but this action requires using the command line. 

Inkscape is often compared to Adobe Illustrator, a well-known vector graphics editor. Adobe Illustrator has more drawing tools and features than Inkscape. However, Inkscape has a more user-friendly interface. Inkscape offers many of the features and benefits of a paid service like Adobe illustrator without the cost.

Prospective users should be aware that Inkscape occasionally lags or crashes. Inkscape does not have traditional customer support. You will have to follow the available tutorials or seek help from the user community.

Krita – Elaborate Digital Paintings

Krita is an open source software that creates detailed illustrations. This software offers drawing tools that perform just as well as those included in paid graphic design software. You can create quality illustrations without having to purchase expensive software. 

The software includes over 100 preloaded brushes and brush stabilizers to keep your lines smooth. You can customize the default brushes by using the brush editor located in the toolbar. Krita also has a drawing assistant to help with straightening lines or circles. There is a training manual available on Krita’s website to help new users understand all of the drawing tools. 

Krita is considered to be a free alternative to PhotoShop. PhotoShop’s digital painting toolkit is more extensive than Krita’s. However, Krita’s user interface and drawing tools are more intuitive than Photoshop’s. Beginners or those who have a limited budget would benefit from using Krita. 

Potential users should be aware that Krita does not have traditional customer support. Also, Krita can only be used on a desktop. Krita uses a large amount of memory, which could cause the software to lag. This is especially true for those using dated hardware. Since Krita is open source software, you may encounter bugs or crashes.  

Daz Studio- Realistic Characters and Animations

Daz Studio is a free software that allows users to create 3D artwork. This software is ideal for those who have previous experience with 3D rendering and animation. There are tutorials and forums on the Daz 3D website to help beginners overcome the learning curve. 

Daz Studio is useful for creating detailed characters. You can use Genesis, a figure platform, to customize the body shape and appearance of the human figures. Daz Studio allows you to customize the models hair color, eye color, and clothing. You can also add props or a background into the scene. With Daz Studio’s rendering capabilities, you can save your scene as a photo-realistic image or use it to create animations. 

This software also includes a 3D content library where users can find things like clothing and backgrounds to add to their renderings. Some of the options in the 3D content library are free. However, a vast majority of the 3D content is only accessible with a purchase. Potential users should pay close attention to the listed price of 3D content.

Daz Studio does not have 3D modeling functions. If you want to create your own 3D models, then you should download Hexagon, a compatible 3D modeling software. Users can upload the 3D models from Hexagon into Daz Studio.  

Blender- 3D Modeling Tools

Bender is an open-source software that creates 3D computer graphics. Unlike Daz Studio, this software allows users to build their own 3D models. Blender is well suited for those who have experience with 3D modeling. This software has a steep learning curve, but there are some tutorials available to help new users.

Blender includes digital sculpting tools to help users make their own 3D models. The software offers 20 customizable brushes that add detail to the models. Blender’s sculpting tools are advanced but not extremely user-friendly. Potential users should consult video walkthroughs before attempting to use Blender’s sculpting tools. 

Blender is also useful for creating animations. The animation toolset includes a pose editor and sound synchronization. You can also use motion paths to visualize movements through a series of frames. These tools help users create professional-looking shorts or films. 

This software is a great alternative to Daz Studio. If you have the technical skills to create your own 3D models, then Blender is the better option. This software is very useful for professionals who have the patience to overcome the learning curve. 

More Graphic Design Software

If you are interested in learning more about graphic design software, be sure to check out the category page. You can compare reviews and product features to ensure that you select the proper software for your design projects. 

For those who are beginners in the graphic design space, check out the video below for some great fundementals.

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