Whether you’re a professional designer or just want to have some fun, these free programs are for you. As far as free and open source software goes, these are some of the best quality and most competitive programs around. I’ve used a lot of the Adobe counterparts to the below software, and I’m always amazed at how these free programs can match (and in some cases exceed) the functionality of the commercial software. Give them a try if your curious.
Gimp is a free bitmap image editor/creator similar to Adobe Photoshop. It is open source software, and will run on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Here are some things you can do with Gimp:
- Touch up and enhance photos
- Crop, re-size, and rotate images
- Convert images from one format to another
- Apply filters and effects to pictures
- Create digital artwork for t-shirts or posters
Download Gimp – View Tutorials
Inkscape is a free vector image editor/creator similar to Adobe Illustrator. It is open source software, and will run on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Here are some things you can do with Inkscape:
- Create logos and other artwork from scratch
- Convert bitmap images to vector images
- Draw artwork for use in animations, like cartoons
- Quickly design website and interface mockups
Download Inkscape – View Tutorials
A free desktop publishing tool similar to Adobe InDesign or QuarkxPress
Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
Things you can do with Scribus:
- Design and create magazines, textbooks, and manuals.
- Design and create business cards, fliers, and posters.
- Create aesthetically pleasing typography
- Optimize publications for professional printing (or personal)
Scribus is open source software – Get The Download – View Tutorials
A free font creator and editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux
Things you can do with FontForge:
- Create custom fonts from scratch
- Tweak, edit, and alter an existing font
- Convert fonts from one format to another
FontForge is open source software – Get The Download – View Tutorials
A free tool for creating diagrams and flow charts, on Windows, Mac, or Linux.
Things you can do with Dia:
- Record plans or ideas to share with other
- Create visual aids for presentations or in the classroom
- Map out a system, such as a network or circuit
- Create diagrams to be embedded in blueprints documents
Dia is open source software – Get The Download – View Tutorials
A free color scheme generator and palette editor for Windows and Linux.
Things you can do with gPick:
- Discover complimentary colors to a selected color
- Generate a color pallet from an image
- Export color pallets and use them in other programs
gPick is open source software – Get The Download – View Tutorials