What is the very first action you take when visiting a brand new website? Observe the layout.
According to studies, it takes only 0.05 seconds for visitors to form a general first impression of a site, highlighting the importance of having well-designed visual elements. However, high-end graphic design tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator can be prohibitively expensive and impractical for people just starting out in the field or for those with more modest budgets. Luckily for you, there are a lot of free options available, like Vista Create and other sites from our list. Keep reading for a list of six of the most popular free design tools, in no particular order.
1. Vista Create
Vista Create, formerly known as Crello, is an online tool for making animated and graphical content for use on social media and websites. The easy-to-use website offers thousands of professionally designed, customizable templates, all for free.
The free version also includes a library of 1 million royalty-free photos, videos, and graphics with no download limit, a Brand Kit, a background removal tool, and 10GB of storage. In contrast, the paid version offers unlimited storage, multiple Brand Kits, team accounts, and a library of 50 million royalty-free files for as little as $10 a month.
Available on multiple platforms like Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, Canva has proven itself to be a surprisingly powerful yet flexible graphic design tool. The browser version is simple to use, requires no downloads, and can accomplish a lot with just drag and drop.
Additionally, the service provides users with access to over a hundred different design templates, as well as 250,000 premade graphics that can be used in any project. Other useful features include the ability to collaborate with team members, 5GB of cloud storage, and various export options.
Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics software that was first created by four Sodipodi developers in late 2003. The professional-quality software runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux and is completely free to download and use.
The platform provides a host of features for both beginner and experienced designers, with one of its major advantages being the ability to create images in SVG, or vector format. The tool also has an active community, good cross-platform support, and wide format compatibility. The only disadvantage is the sluggish controls, which can frustrate some users looking to quickly create and publish projects.
4. Adobe Spark
A free alternative to Adobe’s popular for-pay Illustrator, Adobe Spark is not quite as full-featured but still supports integration with other Adobe products. The easy-to-use tool is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS and is great for those with limited graphic design experience.
The tool comes with professional-quality free templates and even makes suggestions for color, font, etc., to let you quickly create attractive visuals. The number of features and ways to change web pages is limited, which makes Spark a good place to start for beginners but less useful for experts.
Another open-source tool, Blender is a 3D creation suite that lets graphic designers do everything from rigging to rendering and motion tracking. The software has a particularly strong set of modeling tools along with digital sculpting capabilities, making it great for artists just entering the world of 3D animation.
However, while Blender is powerful, its user interface is confusing, with complex menus and a plethora of available options. The UVs, animation, pipeline, and scene management tools in particular are in need of improvement. Not to mention, some tools are paid add-ons.
Gimp, short for GNU Image Manipulation Program, is one of the most popular open-source design tools available today. The tool is often compared to Photoshop, which is its closest paid competitor. It has everything you need to create an online identity.
And despite being free, Gimp’s basic features are easily on par with those of paid products, allowing a large degree of customization. The tool supports all file formats, makes digital retouching a piece of cake, and lets users quickly create new designs from scratch. On top of that, its customizable interface lets more experienced designers make full use of the tool’s capabilities. The only downside is the lack of dedicated support, but that is understandable since this is an open-source project.
There are a lot of tools you can use to design graphics for free. The above is a limited list of some of the most popular ones, but with their varying features and capabilities, there is sure to be something for everyone.