6 Completely Free Graphics and Design Software for Vector and Bitmap Editing

6 Completely Free Graphics and Design Software for Vector and Bitmap Editing

Whether graphics are your passion, the artistic muse gives you a nudge now and then or you are a design professional, you can always do with some free software. Or maybe you can't afford an investment in graphics and design software right now, if you are just starting out. Most of us have broken our teeth in free software at one point or another.

Even if commercial software in the graphics and design industry have evolved significantly over the years, their free counterparts have not stagnated either. Maybe the free graphics programs don't yet have the same set of functions and capabilities as the commercial ones, some of them can still give them a run for their money.

Let's not waste time. Below are a few free graphic design software recommendations, particularly vector graphics. These are the most popular ones, they are completely free and I have used or am using them personally:

Free vector graphics software

Inkscape

This is a free and open-source vector graphics software, based on the SVG format. It is similar to Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw! or Xara Designer and you can design almost anything with it. If you want to learn a vector design software that gives you the most tools and options from the get go, but also be free, you cannot fail with Inkscape.

Inkscape free graphics program interface

The native format of Inkscape is SVG, but you can export your projects to any format supported by browsers and also for commercial printing. I've designed some very complex brochures and publications in Inkscape.

Gravit Designer

Gravit Designer (which has a free version and a PRO version), helps you create graphics for promotional materials, marketing, illustrations for websites, presentations, social media banners and more.

Gravit supports multiple pages per document, layers, it has easy to understand panels and multiple parametrised editing tools as well as 'freehand' ones. On the right side of the layout you have a context-sensitive properties panel, which changes automatically offering you options that are relevant to the current tool or object you have selected.

The free vefsion of Gravit Designer offers 500 MB of cloud storage space (which allows you to store your projects and access them from another computer), PDF export (at 72 and 150 dpi). In the free version you can only work in the RGB colour space.

Gravit Designer Interface

In exchange for a yearly subscription ,the PRO version offers unlimited cloud storage space, PDF export up to 300 dpi (good for offset printing), CMYK, HSB colour space editing), you can work offline and have a few more export and project history options.

For beginners, the free version should be more than enough. It allows you to create projects for screen display and the web. So if you're looking for a free tool to design social media graphics, banners, look no further!

Vectr

Vectr is another software that can be used both online, right in your browser and also as a downloadable version. You can create 2D vector graphics, business cards, logos, icons, website layouts, brochures, posters, presentations and more. On top of that, you can easily share your creations with a simple URL you can send by e-mail or share on social media without the need for attachments.

Vectr interface

Vectr allows you to export your graphics to PNG, SVG or JPG, in addition to sharing via a URL. If you don't wish to export your creations but would like to save your projects online, you need a free account.

Free Bitmap and Photo Editing Software

Paint.NET

This is a program for the Windows platform only, and even if the name makes it seem like an alternative to the free and very limited Paint software that comes with Windows, do not be deceived: Paint.NET is much more capable than Windows Paint and offers numerous editing functions - even more so than actual creation tools.

Paint.NET interface

Paint.NET emphasizes editing functions: special effects, distorsion, rotation, perspective adjustment, selection, layers and colour adjustments such as contrast, levels, etc. It is a viable alternative to Photoshop, specially if you don't need to go too deep into super-advanced and complicated functions.

GIMP

GIMP is probably the most popular free alternative to Adobe Photoshop. The project started in the 90s, it comes very close to Photoshop in terms of functions and available tools, workflow and even the names of the different sections and operations.

GIMP is an open-source project, it works on all major platforms and has a plugin architecture that considerably extends its functionality. It supports all major graphics file formats (TIFF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, PSD, etc.) and if for some reason a format is not supported, it's quite likely that you can find a plugin for it - but for the most part, you might not need it if you're not using some exotic file formats.

GIMP interface

If you are no afraid of a challenge, you are serious in learning image editing and manipulation but you also do not want to shell out for Photoshop or similar software, GIMP is as good as it gets in terms of price vs. functionality.

Krita

The Krita project started in 1999 and is targeted at illustrators (animators, digital concept artists, comics artists, cartoon artists, etc.). It is free, open-source and can run on the most popular platforms.

Kritca comes with 100 brushes (adjustable in 9 ways), created for a variety of drawing styles. You can also create animations similar to those you used to be able to make in Flash (now Adobe Animate). It also has vector editing and text editing tools. The projects save to the SVG format.

Krita software interface

Krita's interface is easy to personalise, the panels and drawers can be moved around and placed where it's most comfortable, and when you feel at home, you can save the layouts.

Cristian

The guy behind Graphicious.co.uk, Cristi has been developing websites and applications for more than 14 years, has built his own CMS from the ground up (twice!) and is passionate about e-commerce, automation, graphic design and music.

Categories