Graphic Design Software are infamous for being pricey and if you are just beginning your career as a Graphic Designer or are looking for casual graphic design tools for creating social media and marketing images then paying for a costly software may not be desirable. There are many free graphic design software and online tools available which offer professional quality graphic design capabilities with ready made templates and are beginner friendly. In this article we will take a look at these online design tools that have free plans available.
You may already be aware of the most popular graphic design software: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. However they are available at a monthly price and not free. While these tools are the choice of experts, you may not need them as you can easily generate stunning graphic design from pre-made design layouts and make edit or changes with free online tools.
In this post, we are sharing a list of best and free graphic design software that are suitable for beginners as well free tools that can cater to advanced graphic editing needs. As free alternatives to Photoshop and Illustrator, these software and online tools are capable of creating social media images, poster designs, Facebook cover, YouTube cover, Facebook stories, Instagram templates and a lot more. They offer simple and easy to use interface which can be learned in minutes. Many of them offer ready made design templates in appropriate dimensions which can be modified by simple drag and drop interface and easy change of text, colors and images. Some of the tools listed below like Microsoft Designer and Canva leverage AI technologies to help you get started with your design.
If you are just looking for a free tool to edit and re-touch your photos then you may want to take a look at these free online photo editors. In this post, our list includes those online tools and software which are capable of creating graphic design items such as posters, mock-ups, flyers, logo, infographics, presentations, magazine cover, greeting cards etc. What’s great is that all the products listed below are free to use. They may offer advanced templates or products at a price however all the basic features they offer are free.
Microsoft Designer is an AI based web tool. Based on your ideas that you provide in the text description, it comes up with several different editable templates to help get you started. Be it an Instagram post, digital postcard or YouTube video thumbnail, the tool is capable of generating layouts for all these and more. You can make your pick from these suggested templates and edit it further to your needs. You can see one of the designs Microsoft Designer generated based on our text description – “An Instagram post on Mother’s Day in elegant floral style”.
You also have the option to skip the prompt and directly start with a blank canvas and create your design using the ready-made templates or the visuals and text styles available inside the editor. You can use its AI to generate captions and hashtags to go with your designs when sharing on social media. Additionally, it can even help you create custom images with DALL-E 2.
Available for free for web and mobile, Adobe Express is a template driven app that lets you quickly and easily create standout social graphics, flyers, logos, posters, banners, invitations, business cards, book cover and much more even if you are non-designer. It also offers a suite of free image and video editing features.
With free plan, you get access to basic editing and photo effects, thousands of templates and stock assets such as fonts and images as well as 2 GB of storage. If you are a Creative Cloud plan subscriber, you get access to Adobe Express Premium features as well including 100 GB of cloud storage, all their templates, assets and social media scheduling.
Canva offers creation of graphics using multiple pre-created layouts and templates with an easy to use web editor. You can easily create social media images, Instagram Reels, TikTok videos, posters, flyers, book covers, letterheads and a lot more graphic items using their editor. Text, font, colors and images can be changed easily and you are allowed to download and share your creation for free.
Canva offers paid templates as well as paid images, however many templates and images in their collection are free. You can also upload your own images and then add text overlays. Canva has also introduced AI powered capabilities with features such as Magic Design and Magic Edit. You can even try Canva Pro for free for 30 days.
Pixelied is an easy-to-use design solution which allows users to create stunning ready-made designs from 25+ formats, access to millions of stock photos, icons and illustrations. It provides a full suite of design editing tools, like background remover and product mockups, for the most common uses, tailored for businesses.
With Pixelied, you can easily create graphic for Facebook post, Facebook page cover, Facebook story, Instagram post or stories, YouTube channel art or YouTube thumbnails, Twitter and LinkedIn post images, Twitch profile banner, blog featured image and many more social media graphics. There are tons of ready-made templates available which you can also customize.
VistaCreate gets to the very heart of what it means to be simple in use. It’s a no-brainer graphic design tool that can significantly simplify the marketer’s daily routines with 50K+ design templates, 1M+ creative assets, animation effects, and an intuitive customization panel.
You can use VistaCreate for free on your desktop or download an app for Android and iOS platforms.
Snappa is another quick and easy graphic design software similar to Canva. It offers a free plan which includes 40,000+ free photos and upto 5 downloads per month. The free plan contains limited design templates to choose from and integration with 2 social accounts. You can upload your own graphics too in Snappa editor as well as import your custom fonts. Connecting your social media account allows you to share the graphic on the social platform right from the app.
Design Wizard has thousands of templates and over a million images for you to choose from and create your own design for social media, business cards, invitation and greeting cards etc. The free plan offers a pay as you go option which includes buying premium templates starting from $1. You also get online storage of 15MB to store your design.
Similar to other easy to use graphic design tools, Stencil also provides you with 650+ pre-designed templates, over a million images and 800,000+ icons and graphic elements to help you create your graphics. Free and simple image creation tools like Stencil are best suited for social media marketers, bloggers and small businesses. With the free plan you can create upto 10 images per month.
Vectr is a free vector graphic editor that you can download to use on your desktop or use the web interface. Vectr is easy to learn and free tutorials and user guides are provided as well. You can send anyone a URL to your Vectr document for real-time collaboration, others can watch you create and edit designs live.
Inkscape is a professional vector graphics editor available for Windows, Mac OS X as well as Linux. It’s open source software licensed under GPL. Inkscape is trusted by professional graphic designers and is one of the best free alternative to Adobe Illustrator. The learning curve may be a bit steeper compared to other graphic editors listed above, however with Inkscape, you would be able to create complex vector graphics which may not be possible to create in other free editors.
Here are some easy to follow Inkscape tutorials from our site:
- How to Work with Inkscape Interpolate Extension
- Create Flat Long Shadow App Icon in Inkscape
- How to Create Snowflakes in Inkscape
- How to Quickly Create Clouds in Inkscape
Figma, although, is designed as a collaborative design tool for creating user interfaces, mobile apps, and websites, you can use this SVG vector based editor for creating all sorts of digital graphics including social media posts, illustrations, posters (see these tutorials), and product mockups. It offers a wide range of features, including vector editing tools, prototyping, and version control, all in a cloud-based platform.
Available across all platforms including Windows, macOS, mobile and as web app. It offers a free starter plan which is a great starting point for individual creators and solopreneurs. Figma also supports plugins that extend its functionality and can help you to automate your tasks. Explore its design features in detail.
Talking about free alternatives, GIMP is long reigning king of free image editing software and is accepted as a powerful free alternative to Adobe Photoshop. You can refer to GIMP tutorials to get started with this amazing and free photo editor. GIMP is open source and available for GNU/Linux, OS X, Windows and more operating systems.
You may also like: How to Create Diagonal Grid Pattern Backgrounds in Gimp
Do you use any of these free graphic design tools already? Were you looking for an alternative to Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop and found what you needed? Our team here at SDR uses many of the graphic editing tools listed above to create our blog graphics, logo, social media images etc. You can check the following collection of articles which will help you get better sense of graphic design if you are a beginner.
- 6 Infographics to help you Design the Perfect Logo
- 7+ Secrets for Creative Business Card Design
- How to Design a Creative Two-Letter Logo
- 7 Lessons from the Most Successful Logo Redesigns
- Free Fashion Instagram Stories Templates
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